death penalty news—-TEXAS

April 16


New details uncovered in Rosales murder investigation

The man convicted of brutally stabbing an elderly Lubbock woman to death
died by lethal injection Wednesday evening. Authorities pronounced
35-year-old Michael Rosales dead at 6:17 p.m.

Rosales final words were, "I love you all. May the Lord be with you.
Peace. I'm done." Rosales killed Mary Felder, 67, in the summer of 1997.
None of her friends or relatives watched the execution.

NewsChannel 11 spoke with detectives who helped solved this case, and we
learned new details never heard about the investigation until now. Lubbock
Police Detective Ray Martinez tells us that Rosales asked for the death
penalty before he admitted to killing Felder. "She was an elderly lady,
minding her own business, in her own home, and for somebody to come in and
do that to her," Martinez said.

As a homicide detective for Lubbock Police, Martinez has seen a lot, but
says the death of Felder is one of the worst. "That really stands out as
one of the most violent, brutal deaths that I've worked," Martinez said.

Martinez says Rosales was one of the first people who approached him at
the crime scene back in 1997. "He kept following me throughout the
investigation at the complex that day," Martinez said. Still,
investigators say Rosales seemed to be more of a concerned by-stander than
anything else. They brought him in for questioning the following day, and
that's when Martinez discovered Rosales was a suspect.

Authorities discovered his blood soaked clothes in the apartment next door
to Felder's. "I was actually interviewing him when I obtained the phone
call and got the information that I was actually talking to the suspect,"
Martinez said. He says Rosales eventually told him what happened, but not
before he made a request. "His one request was that he get the death
penalty as soon as possible for what he had done," Martinez said.

"I present the facts, and if the court decides that it's the death penalty
that's required, then I'm in agreement with that," Martinez said. He says
Rosales seemed to know what he was doing, despite arguments that he was
mentally challenged, which led to his stay of execution back in 2004.

Rosales is the 13th Texas inmate to be put to death this year.

(source: KCBD News)


Death row inmate's story broadcasted live at UT

Nashville, Tenn., inmate Timothy McKinney's voice broadcasted through a UT
classroom holding a crowd of nearly 90 people "Live From Death Row."

Students, activists and family members of death row inmates listened in
the University Teaching Center as McKinney shared his story for the "Live
From Death Row" national tour, sponsored by the Campaign to End the Death

"In 1997, I was accused of killing a police officer," he said. "Within 2
days of my trial, I was convicted of murder. There was no evidence that
linked me to the crime.:

McKinney said his trial was unfair, racially biased and that he was the
victim of an unjust, corrupt system. Unable to afford a lawyer himself,
McKinney said the court appointed an attorney who did no investigation
into his case.

"My case in particular is politically motivated and race has a lot to do
with it," McKinney said. "We're always looked at, pointed at. We're always
stereotyped. Someone with money wouldnt be here."

Family members of death row prisoners also spoke out against the death
penalty system and the Texas law of parties, which states that if a person
with someone when they commit a crime, he or she can be held accountable.

"I don't understand how Texas can convict someone who didn't murder
anyone," said Terri Been, whose brother sits on death row.

Been said her brother was not long out of high school when he and his
roommate decided to rob a convenience store in Kerrville on Jan. 1, 1996.
Her brother changed his mind and backed out of the plan, she said.

The next day the 2 stopped by the same store for some "driving munchies."
While her brother waited in the car, his roommate shot the clerk and began
to rob the store, she said.

Been said her brother had been unaware of his roommate's intentions, was
not present in the store when the murder was committed and was threatened
by his roommate at gunpoint.

"My brother's family and his daughter were also threatened," Been said.
"[The roommate] said he would kill her if he ever turned him in. The state
wants to know why he didn't call 911. Would you? If you had a daughter
that was threatened, If you saw that your roommate just cold-bloodedly
murdered someone and threatened your child at gunpoint?"

Been said her family was gag-ordered by the court and not allowed to
attend his trial, where her brother was convicted under the law of

"It practically makes you have to be a mind reader," she said, citing her
brother did not have prior knowledge of the crime. "I don't know about you
but I don't have ESP. And neither does my brother."

Brittany Watson, a member of the UT chapter of Amnesty International, also
spoke out against the law of parties and said she wanted to create
awareness about the "evils of the death penalty."

"It is the ultimate form of violation of humans rights, the ultimate form
of torture and it is the ultimate form of cruel and unusual punishment,"
she said.

But Eryn Baugh disagrees.

Nearly 15 years ago, his 3-month-old son Brandon was murdered by his
baby-sitter, Cathy Henderson. Henderson's original execution date was set
for 2 years ago until a last-minute appeal put the decision on hold. Baugh
said he feels justice has not been served and he and his family cannot
find closure until she is executed.

"Imagine yourself 15 years ago, and someone came up and put a knife to
your back," Baugh said. "The pain is great. It doesn't leave, and you're
just waiting for someone to pull it out of you so you can heal your

Henderson's attorneys claimed the murder was an accident and that she
dropped the baby on its head, shattering his skull, according to Baugh.
Baugh said he is not convinced.

"She would have called emergency services," he said. "We don't know how
long he suffered, how long it was before he died. He could have been badly
hurt but maybe she could have saved him if she had taken him to the
emergency room."

Baugh said Henderson tried to cover up the death.

"She put him in our wine cooler box, taped him up," he said. "She went to
the bank, got an oil change with our son in her trunk, took him out to a
field with some trees, patched out a hole and threw beer bottles on top of

Baugh said he believes the death-penalty system is just and more humane
than life in prison, and that lethal injection provides a less painful
death than that suffered by victims of violent murders, or even those who
die naturally.

"Until she's dead, I'll never have true closure," he said. "I have to make
sure she'll never get out of prison."

(source: University of Texas Daily Texan)