death penalty news—-TEXAS

Jan. 31


Death House Warden Suspended For Argument After Execution

The senior warden who oversees all executions in the nation's busiest
death house has been suspended for his comments following an execution,
Local 2 Investigates reported Friday.

Senior Warden C. Thomas O'Reilly, leader of the Huntsville Unit prison,
will serve a 2-day suspension without pay next week. After that, he will
be on probation for 3 months.

O'Reilly is being punished for using profanity during an argument with
other Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials, including his
superiors, after they had all gathered for the execution of Reginald
Perkins. Perkins was condemned for the 2000 strangulation of his Fort
Worth mother-in-law. He was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m. on Jan. 22.

TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said the argument happened 5 minutes after
Perkins was pronounced dead, after the officials had left the death house
in the Huntsville Unit. One person who was involved in the argument told
Local 2 Investigates that the argument had nothing to do with the
execution, but he declined to characterize what sparked the harsh words.

The Huntsville Unit was formerly named the Walls Unit, since it is
surrounded by huge brick walls in downtown Huntsville. Prior to their
execution, condemned inmates are housed on Texas death row, which is miles
away in Livingston.

O'Reilly is responsible for giving the final order to administer lethal
drugs as inmates are strapped to the gurney. The inmate is given the
chance to issue a final statement and a prison official of lower rank then
advises the warden inside the execution chamber. The final words that most
inmates hear are, "Warden, you may proceed."

(source: Click2Houston)


Man convicted in McKinney quadruple murder tied to gang

A man convicted on Thursday in the shootings deaths of 4 people in
McKinney was a member of the violent street gang Latin King Nation when he
was growing up in Chicago, according to witness testimony. Prosecution
witnesses testified this morning as the punishment phase of Raul Cortez's
trial began in a Collin County courtroom.

Cortez was still using symbols and colors of the gang on his MySpace page
at the time of his arrest in 2007, a McKinney police detective told the

Jurors deliberated for 6 hours on Thursday before finding Cortez guilty of
capital murder in the slayings of Rosa Barbosa, 46; her nephew, Matthew
Barbosa, 25; and his friends Austin York, 18; and Matthew Self, 17. All 4
were shot inside Ms. Barbosa's home in 2004.

Cortez faces the death penalty.

Co-defendant Eddie Ray Williams, who was also a key prosecution witness,
testified during the trial that the victims were killed by him and Cortez
during a botched robbery plot.

Cortez told the jury he had nothing to do with the shootings.

(source: Dallas Morning News)


Inmate moved from death row to Tarrant County Jail—-DA's office recuses
itself in retrial of 1985 bombing case

Michael Toney, whose 1999 death sentence for the bombing of a Lake Worth
trailer was overturned last year, has been transferred from death row to
the Tarrant County Jail

Toney was booked into the jail at 7:17 p.m. Thursday and is being housed
in a single cell, said Terry Grisham, a sheriffs department spokesman.

Toney was convicted of capital murder for the 1985 Thanksgiving bombing
that killed Angela Blount, 15; her father, Joe Blount, 44; and her cousin,
Michael Columbus, 18.

An appeals court overturned his conviction in December after the Tarrant
County District Attorneys office acknowledged that at least 14 documents
favorable to his defense were withheld by prosecutors during his trial.

The district attorney's office recused itself from the case earlier this
month. The Texas Attorney General is now weighing whether there is enough
to evidence to retry the 23-year-old case.

(source: Star-Telegram)