death penalty news—-TEXAS

July 19


Execution date set for Reginald Blanton

An execution date has been set for 28-year-old Reginald Blanton, who was
convicted of fatally shooting an acquaintance and then stealing $79 worth
of jewelry that he later sold at a pawn shop.

Blanton's execution is set for Oct. 27, according to the Bexar County
District Attorney's office.

A Bexar County jury convicted Blanton of capital murder 8 years ago for
breaking into 22-year-old Carlos Garza's apartment and killing him April
4, 2000.

At his trial, prosecutors said Blanton kicked in Garza's door and shot him
twice in the head when he refused to hand over some jewelry.

Blanton was videotaped at a local pawn shop selling two gold necklaces
that belonged to Garza.

The execution date was set after both the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals from the defendant. The
Supreme Court's rejection came May 18.

Blanton sought to have his conviction overturned because, among other
claims, he thought his attorney failed to adequately represent him during
jury selection, according to the Associated Press. Specifically, Blanton
claimed his attorney was ineffective "by failing to properly preserve an
objection to a prosecution request for a jury shuffle and failing to
preserve evidence showing the jury shuffle in his case was
discriminatory," according to an Associated Press report.

3 death row inmates from Bexar County have been executed so far this year,
according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Blanton is
currently the only death row inmate from Bexar County to have a date of
execution set for this year.

(source: San Antonio Express-News)


Death row inmate's appeal denied in Pampa triple-slaying

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a death row inmate's
appeal of his conviction for the slaying of his girlfriend and her 2
mentally impaired sons on New Year's Eve 1993.

In a ruling posted late Tuesday, judges rejected Henry Watkins Skinner's
argument that defense attorneys at his capital murder trial should have
used a police blood-spatter report to bolster his defense.

Skinner, 47, was convicted of fatally bludgeoning Twila Jean Busby, 40,
with an ax handle and then fatally stabbing her sons Elwin Caler, 22, and
Randy Busby, 20, in their home in Pampa.

The court wrote: "Even taking the report at face value, Skinner overstates
its implications."

Skinner argued that the report showed that the blood on Elwin Caler came
from his mother, suggesting someone other than Skinner was the killer.

At his 1995 trial, Skinner's lawyers acknowledged that he was present at
the time of the killings but said he was passed out on the couch from a
combination of alcohol and codeine.

Skinner's case came under scrutiny in 2000 because of a lack of forensic
testing during the investigation, and questions about the behavior of
Skinners trial attorney, Harold Comer, who left his post as Gray County
district attorney after improperly borrowing $10,000 from a drug-seizure

(source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram)