Last night, June 12, 2013, the State of Texas executed Elroy Chester for the 1998 shooting death of Port Arthur firefighter Willie Ryman III, who discovered Chester sexually assaulting his nieces during a home invasion. He was convicted in Jefferson County. Chester pled guilty to Ryman’s murder and admitted to four other slayings during a six-month crime spree. Read the Associated Press account of the execution, as it appears in the Longview News-Journal. Thanks to StandDown Texas for providing the link.
Earlier in the day, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals assigned a new three-judge panel of the court to review Chester’s case, after his legal team argued that “comments made by Judge Edith Jones, detailed in a complaint filed last week with the court, indicate she cannot fairly rule in his case.” (“Chief Judge: New Panel Will Be Assigned to Consider Death Row Appeal,” Austin Chronicle, June 11, 2013) The new panel later deemed Chester’s appeal to be without merit and refused to grant a stay of execution; the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.
Texas accounts for 7 out of 15 executions carried out nationwide this year, and for 499 executions since 1982. The State of Florida also carried out an execution last night.