death penalty news—-TEXAS

Nov. 6


Parolee executed for 1993 FW slaying

A parolee convicted of using coat hangers to strangle a 65-year-old
mentally ill man during a burglary of the man's house was executed
Thursday evening.

"You ain't got to worry about nothing," Elkie Lee Taylor told an aunt and
a couple of friends from the death chamber gurney. "I am going home. I
hope to see all of y'all one day. Lord have mercy on my soul."

Then he looked through another death chamber window where relatives of his
victims were standing and told them, "Stay strong. It's bad to see a man
get murdered for something he didn't do. But I am taking it like a man,
like a warrior. I am going home to Jesus."

After telling the warden he was ready and as the lethal drugs began
flowing, he said, "Don't forget to tell my daughter …" and mumbled
something that couldn't be understood. 9 minutes later, at 6:30 p.m. CST,
he was pronounced dead.

Taylor, 46, was condemned for killing Otis Flake in 1993. Flake was found
dead sitting up against a bed, his feet and hands bound and hangers
twisted around his neck by a friend after Taylor and an accomplice were
spotted earlier walking away from Flake's home near downtown Fort Worth.

The execution came after the U.S. Supreme Court and the Texas Court of
Criminal Appeals turned down last-day appeals.

Flake's slaying came 11 days after an 87-year-old man was killed in a
similar fashion, strangled with a coat hanger after he was struck in the
head with a statue of the Virgin Mary during a home burglary 7 blocks
away. Taylor acknowledge he was involved in both burglaries but insisted a
partner was responsible for he killings.

Evidence, however, showed Taylor had bragged to friends about wrapping a
hanger around a man's neck and that "dead men can't talk."

"We won't be out there cheering," Renee Harris Toliver, Flake's niece,
said of Taylor's execution. "We're Christian people. We'll be praying for
him as they're taking his life. But not one of us will say he's not
deserving of having his life taken."

Taylor, originally from Milwaukee, was arrested after he eluded police for
more than 100 miles while behind the wheel of a stolen tractor-trailer
cab, leading officers on a chase from Fort Worth to Waco. The wild pursuit
ended with a state trooper shooting out the truck's tires but not before
Taylor at one point tried to ram 2 police cars and run over 2 troopers
standing on the side of the road.

Taylor, who declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared,
had been on parole about 3 months when Flake was found murdered. He'd been
released after serving less than 9 months of an 8-year prison term for

Some of Flake's relatives had been instrumental in drawing up a petition
demanding a greater police presence in the neighborhood because of rising
crime against elderly residents. Taylor's initial burglary conviction was
a result of the police response.

Terri Moore, a former Tarrant County district attorney who prosecuted
Taylor, said the burglary at Flake's house and his slaying was in

"He's mean," she said. "You don't kill 2 people and hold grudges. Coat
hangers and 2 defenseless men it was heartbreaking."

Authorities contended Taylor and an accomplice took jewelry, cash, a
television and other items in the robbery at Flake's house so they could
be sold to buy crack cocaine. Prison records showed they got $16 for the

His accomplice, Darryl Birdow, was sentenced in 1994 to life in prison for
his involvement in Flake's death.

In 2003, Taylor came within 2 days of execution before the Texas Court of
Criminal Appeals gave him a reprieve after state prison records showed he
may be mentally retarded and ineligible for execution under U.S. Supreme
Court guidelines. Court subsequently determined he was not mentally

Taylor becomes the 15th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Texas and the 420th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
December 7, 1982. Taylor becomes the 181st condemned inmate to be put to
death in Texas since Rick Perry became governor of the state in 2001.
There are 5 more executions set to occur this month in Texas.

2 more executions are scheduled for next week.

George Whitaker III, 36, was to die Wednesday for the shooting death of
Kiki Carrier, the sister of his ex-girlfriend, at her home outside Crosby
in Harris County, east of Houston. A 5-year-old girl was 1 of 2 others
wounded in the attack.

Then the following day, Nov. 13, Denard Manns, 42, faced execution for the
1998 fatal shooting of Christine Robson, 26, at her apartment in Killeen.
Robson was a Fort Hood soldier living off the base.

Taylor becomes the 31st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1130th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)