In this edition:
Scheduled executions and case updates: The State of Texas is scheduled to execute two individuals this month; Bell County jury rejects death penalty
In case you missed it: New developments in Alfred Dewayne Brown’s pursuit of justice; OpEd: “Why is Bobby Moore still on death row?”; Judge recommends new sentence for Paul Storey
News from North Texas: Dallas County DA seeks death penalty; An in-depth look at the Dallas County Conviction Integrity Unit; Quintin Lee Alonzo exonerated after 17 years in prison
New resources: Death Row: The Final Minutes by Michelle Lyons; “The Last Defense” docu-series on ABC
Featured events: Join TCADP for a special membership event in Fort Worth
Invest in justice: Quick and easy ways to advance our mission
Quote of the month
“Is forensic hypnosis quackery that’s sent innocent men to their deaths, or a powerful law enforcement technique that can crack open cold cases?”
“Texas uses hypnosis to investigate crimes. Dallas death row inmates say it’s time to stop,” Dallas Morning News, May 14, 2018
Scheduled executions and case updates
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute two individuals this month:
- On June 21, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Clifton Williams for the 2005 murder of Cecelia Schneider in Smith County. In 2015, he received a last-minute stay to review FBI statistics related to DNA probabilities. His attorneys recently filed an appeal to stop the execution based on evidence of Williams’ intellectual disability. Take action: Please call or email the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott to support Clifton Williams’ petition for clemency. Click here for contact information and talking points from Amnesty International.
- On June 27, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Danny Bible for the 1979 assault and murder of Inez Deaton in Houston. The case went unsolved for nearly 20 years. Bible was convicted and sentenced to death in 2003 after being arrested in 1998 for another crime. Upon his arrest, he confessed to killing Deaton. Harris County accounts for 128 executions since 1982, more than any state except Texas.
The State of Texas has put six individuals to death this year, accounting for more than half of the executions nationwide. There are currently seven additional executions scheduled to take place in Texas through October.
Bell County jury rejects death penalty
On May 31, jurors in Bell County were unable to come to a unanimous decision in the punishment phase of Rico Doyle’s trial. While all the jurors agreed Doyle was a future danger, four jurors opposed sentencing him to death. Without a unanimous decision from the jury, the judge sentenced Doyle to life in prison without parole. Doyle was convicted of capital murder for the 2015 deaths of Kysha D. Edmond-Gray and De-anna Louise Buster in Killeen. This is the second jury rejection in a death-qualified case this year.
In case you missed it
New developments in Alfred Dewayne Brown’s pursuit of justice
In early May, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg launched a new investigation into the case of Alfred Dewayne Brown. Brown was released from death row in 2015 after his conviction was overturned due to evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. Since then, he has fought for compensation from the State of Texas for his wrongful incarceration.
Although phone records withheld by the prosecution proved Brown’s alibi, he has never been declared officially innocent. Without this ruling, Brown is ineligible for compensation. An outside attorney will conduct an independent review of Brown’s innocence claim.
OpEd: “Why is Bobby Moore still on death row?”
In a recent piece published in TribTalk, State Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Joe Moody lament the fact that Bobby Moore remains on death row despite court findings that his intellectual disabilities render him ineligible for the death penalty: “The time has come for the CCA [Texas Court of Criminal Appeals] to do justice in Bobby Moore’s case. More than a year since the Supreme Court’s decision in his favor, it is long past time for him to be moved off of death row and out of solitary confinement.”
Judge recommends commutation of Paul Storey’s sentence
On May 8, State District Judge Everitt Young recommended that Paul Storey’s death sentence be commuted to life in prison after finding that prosecutors had presented false evidence and withheld evidence from the defense. In April 2017, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) stayed Storey’s execution and ordered the trial court to review whether mitigating evidence related to the victim’s parents’ opposition to the death penalty could have been discovered previously.
Storey was sentenced to death for the murder of Jonas Cherry in Tarrant County in 2008. Glenn and Judy Cherry, the parents of Jonas, publicly campaigned to stop Storey’s execution. The CCA ultimately will decide whether to accept or reject Judge Young’s recommendation.
News from North Texas
Dallas County DA seeks death penalty
On May 22, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced that her office would be seeking the death penalty for Armando Juarez. A grand jury indicted Juarez on five felonies, including capital murder in the death of police Officer Rogelio Santander at a Home Depot on April 24, 2018. Dallas County juries have not imposed a new death sentence since 2013. Last year, prosecutors in Dallas pursued the death penalty in two capital murder trials; both ended in sentences of life without parole.
An in-depth look at the Dallas County Conviction Integrity Unit
The Dallas County Conviction Integrity Unit – the first of its kind – was established in 2007 by then-District Attorney Craig Watkins. Since then, more than 30 individuals have been exonerated of serious crimes; exonerations have slowed in recent years, however. “No County for Innocent Men” provides possible reasons for this change in pace.
Quintin Lee Alonzo released after 17 years in prison
On May 30, Quintin Lee Alonzo was declared innocent by Dallas County after spending 17 years in prison. He was sentenced to life in prison for the 2001 murder of Santos Gauna. According to Alonzo’s attorney, the conviction was based on, “a lot of misstatements, a lot of false evidence.” Licho Escamilla, an original suspect, confessed to Gauna’s murder prior to his 2015 execution for other crimes. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will review Alonzo’s case. Pending its approval, Alonzo will be officially exonerated and eligible for compensation.
Death Row: The Final Minutes by Michelle Lyons
Former spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Michelle Lyons, has published a memoir, Death Row: The Final Minutes, in which she chronicles her experience as a witness to nearly 300 executions. It’s a riveting read by someone with intimate knowledge of Texas’ death penalty machinery.
“The Last Defense” docu-series on ABC
“The Last Defense,” a new series from Viola Davis on Julius Tennon, takes a closer look at the death penalty cases of Darlie Routier and Julius Jones. The first episode premieres on ABC on Tuesday, June 12.
TCADP will hold a special vigil to call for the end of the death penalty in Texas on Thursday, June 21 at 6:00 PM in Fort Worth. We will meet at the Fort Worth Water Gardens, adjacent to the Convention Center. Following the vigil, we invite supporters to join us at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, 111 E 3rd Street, for an informal gathering from 7:00-9:00 PM.
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