death sentences El Paso executions TCADP Annual Conference world day against the death penalty

TCADP September 2023 Newsletter: Ready for Fall Events?

In this edition:

Scheduled executions: Texas set to execute two people in October

In case you missed it: Jury imposes first new death sentence in El Paso since 2014 while Collin County waives death penalty for man accused of killing two dozen people; “The Dungeons & Dragons Players of Death Row”

TCADP 2024 Annual Conference: Seeking nominations for our Annual Awards

Featured events: A snapshot of events taking place online and around the state in September and October, including a webinar on September 7; the next TCADP Book Group discussion, with selection by Charles Don Flores, on Zoom on September 27; and World Day solidarity events in October

 Quote of the month

“Part of clemency is really about giving the opportunity to the survivors of these crimes to work on reconciliation, to work on healing the wounds that were created through those actions. …We just can’t see at this point how executing someone is going to bring any kind of closure or any kind of healing from the experience that we’ve had.”

– Brett Malone, whose mother, Mary Ann Shaver Malone, was killed in Louisiana in December 2000. Malone has joined the campaign to secure clemency for individuals on death row in Louisiana before Governor John Bel Edwards leaves office at the end of this year.

Scheduled executions

TCADP is in touch with the legal teams for Jedidiah Murphy and Will Speer, who face execution by the State of Texas in October. We will let you know about opportunities to take action on their cases as soon as more information is available. 

Nationwide, seventeen people have been put to death this year by five states: Alabama; Florida; Missouri; Oklahoma; and Texas, which has executed five people. The dates for three other men in Texas were withdrawn. Oklahoma is scheduled to execute Anthony Sanchez on September 21.

In case you missed it

Two recent cases exemplify the arbitrariness of the death penalty 

On August 9, 2023, after deliberating for nearly 10 hours, an El Paso County jury sentenced Facundo Chavez to death for the murder of El Paso Sheriff Deputy Peter Herrera in 2019. It is the first death sentence in El Paso since 2014 and the third in Texas in 2023. In two other capital cases this year, jurors rejected the death penalty.

In contrast, the District Attorney (DA) for Collin County recently announced his office would not seek the death penalty for Billy Chemirmir, who is accused of killing nearly two dozen people in Collin and Dallas counties over a two-year span. Chemirmir was convicted of two of those murders in Dallas County and sentenced to life in prison without parole after the Dallas DA also waived the death penalty. Those convictions were part of the reason the Collin County DA decided to waive the death penalty in some of the remaining cases.

“The Dungeons & Dragons Players of Death Row”

In her masterful piece, “When Wizards and Orcs Came to Death Row: For men awaiting execution in Texas, illicit games of Dungeons & Dragons became a lifeline,” Keri Blakinger writes about the friendship forged between Tony Ford and Billy Joe Wardlow over the fantasy role-playing game. It is a beautiful reminder of the humanity that can be found on death row despite all odds. The piece was published by The Marshall Project and the New York Times

Featured events

“Junk Science Writ” Webinar 

On Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM CT, TCADP, the Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX), and Texas Defender Service will host a webinar to mark the 10th anniversary of when Article 11.073—known as the “junk science writ”—went into effect. This new law created a pathway for relief for individuals who have been convicted based on “junk science” or false or misleading scientific testimony, and it has led to some exonerations. But for several people on Texas’s death row who maintain their innocence, the reality of this groundbreaking law has not lived up to its promise.

Our expert speakers will address the history of the law and how it has been interpreted by the courts. RSVP here. (If you can’t join live but would like a link to the recording, please sign up on the online form.)

TCADP Book Group

The next reading selection for the TCADP Book Group is We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss, a novel that was on the Longlist for a National Book Award in 2018. This book was selected by Charles Don Flores, a voracious reader who has spent more than 20 years on death row in Texas for a crime he maintains he did not commit. TCADP has worked closely with his attorney, Gretchen Sween, in support of her efforts to bring evidence of his wrongful conviction to light. 

For our Zoom meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at 7:00 PM CT, we are partnering with the Charles Flores Book Club and are exploring ways for Charles to be part of our discussion. Register here for the Zoom link.

Houston event with Alabama exoneree Anthony Ray Hinton 

TCADP is proud to co-sponsor The Sun Does Shine: Anthony Ray Hinton on Life, Freedom, and Justice, an event benefiting The Jung Center in Houston taking place on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. Hinton will share his extraordinary story of faith, compassion, and the fortitude of the human spirit as someone who lived on Alabama’s death row for 30 years as an innocent man. Purchase tickets here.

World Day Against the Death Penalty

Since 2003, the global community has recognized October 10 as World Day Against the Death Penalty. This year, to recognize World Day and protest the scheduled execution of Jedidiah Murphy, TCADP is hosting or co-sponsoring solidarity events around the state. 

In this newsletter we are spotlighting events taking place in El Paso and San Antonio. A full list of events statewide will be posted on the TCADP website in the coming weeks.

The Restorative Justice Ministry and El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty will hold an Interfaith Citywide Prayer Vigil on Sunday, October 8, 2023 at 3:00 PM, at Memorial Park in central El Paso. They will pray for the four men scheduled for execution and their families, the victims and their families, and for an end to the death penalty. For more information, contact Pat Delgado at

“United to End the Death Penalty” will take place in San Antonio on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word, in partnership with the Catholic Mobilizing Network, TCADP, and other local organizations on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. There will be several events throughout the day, culminating that evening in an educational panel featuring individuals impacted by the death penalty. Register here.

If you are planning something in conjunction with World Day and would like your event to be listed on the TCADP website and in our press materials, email TCADP Deputy Director Tiara Cooper at

The Met: Live in HD “Dead Man Walking” Opera 

Cinemark and Regal movie theaters throughout the United States will host a screening of The Metropolitan Opera’s live performance of “Dead Man Walking” on Saturday, October 21, 2023, as well as an encore presentation on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

If you would like to organize a viewing party in your community (pick a theater and a date and time to watch as a group and then talk afterwards), email TCADP Deputy Director Tiara Cooper at