death penalty news—-TEXAS

May 13


U.S. Supreme Court turns down Texas death row inmate

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to review the conviction and death
sentence of a Texas death row inmate condemned for fatally injecting a
fellow inmate with heroin while both were in the El Paso County jail.

The court's refusal moves Ricardo Ortiz, 45, one step closer to his own
lethal injection.

Ortiz was in the county jail on a parole revocation in August 1997 when he
was charged with killing Gerardo Garcia, 22, to prevent Garcia from
telling the FBI about bank robberies they both committed.

Investigators said the drugs apparently were smuggled into the jail.

His original conviction was for aggravated robbery and while on parole he
was accused of shooting and killing a fellow member of the Texas Syndicate
prison gang.

Ortiz, who does not have an execution date, argued in lower appeals courts
that he was improperly convicted because the law covering retaliation
slayings was amended between the time of Garcia's slaying and the time
Ortiz was tried. Lower courts refused the appeal.

Ortiz also argued he should be allowed to challenge what he believed was
the improper exclusion of a juror from his trial and that the trial judge
improperly instructed jurors about the death penalty. Those arguments also
were rejected by lower courts.

When Ortiz was arrested, he told police that in exchange for his release,
he'd provide information about unsolved bank robberies. The FBI believed
Garcia was the main robber but didn't know the identity of his getaway
driver. With Ortiz volunteering to provide information, he became a
suspect as the driver.

When the FBI went to talk with him, he reneged. Garcia, already in
custody, also refused to cooperate. Agents scheduled more interviews and
arranged to have both men see each other in passing the interrogation
room, according to court documents. Neither suspect would talk, however,
and both were placed in the same jail tank reserved for Texas Syndicate
members. Ortiz was identified in court documents as a high-ranking gang
officer and "tank boss."

Garcia subsequently was found dead. Prison witnesses said Ortiz injected
him. A cellmate said Ortiz said Garcia had to die for implicating him in
the bank robberies.

In June 1999, a jury in El Paso found Ortiz guilty of capital murder.


Man convicted in shooting death of deputy gets death penalty

In Athens, a man convicted in the shooting death of an East Texas deputy
has been sentenced to death.

Tyler television station KETK is reporting that 48-year-old Randall Wayne
Mays was sentenced Tuesday after a jury convicted him of capital murder
Friday. His brother, Noble Mays Jr., was executed in 1995.

Randall Mays was convicted of killing Henderson County sheriff's Deputy
Tony Price Ogburn last May. Another deputy, Paul Steven Habelt, was killed
in the shootout, and a 3rd was injured.

The deputies were responding to a domestic disturbance call at Mays' house
in Payne Springs, about 50 miles southeast of Dallas.

(source for both above: Associated Press)


Randall Mays Sentenced To Death Penalty

Randall Wayne Mays has been given the death penalty by an Athens jury
today for the shooting death of Henderson Deputy Tony Ogburn.

Judge Carter Tarrance sentenced Mays to death by lethal injection, to be
carried out at a later date.

It took the jury about 2 1/2 hours to reach a decision about Mays'

(source: KLTV News)