death penalty news—–TEXAS

Oct. 6


12 Texas death row inmates lose at Supreme Court

A dozen condemned Texas inmates, including 1 set to die next week and 1 of
the few women on death row in the state, lost appeals Monday before the
U.S. Supreme Court, moving them closer to execution.

Among the Texas cases the high court refused to review as it began its new
term was the appeal of Alvin Kelly, an East Texas man convicted of the
death of a 22-month-old boy in a shooting near Longview that also left the
child's parents dead. Kelly faces lethal injection Oct. 14, the 1st of 6
convicted killers set to die this month in the nation's most active death
penalty state.

Also losing Monday at the Supreme Court was Chelsea Richardson, convicted
of her involvement in the December 2003 slayings of her boyfriend's
parents, Rick and Suzanna Wamsley, at their home in Mansfield, near Fort
Worth. Richardson, 24, is among only 10 women on death row in Texas.

Charles Victor Thompson, who escaped in November 2005 while being held in
the Harris County Jail in downtown Houston, also had his appeal rejected.
Thompson, captured near Shreveport, La., after three days on the run, was
condemned for the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend and her new
boyfriend 10 years ago.

The appeals of Richardson and Thompson, however, remain early in the
process and execution dates for both are not imminent.

In addition, the high court refused to consider the appeal of Jimmie
Lucero, an Amarillo man convicted of killing 3 neighbors in 2003. Lucero
argued his sentence was improper because a jury foreman read passages of
the Bible to holdout jurors who subsequently voted to impose the death
penalty. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had found the introduction of
the Bible into the jury room to be "harmless error." The 2 jurors who
switched their votes said the reading of the Scripture and its content had
no impact on their votes.

In other cases, three inmates whose scheduled executions were stopped at
the last moment with court-ordered reprieves lost their appeals. They
include Curtis Moore, convicted of killing 3 people in Fort Worth; Jose
Rivera, condemned for the strangling of a 3-year-old boy in Brownsville;
and Kenneth Morris, convicted of killing a Houston man during a home

Moore's punishment in 2002 was stopped less than three hours before he was
scheduled for lethal injection when lawyers raised claims he was mentally
retarded and ineligible for execution. At the time, the high court was
reviewing whether mentally retarded people could be executed.

Similar claims of mental retardation halted Morris' punishment in 2003
within 2 hours of when he could have been taken to the death chamber and
stopped Rivera's execution, also in 2003. Rivera won a reprieve from a
federal appeals court 3 hours past the time he could have been executed.

The Supreme Court also turned down four others from Harris County,

-Shozdijiji Shisinday, also known as Danny Thomas, convicted of an
abduction-slaying 27 years ago;

-Derrick Jackson, convicted of the fatal stabbing of 2 people in 1988;

-Calvin Hunter, condemned for the slaying of a convenience store clerk
during a robbery 5 years ago;

-Ronald Prible, convicted of the 1999 slayings of a man and his girlfriend
at their home. Evidence showed Prible started a fire at the house that
also left their three children dead of smoke inhalation.

The court also rejected an appeals from a Dallas-area capital murder
convict, Roderick Newton, who was condemned for an abduction-slaying
almost 10 years ago in Mesquite.

Besides Kelly, Moore is the only other one of the inmates whose cases were
rejected by the high court Monday to have an execution date. He's set to
die in January.

They're among at least 17 Texas inmates with execution dates in the coming
months, starting next week with Kelly, 57. He's maintained his innocence
of the killing of Devin Morgan, the 22-month-old son of Jerry and Brenda
Morgan. Relatives discovered the bodies of the child and his parents at
their Gregg County home May 1, 1984. All had been shot. A number of items
were missing from the home, including a car, at least five guns and some
television and stereo gear.

The slayings went unsolved for 6 years until Gregg County authorities
received a call from a man who said his former wife had information about
the crime. At the time, Kelly already was serving a 30-year prison term
for an unrelated murder.

9 prisoners have been executed this year in Texas, tops among states with
capital punishment.

Also Monday, prosecutors lost their attempt to reinstate the death
sentence of Charles Mines, convicted of the beating death of an
80-year-old woman at her home in Waxahachie 20 years ago. Mines earlier
this year won a new sentencing trial from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of

(source: Associated Press)