death penalty news—–TEXAS

Sept. 16


Texas man executed for Houston drug dealer's slaying

Convicted killer Stephen Moody was executed Wednesday evening for the
shooting death of a Houston man during a robbery 18 years ago.

Moody, 52, had asked that no last-minute appeals be filed to try to block
his execution, the 17th this year in the nation's busiest death penalty

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Moody's case last year after a
federal appeals court rejected questions raised about jury selection
procedures at his 1993 trial.

"I'm satisfied," he told The Associated Press in an interview a few weeks
ago. "I'm ready, man. I ain't quitting. I went all the way. … That's how
I look at it."

"We have to kind of sit on our hands," Moody's lawyer, Philip Hilder,
said. "We wouldn't be normally doing that, but it is his wishes."

Moody accepted responsibility for killing Joseph Hall, 28, with a blast
from a sawed-off shotgun at Hall's Houston home in October 1991.

Hall was described at Moody's trial as a drug dealer known to carry a lot
of cash. Moody and an accomplice had confronted Hall, who put up a
struggle when he was ordered to surrender his money.

"He started fighting," Moody said. "He wouldn't listen to me. He wouldn't
lay down."

Moody said he took about $2,000 from Hall's pocket and fled.

Hall's girlfriend, who saw him talking with 2 men, crawled through a
bathroom window to run next door and call 911, heard a shot and returned
to find Hall dead on the living room floor. At his trial, she identified
Moody as the man with the sawed-off shotgun.

The slaying went unsolved for nearly a year until a relative of the man
accused of being Moody's accomplice gave police a tip that led to their
arrests. By then, Moody was in prison starting to serve a 40-year sentence
for bank robbery.

The accomplice in the shooting, Calvin Doby, received a life sentence.
Moody got the death penalty.

"You do what you do," Moody said. "You pay for what you do. … I had
plenty of chances in my life."

Besides the bank robbery conviction, the former oilfield worker from
Houston served prison time for auto theft and 2 terms for burglary.

Harris County authorities were looking at Doby's case again after Moody
recently said another man, not Doby, was his partner at the Hall shooting.
Moody signed a sworn affidavit earlier this month saying Doby was
innocent. Moody was questioned by prosecutors a few days ago.

Moody becomes the 17th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Texas, and the 440th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
December 7, 1982. Moody becomes the 201st condemned inmate to be put to
death in Texas since Rick Perry became governor in 2001. Moody was the 1st
of 4 Texas prisoners set to die over the next 2 weeks and among at least
10 scheduled for execution in the next several months.

Christopher Coleman, 37, is scheduled for lethal injection Tuesday for a
December 1995 shooting spree that left 3 people dead in Houston. 2 days
later, Kenneth Mosley, 51, is set to die for fatally shooting a police
officer, Michael Moore, during a bank robbery in the Dallas suburb of
Garland in 1997.

Moody becomes the 38th condemned inmate to be put to death in the USA this
year and the 1174th overall since the nation resumed executions on January
17, 1977.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)


Death penalty change of heart

Re: "Willingham, an innocent Texan executed — Dahlia Lithwick asks: Will
the Supreme Court even bat an eyelash?" Sunday Points.

I read Lithwick's column with a sad sense of resignation. While I am an
ardent believer in the theory of the death penalty, I have lost faith in
our ability to execute it justly in practice.

Our justice system depends on honest investigators and even more so on
jurors who can dispassionately sift through evidence presented at trial
and determine fact from fiction. In a country whose populace is almost
entirely swayed by emotion rather than reason, finding 12 such jurors is
nigh unto impossible.

We should dispense with the death penalty, not because some do not deserve
to die for heinous crimes, but because our system is unreliable.

Lelon Ginn, Denton

(source: Letter to the Editor, Dallas Morning News)