death penalty news—–TEXAS

Nov. 12

TEXAS—-impending execution

Harris County man to die for slaying 14 years ago

Apparently irate over his girlfriend leaving him, George Whitaker III
showed up at her parents' house brandishing a .45-caliber pistol and
demanded to get in.

His ex-girlfriend, Catina Carrier, wasn't at the home in Crosby, east of
Houston in Harris County. But by the time he left, the woman's sister was
fatally shot and her mother and another sister were seriously wounded.

On Wednesday, Whitaker was set to die for the slaying of 16-year-old
Shakeitha Carrier more than 14 years ago.

Whitaker, 36, would be the 16th Texas inmate executed this year and the
1st of 2 scheduled to die on consecutive nights this week in the nation's
most active death penalty state.

Whitaker's conviction and death sentence for the 1994 fatal shooting was
upheld in the appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme Court last year refused
to review his case.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles earlier this week unanimously
rejected a clemency petition asking the former mechanic's death sentence
be commuted to life in prison.

Whitaker declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared.

Evidence showed Catina Carrier met Whitaker in high school, began dating
him after graduation and then the two lived together and became engaged at
Christmas 1993. She decided to leave him by the following April because he
became abusive and often took the money she was making. She went to live
in secret with another friend because she feared Whitaker.

On June 15, Whitaker retrieved a .45-caliber pistol he had pawned and
drove with friends to her home under the guise of returning some of her

He pulled the gun on Mary Carrier, the mother of the girls, after she
refused to let him in the house. Testimony showed he forced his way in,
shot her, pistol-whipped her 5-year-old daughter, Ashley, then ran
upstairs and fatally shot Shakeitha, known as Kiki, in the head.

Mary Carrier was shot a 2nd time when she tried to flee the home, but she
and Ashley survived although they both suffered permanent injuries. Mary
Carrier lost the use of her right hand. Ashley Carrier, whose skull was
fractured in two places, remains brain damaged, authorities said.

Whitaker was shot and wounded the next day by Harris County deputies
trying to arrest him at an apartment where he was drinking beer with
another girlfriend. Authorities said he had jumped from a window and was
shot in the hip as he appeared to be reaching for a pistol.

Mary Carrier testified against him at his trial. Catina Carrier also
testified how she was mentally and physically abused by him. One of her
friends testified how she was abducted a few days before the shootings and
forced at knifepoint to call Catina Carrier as Whitaker attempted to lure
his ex-girlfriend to a meeting place.

Whitaker's mother testified his father was a strict disciplinarian, that
her son never was violent in her presence and that Whitaker twice had
tried to kill himself when he was 20. He had no previous prison record.

Whitaker's earlier appeals argued his trial lawyer was ineffective in not
calling a mental health expert to testify, that jurors should have been
told a life sentence would have ensured him at least 40 years in prison,
and that his death sentence was unconstitutional.

On Thursday, Denard Manns, 42, faced execution for the 1998 fatal shooting
of Michelle Robson, 26, at her apartment in Killeen. Robson was a Fort
Hood soldier living off the base.

3 more Texas prisoners are set to die next week.

(source: Associated Press)


7 US executions scheduled in next 10 days

Over the next 10 days, 7 death row inmates are scheduled to be executed in
the United States. 5 of these condemned men are in Texas, a state that has
carried out 15 of the 31 executions in the US so far this year.

Barring a last-minute reprieve, George Whitaker III will die by lethal
injection at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at the Texas execution chamber in
Huntsville, north of Houston. The next day, prisoner Denard Manns is set
to be put to death.

3 more Texas executions are planned for next week: Eric Cathey on Tuesday,
November 18; Rogelio Cannady on Wednesday, November 19; and Robert Hudson
on Thursday, November 20.

2 executions are scheduled in other states: Gregory L. Bryant-Bey in Ohio,
and Marco Allen Chapman in Kentucky. Chapman would be the 1st person put
to death in Kentucky in 10 years.

George Whitaker, 36, was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1994
murder of Shakeitha Carrier, his ex-girlfriend's sister. His former
court-appointed lawyer, retired state District Judge Jay Burnett,
petitioned the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend that
Republican Governor Rick Perry commute his sentence to life in prison or
grant a 30-stay so that his petition could be reviewed.

