death penalty news—-TEXAS

Nov. 20


Convicted killer of Dallas-area woman executed

Convicted killer Robert Jean Hudson was executed Thursday night for
fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend after he beat down the door and barged
into her Dallas-area apartment nearly a decade ago.

Hudson, 45, repeatedly expressed love to his wife and a friend who watched
through a window and ignored 4 relatives of his victim as they watched
through another window into the death chamber.

"I will take you to heaven with me," Hudson said from the death chamber
gurney. "I will always be with you."

"Now pray with this young man down here and we'll go," he said, nodding to
the chaplain who stood at his feet. Hudson then prayed the Lord's Prayer
and concluded by again expressing love. "I am your's and we are one. Let's
go warden," he said.

8 minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow, he was pronounced dead at
6:24 p.m. CST. Edith Kendrick, 35, was killed and her 8-year-old son
seriously wounded in the 1999 attack in Mesquite, just east of Dallas.

The 9-member high court, with Chief Justice John Roberts not
participating, refused the appeal Thursday from Hudson. Justices John Paul
Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have granted a reprieve.

Attorneys for Hudson didn't question the 3-time parolee was responsible
for the slaying but faulted his trial lawyers for not presenting to a jury
mitigating evidence "that this was a crime of passion, and significantly
reduced Mr. Hudson's moral culpability," Maurie Levin, Hudson's lawyer,
wrote in her petition seeking a Supreme Court reprieve and review.

Jurors never heard about his unstable childhood, a father with drug and
alcohol problems, a mother with psychiatric problems and his own
psychiatric treatment and medication to control his behavior and anger,
Levin said.

State lawyers opposed the request, saying Hudson's petition presented no
reasons for justices to review his case and failed to show any of his
constitutional rights were violated.

Hudson had been on parole for only about 6 months after serving less than
7 years of a 20-year term for check forgery when he was arrested for the
murder. He's had 2 other paroles and at least 8 convictions, including 1
for a 1987 murder in Dallas for which he took a plea bargain while he
already was imprisoned.

Hudson did not testify at his capital murder trial and court records show
he'd asked his lawyers not to call any witnesses. At the punishment phase,
defense lawyers again called no witnesses while prosecutors called a
fingerprint technician to introduce evidence of Hudson's earlier
convictions and a jail employee who said Hudson had exposed himself and
masturbated in front of her while he was awaiting trial.

Hudson, who declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared,
told police when he was arrested that he'd lost control.

"I loved Edith," he said in a written statement confession. "I am sorry
for what has happened and have told the truth about the incident."

Evidence showed Hudson called Kendrick on the phone and became upset when
he heard another man's voice in the background. Armed with a knife, he
went to her apartment in Mesquite and kicked in the door, yelling that he
was going to kill both of them and started swinging the knife. The other
man fled.

Kendrick's 8-year-old son got between his mother and Hudson and was
severely slashed.

A witness outside in a parking lot saw Kendrick crash from the apartment
to a balcony with Hudson grabbing her by the hair, then raising his arm as
high as he could as he stabbed her 6 to 8 times. 3 wounds went to her
heart and records showed any one of them would have killed her.

Kendrick's wounded son called 911 and identified Hudson as the attacker.

Police found Hudson at a nearby convenience store. They also found in his
pocket a ladies' watch and blood-spattered money, identified as missing
from Kendrick's purse.

Kendrick's son required several operations to repair scars from his

"What an unbelieveable horror story," Rod Rohrich, a Dallas surgeon who
treated the boy and last saw him about 2 years ago, said this week. "We
fixed his scar. It had restricted his range of motion in his neck. … I
think it looks almost normal but, of course, there were the psychological

Hudson becomes the 18th condemned inmate to be put to death this year and
the 423rd overall since Texas resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
He becomes the 184th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas since
Rick Perry became governor in 2001.

Hudson's lethal injection was the last scheduled for this year in Texas,
which has averaged 26 executions a year over the past decade. This year's
total, while accounting for about half of the executions throughout the
country, is down in part because of a de facto moratorium on the death
penalty nationwide until Supreme Court earlier this year upheld lethal
injection as a proper method.

At least 10 Texas inmates are scheduled to die next year, including 6 in

Hudson becomes the 35th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1134th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)


Man admits role in weekend killing, HPD says

A southeast Houston man was charged with capital murder today in the
slaying of a man whose body was discovered under a bridge, authorities

A person searching for a lost dog on Sunday found the body Daniel Dwayne
Wheeler, in the grass beneath a bridge near East Orem and Mykawa, police

Wheeler, 31, had been shot multiple times, detectives said. His wife told
police he was last seen Nov. 14 at a restaurant at West Oaks Mall.

Police identified David Van Collins, 24, as the prime suspect. He was
arrested Wednesday and has acknowledged having a role in the slaying,
police said.

Collins also has given a statement about participating in an unrelated
armed robbery on Nov. 11 at the location where Wheeler's body was found,
investigators said.

Collins remains in the Harris County Jail without bail on the capital
murder charge. He also was charged with aggravated robbery, for which bail
was set at $50,000.

Police have not disclosed the suspected motive for Wheeler's slaying or
whether they believe that anyone else was involved.

(source: The Houston Chronicle)


Jim Mattox, a former Texas attorney general who also served in Congress
and battled Ann Richardsin a vicious primary campaign for governor, has
died. He was 65.

Mattox, a bare-knuckled political brawler while the state was still
fiercely Democratic, died at his Dripping Springs home, his sister, Janice
Mattox, said Thursday. She did not know the cause of death.

As attorney general, Mattox was head of the agency that fought efforts to
spare condemned inmates from death. In late 1983, he showed up in
Huntsville to be on hand for a midnight execution, the 2nd lethal
injection ever carried out in Texas.

An angry crowd threatened to get out of control when Mattox announced that
the U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a delay. Security was tightened and the
public was never again allowed to get near the doors of the prison in the
hours preceding an execution.

Mattox continued to travel to Huntsville and was a fixture at executions
in Texas, the nation's most active death penalty state.

(source: Associated Press)