death penalty news—–TEXAS

Sept. 6


Wright 's execution next week moved to October

The scheduled execution next week of a homeless man convicted of taking
part in the fatal stabbing of a sympathetic Dallas County woman was put
off Friday until next month.

Gregory Wright, 42, faced lethal injection Tuesday for the 1997 fatal
stabbing of Donna Duncan Vick at her home in DeSoto, about 15 miles south
of Dallas.

The 52-year-old widow regularly ministered to the homeless and had given
Wright food, shelter and money.

Wright's new date for punishment in Huntsville is Oct. 30, Dallas County
assistant district attorney Mike Ware said Friday.

Bruce Anton, Wright's attorney, had sought the delay so additional DNA
testing could be conducted on Wright's clothing, which prosecutors used at
his trial to tie him to the woman's slaying.

A second man, John Wade Adams, also was tried for Vick's slaying and sent
to death row. Wade, who was homeless and a friend of Wright's, does not
have an execution date.

At Wright's trial, prosecutors told jurors the 2 men both participated in
the fatal stabbing, then packed up items from inside the house, drove off
in Vick's car and traded the loot for crack cocaine.

A day after the slaying, Adams turned himself in to police, directed
officers to Vick's home and helped in the recovery of her car. DNA tests
of blood on the steering wheel of the car was shown to belong to Wright.
His bloody fingerprints also were found on a pillowcase on her bed.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June 2007 refused to review his conviction and

(source: Associated Press)

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Texas high court dismisses appeal in Charles Hood death penalty trial

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday dismissed a writ seeking
review of the case of Charles Dean Hood, and on the same day the Texas
attorney general's office took the unusual position of filing a brief
supporting a closer review of the allegations of a romance between the
judge and prosecutor at his trial.

The Court of Criminal Appeals said Mr. Hood's filing raised "the exact
claim previously" filed and said the latest filing was "not properly
before this court." When the claim was raised before, it was on the basis
of an affidavit from a former assistant district attorney that said the
affair between Judge Verla Sue Holland and then prosecutor and Collin
County District Attorney Tom O'Connell was "common knowledge."

The court said then that the affidavit offered no direct knowledge of the

But direct knowledge of the alleged romance could surface Monday in a
civil court hearing to determine whether depositions should be taken from
Judge Holland and Mr, OConnell.

Those depositions might give defense attorneys new information to bring to
the criminal courts.

Mr. Hood is slated for execution Wednesday.

The attorney generals short brief, filed in civil court, said, "In light
of the unique and extraordinary circumstances concerning the trial of this
case, a closer review by this court is warranted."

Collin County assistant district attorney John Rolater declined to comment
on the filing. He has said the civil proceeding is inappropriate and the
execution should proceed.

"Mr. Hood had ample opportunity to challenge the propriety of his trial in
the trial court, and in his initial writ of habeas corpus He deliberately
chose not to timely present his claims but to lie in wait and use them to
challenge his execution," he said, following a conference call with the
court and opposing counsel Friday. "That runs contrary to the law."

Mr. Hoods attorney, Greg Wiercioch, could not be reached for comment.
Julie Wallace, sister of Tracie Wallace, who was killed by Mr. Hood along
with Ronald Williamson in 1989, said she is frustrated by the delays. "18
years is too long," she said. "All of these issues should have been
brought up in a timely manner and that's way too long. Death penalty
opponents say, 'Well, why are we in such a rush?' For Christ's sake, 18
years is not a rush."

But while she has no doubt Mr. Hood received a fair trial, she said she
doesn't object to the attorney general's request for a review. "If that's
what they have to do, then that's what they need to do," she said.

Though the attorney general's brief does not ask for a stay of execution
for Mr. Hood, the brief does say "the Court could evaluate whether the
appropriate inquiry and legal analysis can be completed within the current
timetable for the scheduled execution."

The civil court does not have the jurisdiction to order a stay. That would
have to come from Gov. Rick Perry.

"The governor has not made a decision," said spokeswoman Allison Castle.
She said he had no comment on the attorney general's request for a review.

(source: Dallas Morning News)