death penalty news—-TEXAS

Jan. 13

TEXAS—-impending execution

Triple killer 'has to pay,' says Fort Worth man left for dead

Darrell Wayne Hoyle was shot, doused with gasoline and set afire.

He was lucky.

Hoyle is the sole survivor of a 1995 murderous rampage by Curtis Moore,
who was convicted of capital murder for killing Roderick Moore, 24, (not
related); Latasha Boone, 21; and Henry Truevillian, 20. Moore, 40, is
scheduled to die Wednesday the nation's first execution of the year.

Hoyle says he's ready.

"I want justice," said Hoyle, 34, of Fort Worth. "I was a victim of this
crime. I was hogtied, shot twice. Nobody should go through what I went
through. He has to pay for what he did."

Hoyle, a rap artist and producer, still carries the scars from the fire
that engulfed most of his body. He was hospitalized for weeks and endured
so many skin grafts, he's lost count. He says he is still healing,
physically and mentally.

"This is God. That's all it is. The fire left a lot of pain."

So did the slayings of his companions on Nov. 30, 1995.

"I lost 3 friends," said Hoyle, who worked construction until two years
ago, when his doctors said the work had become too strenuous because of
his injuries. "But I had a 2d chance."

According to police records, Hoyle, Truevillian and Roderick Moore were
kidnapped by Curtis Moore and his nephew, Anthony Moore, who was 17 at the
time. The victims and the perpetrators, who were acquaintances, agreed to
meet at a stable where Roderick Moore boarded and trained horses.
Authorities say Curtis and Anthony Moore planned to rob the victims.

After abducting the 3 men, the killers drove Hoyle's car to Roderick
Moore's apartment, where they also kidnapped Boone, who was Roderick
Moore's girlfriend.

Police say Roderick Moore and Boone were shot and killed first and their
bodies dumped on a Fort Worth street. Hoyle and Truevillian were driven to
another part of town, where both were shot, set on fire and left in a car
to die.

Anthony Moore, now 30, pleaded guilty to murder in 1997 and was sentenced
to life in prison.

Curtis Moore has been on death row since 1996. Wednesday would be his
third execution date. In 2002, Moore won a reprieve from the U. S. Supreme
Court three hours before he was to receive a lethal injection when his
attorneys raised the possibility that he was mentally retarded. If so, he
would be ineligible for death.

The Supreme Court denied the appeal in October.

Moore's attorney, William S. Harris of Fort Worth, could not be reached
for comment.

Moore's execution date signals the beginning of numerous scheduled lethal
injections in Texas this year, said Richard Dieter, executive director of
the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C. The state has 14
scheduled through April, 6in January.

"We will look at this one especially because it's 1st for this year," said
Dieter, whose organization studies how the death penalty is applied.

"You may see a spike in executions in Texas, particularly with older cases
like this one that have gone through the appeals and are maybe running out
of time."

Hoyle hopes that's true of Moore's case. He plans to witness the

"There's not any hard feelings," Hoyle said. "I forgave the man for his
actions, but I can't forget what happened. I gotta see it through."

(source: Dallas Morning News)


1st US execution of 09 in Texas

CURTIS Moore's 1st run-in with the criminal justice system came at age 12
as a runaway and he kept getting into worse trouble as he got older.

His rap sheet showed convictions for theft, robbery and weapon and drug
possession that earned him prison terms. In an era of overcrowded Texas
prisons that abbreviated sentences, he repeatedly was released, then
returned to prison with parole violations.

He finally ended up on death row, convicted of the slayings of 3 people
during a pair of drug-ripoff robberies more than 13 years ago in Fort

Moore, 40, was set to die Wednesday evening.

He'd be the first condemned inmate executed this year in the US and among
6 to die in Huntsville over 15 days in the nation's most active death
penalty state. 2 are set for injection next week.

Moore's appeals were exhausted and lawyers cited his possible mental
retardation as reason the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles should
commute his sentence to life in prison.

Moore already made one trip to the Huntsville death house. In 2002, less
than three hours before he was to receive lethal injection, the US Supreme
Court stopped his scheduled execution so claims from his attorneys that he
was mentally retarded and ineligible for execution could be reviewed. In
October, the high court refused his appeal, clearing the way for
Wednesday's execution date to be set.

Moore was arrested for a pair of shootings Nov 30, 1995.

Roderick Moore, 24, who was not related to him, and LaTanya Boone, 21,
were found shot to death in a roadside ditch across from a Texas
elementary school. Their bodies were found by an off-duty police officer.

The same night, Darrel Hoyle, 21, and Henry Truevillain Jr, 20, were found
shot and burned by firefighters summoned to put out a car fire.
Truevillian was dead but Hoyle survived and helped lead police to the
arrest of Moore and his nephew, Anthony Moore, then 17.

