capital murder trials death penalty jury rejection Texas

Williamson County Jury Rejects the Death Penalty

On February 14, 2012, a jury in Williamson County rejected the death penalty for Bobby Ray Burks Jr., who was convicted last week of murdering Raul Vizueth Torres.  The jury deliberated for almost four hours Tuesday before issuing their verdict. According to the Austin American-Statesman, outside the courtroom, Chrisha Jackson, the mother of one of Burks’ children, spoke of the relief she felt when she heard the issue verdict. “All I can say is thank you,” she said. “Some people have a heart.”

Allan Williams, the defense attorney in this case, also said he was pleased with the verdict. Williams also pointed out that the “vast majority” of people convicted of capital murder in Texas have received life sentences. He said that there are more than 2,000 people in jail for capital murder and only about 300 people on death row to illustrate his point.

This is the first case in 2012 where a death-qualified jury has rejected the death penalty and instead chosen the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Over the last four years, death-qualified juries have rejected the death penalty in at least 14 capital murder trials.

Read more in the Austin American-Statesman.


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