Convicted child killer executed in Texas
A former East Texas truck repair shop owner was executed Tuesday evening
for fatally shooting a 22-month-old boy in a spree that also killed the
Alvin Kelly thanked God, expressed love to friends and relatives and
denied committing the murder that led to his execution.
"I pray this gives you some peace," Kelly said from the death chamber
gurney, looking at four relatives of the slain family. "I know you believe
that you're going to have closure tonight. As I stand before God today,
the true judge, I had nothing to do with the death of your family."
Kelly, 57, said he would ask God to not hold that against them. At the
same time, he acknowledged killing another man for whom he was serving
time when he was charged in the death of the 22-month-old, who died in
1984 in Gregg County, about 100 miles east of Dallas.
As the drugs were administered, he began singing a hymn praising God for
coming into his life. "I thank you Lord Jesus for remembering me … ," he
sang as the drugs took effect and he slipped into unconsciousness.
12 minutes later, at 6:30 p.m. CST he was pronounced dead.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to review his appeal. His lawyer
returned to the high court with another appeal, asking for a reprieve
while the justices examine a Tennessee case about whether poor death row
inmates seeking clemency from state officials have a right to
About 2 hours before his scheduled execution time, the justices turned
down the appeal.
Kelly, in an interview last week outside death row, said he didn't want a
reprieve and looked forward to "go home to God."
"That's what this is all about," he said. "I have friends and family who
are sad. But I am happy. I'm not going to die. I have eternal life."
Kelly already was serving a 30-year prison term for murder when he was
convicted of killing Devin Morgan, the 22-month-old son of Jerry and
Brenda Morgan. Relatives discovered the bodies at their home in Spring
Hill, a few miles northwest of Longview. Several items also had been
taken, including a car, at least 5 guns and some television and stereo
The murders went unsolved for 6 years until a man in Michigan told
authorities that his former wife, who also had been married to Kelly, had
information about the case.
Prosecutors said his ex-wife never felt she could come forward because she
feared Kelly, who turned to drug dealing and manufacturing after his truck
repair business cratered because of his drug addiction.
By then, Kelly said he had found religion in the Gregg County Jail, where
he was being held on a drug charge and then was implicated in the
aggravated sexual assault of two fellow inmates. He turned down several
plea deals to confess to the three slayings, saying that accepting the
offers would force him to lie.
"If I was guilty, I would plead guilty," he said from death row. "But I
can't stand before God on a lie."
He also denied the possibility he was so strung out on methamphetamines at
the time of the shootings that he couldn't recall them.
"If I did it, I'd remember," he said. "If I did it, I'd admit to it."
And while acknowledging he once viewed himself as a gangster, he insisted
prosecutors "wanted to make me out to be some John Dillinger."
Kelly Kubecka, who was 10 when her aunt, uncle and nephew were killed,
represented her family witnessing Kelly's execution.
"When it comes to what he did to our family, I think he deserves it," she
told the Longview News-Journal. "But it's been so long. He has sat behind
bars for so long now."
At Kelly's trial, prosecutors presented evidence that showed Jerry and
Brenda Morgan had been city marshal reserve officers, and Kelly's motive
was that they were providing information about him to authorities.
He said with his previous murder conviction, plus convictions for
burglary, weapons possession, controlled substance delivery and possession
and aggravated sexual assault, "I didn't stand a chance."
"I still love Texas," he said. "I love bluebonnets. Texas didn't put me
here. I put me here, by my lifestyle. I'm not pious. I'm not holy. I'm an
Scheduled to die on Thursday is Kevin Watts, 27, convicted of the
execution-style shootings of 3 people during a robbery at a San Antonio
restaurant in 2002.
Kelly becomes the 10th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Texas and the 415th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
Dec. 7, 1987. He's among a dozen condemned inmates scheduled to die over
the next 6 weeks. Another lethal injection is set for Thursday. Kelly
becomes the 166th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas since Rick
Perry became governor in 2001.
Kelly becomes the 26th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1125th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society
Educate and Mobilize Your Church to Abolish the Death Penalty
I want to make you aware of an exciting new resource developed by the
Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). This new resource for
communities of faith is a CD-ROM which contains 4 brief videos and 4
informational folders that can be downloaded to your computer on issues
related to the death penalty. Those issues are:
Costs of the death penalty
The risk of executing those who may be innocent
The tragic impact on race in regards to the death penalty
The impact of the death penalty on victims' family members.
We will send you this resource free of charge so you can mobilize your
Sunday school class, campus ministry, youth group, church, or local
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tell us how you plan to use this, include your mailing address and we
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The videos are powerful to watch and the informational folders to
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This is too important not to use and its impact could be tremendous as we
continue to work to abolish the death penalty once and for all.
Director, United Methodists Against the Death Penalty
The General Board of Church and Society
100 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002