death penalty news—-TEXAS

Jan. 22


Man convicted of strangling stepmother executed

A convicted rapist and suspected serial killer was executed Thursday
evening for strangling and robbing his stepmother in Fort Worth more than
8 years ago.

Asked by the warden if he would like to make a statement, Reginald Perkins
responded, "I already made my statement. Appreciate it. Love y'all."

About an hour before he was executed, Perkins had summoned a prison
official to his cell and gave him a statement professing his innocence.

"They didn't link me to nothing. I did not kill my stepmom," he said. "I
loved her. Texas is going to kill an innocent man."

On the other deaths, Perkins said, "There's other suspects they questioned
besides me. They let them go. I don't know what they're talking about. I
can't tell you who killed them. I ain't killed nobody. I've never killed."

As the drugs were being administered, he said, "I can fill it going in."
Just before the drugs took effect, he looked at the sister of his victim
and told her he loved her.

He was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m., 8 minutes after the lethal drugs
began to flow.

His appeals had been exhausted, said Perkins' lawyer, William Harris. The
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday unanimously rejected a
clemency request that sought to have his sentence commuted to life in

Perkins was condemned for the 2000 slaying of 64-year-old Gertie Perkins,
whose body was found stuffed in the trunk of her Cadillac. He led his
father and police to his stepmother's body. Last week, from death row, he
denied any involvement in her killing and 5 other murders authorities
believe he committed in Fort Worth and Cleveland, Ohio, during the
relatively brief times over a 20-year period when he wasn't in prison.

"I loved my stepmother," Perkins, a former dump truck driver, told The
Associated Press. "I didn't have nothing to do with none of those
killings. I have never taken an individual's life. They're just trying to
pin them on me."

Kevin Rousseau, a Tarrant County district attorney who prosecuted Perkins,

"He's a consummate liar and a con artist," Rousseau said. "I wouldn't
believe anything he said. He's a serial killer. People look for more
complicated rationale. But the bottom line is, he's a killer. He goes
through quite a bit of trouble to kill folks."

Perkins pleaded guilty to the 1980 rape and attempted rape of two
12-year-old girls in Ohio and was sentenced to life in prison. Authorities
suspected but couldn't get enough evidence to charge him with the 1980
strangling of Paula Nelson at her Cleveland home. Perkins was living with
the victim's twin sister and later married her. He was suspected of the
1981 strangling of Jenny Morman, 43, at her Cleveland apartment, and the
strangling 3 weeks later of Jerry Thomas, whose daughter he was convicted
of trying to rape.

In 1988, he was paroled and moved to Fort Worth. A DNA database tied
Perkins last year to the 1991 stranglings in Fort Worth of Shirley
Douglas, 44, and her aunt, Hattie Wilson, 79. Police said Perkins had
dated Wilson's granddaughter.

A parole violation returned him to Ohio in 1993 and remained in prison
until 2000, when he was paroled again and returned again to Fort Worth.
His stepmother's slaying occurred 10 months later.

Evidence at his trial showed Perkins pawned her wedding ring and wrote
fraudulent checks from the account of the family trucking business in Fort
Worth. He became a suspect after detectives learned of his previous
convictions in Ohio for rape and attempted rape and that he had been a
suspect in the Cleveland slayings. A Tarrant County jury in 2002
deliberated 30 minutes before deciding he should die.

From death row last week, he denied pawning his stepmother's ring, saying
although his driver's license was used to verify the transaction, the
license had been lost and he wasn't the person using it. He said he was
framed, that the rape victims in the Ohio cases lied and that he pleaded
guilty to the rape charges because of bad advice from a lawyer.

"Lies and false testimony," he insisted. "I ain't never hurt a person in
my life."

Wednesday night, condemned inmate Frank Moore, 47, received lethal
injection for the fatal shootings of Samuel Boyd, 23, and Patrick Clark,
15, outside a bar in San Antonio 15 years ago.

Perkins becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year and
the 426th overall since Texas resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
Perkins becomes the 187th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas
since Rick Perry was elected governor in 2001.

Next week, Larry Swearingen, 37, is set to die Tuesday the 1st of 3
executions on consecutive evenings in Huntsville for the 1998 abduction
and slaying of Melissa Trotter, a 19-year-old college student from
Montgomery County near Houston.

Perkins becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1141st overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)