In his petition to the pardon board, Burnett argued that his client was
unjustly condemned to death because the presiding judge in his case,
Caprice Cooper, prevented the jury from being told that the alternative
sentence would have been 40 years in prison with no possibility of parole.
Burnett said he was reasonably certain that the jury "believe[d] in the
popular myth that convicted defendants serve only short terms before being
released from prison."

Burnett also contended that Whitaker received poor legal representation
because lawyers did not present expert testimony regarding lingering
effects of a childhood brain injury. He also maintained that the crime did
not meet the criteria for the death penalty in Texas, which requires the
prosecution prove that a murder occurred during the commission of another
felony offense. Prosecutors argued that the murder took place while
Whitaker burglarized the family's home, but Burnett argued that the
defendant had not entered the house to steal anything.

Earlier this week, the pardon board recommended that Governor Perry reject
Burnett's petition, making it increasingly likely that Whitaker's
execution will go forward. Texas governors rarely act against the
recommendations of the board. Rick Perry has presided over 181 executions,
more than any other governor since the US Supreme Court reinstated the
death penalty in 1976.

Perry took over as Texas governor in December 2000 from George W. Bush,
who left the office to assume the US presidency. Bush presided over the
152 executions during his 5 years as Texas governor, commuting only 1
death sentence.

As governor, Rick Perry has taken a fervently pro-death-penalty stance,
and has signed death warrants for the mentally retarded, foreign
nationals, those convicted for crimes committed as juveniles, and many
condemned prisoners whose guilt was in reasonable doubt. In June 2002,
Perry vetoed a ban on the execution of mentally retarded inmates.

On May 28, 2002, Texas executed Napoleon Beazley, who was convicted for a
murder committed when he was 17 years old. Perry refused to issue a 30-day
stay of execution when the pardon board voted against granting Beazley
commutation of his sentence or a reprieve. (See "Texas executes man for
crime committed at 17" )

The European Union, the American Bar Association, Amnesty International
and other human rights groups opposed the execution, and called on Texas
to stop it. As protesters demonstrated outside the governors mansion as
the execution approached, Perry commented, "To delay his punishment would
be to delay justice."

The US and the state of Texas in particular have continually flouted both
world opinion and international law in relation to its death penalty
practices. On July 16 of this year the International Court of Justice
(ICJ) ordered the US to stay the imminent executions of 5 Mexican
nationals on death row in Texas.

The 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, signed by the US,
mandates that local authorities inform all detained foreigners "without
delay" of the right to have their consulates notified of their detention.
Governor Perry said of the ICJ ruling, "The world court has no standing in
Texas and Texas is not bound by a ruling or edict from a foreign court."

Less than a month later, Texas carried through on its defiance of the
international court. On August 5, Mexican-born Jose Ernesto Medellin died
by lethal injection at the Huntsville prison; and on August 7, Honduran
national Heliberto Chi was put to death. (See "Texas executes Mexican and
Honduran nationals" )

Condemning the executions scheduled in the US during November, Amnesty
International stated, "It's only a week since Barack Obama's historic
election win, but with a spate of executions scheduled in the USA this
month we already have a chilling reminder of how much needs to be done to
improve the countrys human rights standing in the world

"The death penalty is always cruel and unnecessary and carries the
inescapable risk of irreversible error. We urgently need a US president
prepared to speak out against executions."

The new resident in the White House, however, will not champion this
cause. In his book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama made clear his support for
the death penalty in principle, writing: "I believe there are some
crimesmass murder, the rape and murder of a childso heinous, so beyond the
pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of
its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."

During the presidential campaign, Obama denounced the June 24 US Supreme
Court decision barring the death penalty for child rape, siding with the
extreme-right justices dissenting in the ruling. His position on this case
was one indication of his rightward political trajectory, and a
demonstration of his efforts to assure the ruling elite that he is fit to
govern and will represent their financial and political interests. (See
"Obama attacks US Supreme Court decision barring death penalty for child

Commenting on the Supreme Court ruling at a Chicago press conference, he
said, "I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should
be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes.
I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous
crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited,
well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially
applicable, that that does not violate our Constitution."

If George Whitaker is executed tonight, he will be the 32nd person
executed in the US this year and the 1,131st since the US reinstated the
death penalty. His would be the 421st carried out in the state of Texas.
The world looks on with horror as the US continues a practice that has
been condemned and outlawed by the vast majority of the world's
industrialized nations.

(source: World Socialist Web Site)