death penalty execution Tarrant County Texas

Update: State of Texas executes Erick Davila

On April 25, 2018, the State of Texas executed Erick Davila for the 2008 murders of Annette Stevenson and her granddaughter, Queshawn, in Fort Worth. Davila has steadfastly maintained that he did not intend to kill either of the victims. His target was a man thought to be in the same house.

During his trial, Davila’s attorney objected to improper jury instructions, but the attorney who represented him in his direct appeal did not raise this issue; his state habeas lawyer then failed to file a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel on those grounds.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in Davila v. Davis on April 24, 2017. On June 19, 2017, the Justices ruled 5-4 against Davila, finding that attorney error in state post-conviction proceedings – for which there is no constitutional right to counsel – does not provide an excuse for the direct appeal lawyer’s failure to raise an issue on direct appeal.

Both the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Davila’s final appeals. The United States Supreme Court also rejected his appeal shortly before 6:00 PM.

Davila’s execution was the fifth to occur in Texas and the ninth in the United States this year. Tarrant County is responsible for 41 executions. There are currently 16 individuals on death row sentenced in Tarrant County.There are currently five other executions scheduled to take place in Texas through August.

Read more from the Texas Tribune.