death penalty news—-TEXAS

Oct. 2

TEXAS—-inmate seeks to drop appeals

Death Row Inmate Pleads for Execution Date

A convicted murderer sentenced to death says he doesn't want to wait to

Death row inmate Richard Lee Tabler appeared before a Bell County judge
Tuesday, asking to waive his appeals and volunteered for execution.

Tabler, 30, of Killeen asked Judge Martha Trudo to drop his appeals as he
requested his execution date.

Tabler made the same request in a letter that he wrote to the Texas Court
of Criminal Appeals in August.

He begins the letter with, "Greetings and peace be unto you."

The letter continues, "I'd like to waive my rights to habeus corpus
proceeding and volunteer for execution…I wish to drop my appeals and get
an execution date."

Tabler was convicted of capital murder in March 2007.

The inmate was found guilty in the shooting deaths of 4 people, 2 men and
2 teenage girls, during Thanksgiving weekend in 2004.

(source: KXXV News)


Death row inmate may get new trial

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have filed documents asking for a new
trial for death row inmate Michael Toney, saying the state's lead
prosecutor improperly withheld evidence in his 1999 trial.

Toney was sentenced to death in the killings of three people in the
bombing of a mobile home near Lake Worth in 1985. In court documents filed
Thursday, the 2 sides said Toney's trial attorneys weren't given at least
14 pieces of evidence that could have discredited state witnesses or
pointed to other suspects.

"I want a new trial so that the truth can be exposed and so that I can be
exonerated," Toney said in an e-mail statement, the Fort Worth
Star-Telegram reported in its online edition. "I do not have any hard
feelings toward anyone, but I do believe that prosecutors such as Mike
Parrish should be held accountable. He has caused me more than a quarter
of my life and taxpayers millions."

The state denies it knowingly sponsored misleading testimony and denies
Toney is innocent. It said it agreed with the defense that he was entitled
to a new trial.

"There's no question about the fact that some documents were not disclosed
that should have been disclosed. That's why we agreed those are the
facts," said Alan Levy, chief of the district attorney's criminal
division. "It's doesn't matter whose fault it is or if the dog ate the
homework. The law is if it was not disclosed, it doesn't matter. We accept
it was not disclosed."

If the judge supports the attorneys' findings, he will send his
recommendation to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which could order a new

Defense attorneys don't expect Toney to be tried again.

"As we see it, no credible evidence remains against Mr. Toney, but it will
be up to state whether to retry it," said Rebecca Bauer Kahan, a San
Francisco attorney on his defense team.

Levy said it is too soon to say whether Toney will be retried.

Angela Blount, 15; her father, Joe Blount, 44; and her cousin Michael
Columbus, 18, were killed on Thanksgiving Day, 1985, when a briefcase with
a bomb in it blew up on the porch of their mobile home.

Toney was indicted in December 1997 after allegedly telling another inmate
in the Parker County Jail that he was paid $5,000 to put the bomb at the
mobile home but put it at the wrong trailer.

(source: Associated Press)


Man on death row for Lake Worth bombing may be retried

A man on Texas death row could get a new trial for a bombing that killed 3
people more than 20 years ago in Lake Worth.

Michael Toney's attorneys never got to see evidence that might have helped
his case because the prosecutor didn't turn it over.

It's been a mystery since it happened Thanksgiving Day, 1985.

A briefcase bomb left on a doorstep killed 3 people inside a Lake Worth
mobile home – Angela Blount, 15, her father Joe and 18-year-old Michael

Finally in 1999, jurors convicted Michael Toney and sent him to death row.

But they didn't know the prosecutor held documents that might cast doubt
on key state witnesses.

Chief Tarrant County prosecutor Alan Levy didn't handle the case.

That was now retired prosecutor Mike Parrish.

According to Levy, Parrish says he doesn't recall why he didn't turn over
the evidence.

"The documents were in the file. They should have been disclosed. They
were not disclosed. To us, once it gets to that stage it really doesn't
matter. We've already lost. That means we have to grant the defendant a
new trial."

Michael Toney has always claimed innocence.

From death row, he e-mailed us that Parrish perpetrated fraud on the

A judge and appeals court must now agree that Toney deserves a new trial.

So it's still not clear exactly what will happen or when, but it's
possible Michael Toney could go from being locked up on death row to being
freed on bond while the state prepares to try him again.

(source: WFAA News)

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