death penalty news—–TEXAS

April 15


Lubbock grandmother's killer executed Wednesday

Texas has executed a parole violator for beating and using kitchen tools
to kill a 67-year-old woman during a burglary at her Lubbock apartment.

35-year-old Michael Rosales was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. CDT

He confessed to the 1997 slaying of Mary Felder a day after Felder's body
was found by her grandson, who routinely checked on her. Rosales told
police he was high on cocaine and looking for money when he broke into her
home as she slept. She was attacked when she woke up.

At a tight-knit apartment complex community in Lubbock, 67-year-old Mary
Felder "Miss Mary" to the residents was everybodys grandmother, known
for candy and cookies and other goodies available to the neighborhood

"She was such a wonderful woman," said Ken Hawk, a former Lubbock district

That made it all the more shocking nearly a dozen years ago when her
grandson, who routinely would check on Felder at her place at the Four
Seasons Apartments, found her viciously beaten and stabbed to death.

Attorneys from the Texas Defender Service, a legal group involved in death
penalty issues, lost a bid Tuesday in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals to halt the punishment. Their appeal argued Rosales was entitled
to a qualified lawyer who should have at least 6 months to draw up a state
clemency petition and further pursue claims Rosales may be mentally
retarded and ineligible for execution.

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling in a Tennessee case, said the
government should pay for federally appointed lawyers to work on state
clemency requests for condemned inmates.

The Texas Attorney General's Office had opposed Rosales' appeal, arguing
he'd already missed a state deadline for filing a clemency petition and
allowing him to do so now would circumvent state procedures and open the
door for every condemned inmate to file a last-minute clemency request
after the deadline had passed. They also pointed out Rosales mental
retardation claims previously were rejected by the courts.

The New Orleans-based 5th Circuit, acting on claims Rosales was mentally
retarded, stopped Rosales' scheduled execution in 2004.

Rosales becomes the 13th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Texas and the 436th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
Dec. 7, 1982. Rosales becomes the 197th condemned inmate to be put to
death since Rick Perry became governor in 2001. Rosales becomes the 21st
condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1157th
overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)