death penalty news—-TEXAS

Aug. 12


Death row inmate gets court OK to drop appeals

A federal appeals court has granted a condemned Texas inmate's request to
drop his appeals and proceed with his execution for the slaying of an
84-year-old East Texas woman more than 9 years ago.

29-year-old Danielle Simpson told the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
that he's tired of being locked up and wants to die.

The New Orleans-based court agreed Wednesday to dismiss his appeals after
a competency hearing. His attorney told the judges that he believes
Simpson is sincere, and after the prisoner also sent a handwritten note to
the court expressing his wishes.

He was sentenced to die for the abduction and murder of former Palestine
school teacher Geraldine Davidson during a January 2000 burglary of her

(source: Associated Press)


Jurors reach verdict in death penalty case

There 's a verdict. The jury deliberated about 40 minutes. But jurors are
not yet back in the court room.

Jurors just left the courtroom to begin deliberating whether James
Broadnax is guilty of capital murder.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Brad Lollar focused on whether
confessions given to the media or Broadnax's actions were intentional
because he had used marijuana laced with PCP and embalming fluid.

He also said without those confessions to reporters, prosecutors would not
be seeking the death penalty.

Dallas County prosecutor David Alex countered that Broadnax knew what he
was doing and sounded "proud" of his action in those interviews.

He said the interviews "only amplif[y] that he is as cold as they get,"
Alex said. But they are not the reason that prosecutors are seeking the
death penalty.

"This defendant took the handgun you all saw and executed Stephen Swan and
Matthew Butler for no other reason than they had stuff and he didn't,"
Alex said.

Jurors could find him not guilty of capital murder and guilty of murder.

If he is found guilty, the punishment phase will start in the morning.

Swan and Butler were killed in June 2008 outside their Christian music

(source: Dallas Morning News)