The 3 men were abducted after agreeing to meet Curtis Moore and his nephew
at a stable where Roderick Moore boarded and trained horses. Then Boone
was abducted from the apartment she shared with Roderick Moore, her

Testimony at Curtis Moore's trial showed the shootings culminated a drug
ripoff, that he doused Hoyle and Truevillain with gasoline and ignited
them as they were bound and in the trunk of a car parked in a deserted

Hoyle regained consciousness six days after he was attacked and gave
information that led authorities to Anthony Moore, known on the streets as
'Kojak,' and that Curtis Moore drove a pink truck.

Curtis Moore was arrested about 2 weeks later, his hands and arms still
showing burns suffered when authorities said he tried to keep Hoyle from
fleeing the flames.

'Curtis was trying to push him back in the trunk,' said Joetta Keene, who
prosecuted Moore.

'Everybody got burned, including Curtis,' George Gallagher, who was one of
his trial attorneys, recalled. 'That was hard to get around.' At the
punishment phase, prosecutors were able to show jurors Moore's violent

'He had a huge criminal history,' Keene said. 'He kept giving us more
evidence. He stabbed a guy in jail.'

Moore blamed his nephew for the slayings and said he tried to rescue the
victims from the burning car. But he acknowledged holding them at
gunpoint, ordering them hog-tied and stuffed into the trunk of the car.

Anthony Moore pleaded guilty to 2 counts of murder under a plea agreement
and is serving 2 life prison sentences.

(source: Associated Press)


Amnesty International USA Press Release—–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—-
Amnesty International Calls Spate of Texas Executions—-'Shameful and

As Texas prepares to execute 14 men in fewer than 3 months, Amnesty
International USA (AIUSA) called on the state to halt this spate of
executions, describing it as being out of step with current capital
punishment trends.

The 1st execution, of Curtis Moore, is scheduled to take place tomorrow,
while the 14th execution is planned for April 7. The spate of executions
brings Texas Governor Rick Perry close to his 200th execution since taking
office in 2000. No other U.S. governor in recent history has overseen so
many executions during his or her time in office; in fact, no other state
has executed more than 102 people since the death penalty resumed in 1977.

"At a time when the country — including Texas — is opening its eyes to
the problems that plague capital punishment, Governor Perry has chosen to
remain blind to its flaws, further tarnishing Texas' human rights
reputation," said Larry Cox, executive director of AIUSA. "As evidence of
capital punishment's flaws mounts, and as its popularity declines, it is
time for Governor Perry and other Texas leaders to seriously consider
bringing the death penalty in Texas to an end."

Texas courts handed down only 11 death sentences in 2008, the lowest
number since 1977 (there were also 11 in 2006). Almost a decade ago, in
1999, that figure reached a staggering 48. Of the 11 handed down last
year, not one was in Harris County, a county that by itself is responsible
for more than 100 executions.

Since 1977, 9 death row inmates have been exonerated in Texas, the third
highest number in the nation. It is believed that at least five men who
were executed in Texas may actually have been innocent. And Dallas County
leads the nation in DNA exonerations, with 19, a distinction that reveals
a deeply flawed criminal justice system. Texas justice is riddled with
errors, including shoddy representation for the poor and people of color.
Of the 14 to be executed in the coming months only one, Larry Ray
Swearingen, is white.

"Most Texans know the car is out of control, but Rick Perry won't put on
the brakes," said Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, director of AIUSA's Death
Penalty Abolition Campaign. "At a time when responsible caution is the
rule elsewhere, Texas continues its shameful and reckless lurch in the
wrong direction. Texas leaders need to get serious and get out of the
business of killing."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots
organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and
volunteers in more than 150 countries who campaign for human rights
worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and
mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

# # #

For more information, please visit

(source: Amnesty International USA)


Conviction reversed in 30-year-old death row case

A white man on Texas death row for nearly 30 years could be freed because
an appeals court has ruled that prosecutors improperly excluded blacks
from his jury in the belief that blacks empathize with defendants.

Jonathan Bruce Reed was convicted and condemned for the November 1978
rape-slaying of Wanda Jean Wadle at her Dallas apartment.

But now the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Dallas County
prosecutors improperly excluded black prospective jurors from Reed's trial
and ordered him released unless prosecutors choose to retry him quickly.

"Although we do not relish adding a new chapter to this unfortunate story
more than 30 years after the crime took place, we conclude that the
Constitution affords Reed a right to relief," a 3-member panel of the New
Orleans-based court wrote in the ruling posted late Monday.

Jamille Bradfield, a spokeswoman for Dallas County District Attorney Craig
Watkins, said it was premature to comment on whether Reed would be

"We still need time to dissect the opinion," she said Tuesday.

Reed has been on death row since September 1979, making him among the
longest-serving prisoners awaiting execution in Texas.

The 5th Circuit said Reed's case mirrored the capital murder case of
Thomas Miller-El, on Texas death row for nearly 20 years until the Supreme
Court overturned his verdict, citing racial discrimination during jury
selection. Miller-El last year took a life prison sentence as part of a
plea deal.

The Supreme Court cited a manual, written by a prosecutor in 1969 and used
for years later, that advised Dallas prosecutors to exclude minorities
from juries. Documents in Miller-El's case described how the memo advised
prosecutors to avoid selecting minorities because "they almost always
empathize with the accused."

"Reed presents this same historical evidence of racial bias in the Dallas
County District Attorney's Office," the 5th Circuit panel said.

Reed, now 57, was identified as the man who attacked Wadle and her
roommate, Kimberly Pursley, on Nov. 1, 1978. He'd apparently entered their
apartment by posing as a maintenance man.

Pursley survived an attempted strangulation by feigning unconsciousness. 2
other residents identified Reed as the man they saw in the apartment
complex just before the time of the attack.

(source: Associated Press)


Texas court rejects appeal for Rodney Reed—-Bryan McCann reports on the
latest injustice in the case of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed.

TEXAS DEATH row inmate Rodney Reed and his family received another slap in
the face from the nation's execution capital.

In a unanimous decision announced last month, the Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals denied Reed's petition for a new trial, claiming that evidence
suppressed by the state of Texas would not have swayed a jury to acquit

The court's decision flies in the face of startling facts that point to a
sinister web of police corruption, prosecutorial misconduct and Jim Crow
style racism.

Rodney has been on Texas' death row since 1998 for the 1996 strangulation
murder of Stacey Stites, a resident of Giddings, Texas. He was convicted
on the basis of a semen DNA sample taken from Stites' body that matched
Reed. However, Reed claims that he and Stacey were engaged in a consensual
relationship at the time of her death, which helps explain the presence of
the DNA sample.

What you can do

You can watch the award-winning documentary State Vs. Reed at the Free
Rodney Reed Web site. For a copy of the film, contact

Several witnesses, most of whom were not called to testify at the original
trial, corroborate this claim. Other area residents have since claimed
that intimidation from law enforcement officials dissuaded them from
speaking up about the affair.

Far more evidence in the case suggests the involvement of Stites' fianc at
the time, Jimmy Fennell.

Fennell was a Giddings police officer known for his violent temper and
racism. In a sworn affidavit, the woman Fennell began dating three months
after Stacey's murder described him as "abusive, possessive, controlling
and extremely prejudiced toward African-Americans." Fennell also failed
two lie detector tests when asked if he murdered Stacey, and he promptly
sold the truck Stites was driving the morning of her death after police
investigators returned it to him.

More recently, Fennell was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for
kidnapping and engaging in "improper sexual conduct" with a woman in his
custody. This conviction came after he pleaded down from a sexual assault
charge. Reed's supporters say that this helps confirm what they have been
saying about Fennell all along.

Other than the semen sample containing Rodney's DNA, no physical evidence
has ever linked Reed to the crime. In fact, another DNA sample found on a
beer can at the scene of the murder matches a local police officer and
close friend of Fennell's.

In spite of this evidence of innocence, the notoriously pro-prosecution
Court of Criminal Appeals has seen fit to bring Rodney one step closer to
the Texas death chamber.

As Rodney's lawyer, Bryce Benjet, told the Austin Chronicle, the court has
rejected, all told, 15 credible witnesses for the defense, while
wholeheartedly accepting the prosecution's version of events, which is
based almost entirely on Fennell's account. Benjet perhaps puts it best in
the Chronicle, writing, "Isn't it just possible that there is one person
that isn't telling the truth–Jimmy Fennell, a rapist sitting in prison?"

The decision is obviously a stinging setback for the Reeds and their
supporters. However, they are not backing down.

"We know that grassroots pressure can create change, even in a state like
Texas," said Lily Hughes of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. "Even
this outrageous decision must not dissuade us from organizing around
Rodney's case and raising public awareness about it."

At the root of Rodney's case are many of the problems that plague most
death penalty cases. Rodney is an African American man convicted of raping
and killing a white woman in the south. Indeed, the entire case represents
the age-old racist taboos associated with interracial relationships.

Furthermore, Reed was too poor to hire a lawyer and had to rely on
underqualified court-appointed attorneys, just like the majority of
inmates on death row in the United States. Rodney's case highlights what
is wrong with the entire death penalty, an archaic punishment that is
racist, targets the poor, condemns the innocent to die, fails to deter
crime, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The death penalty remains on the defensive in the United States, as more
people then ever oppose it and growing numbers of states are considering
abolition. It will take continued organizing around cases like Rodney
Reed's to highlight just how rotten the death penalty is, as well as the
entire criminal injustice system it represents.

(source: Socialist Worker)