January 2009 Executions
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Seven killers were executed in January 2009.  They had murdered at least 18 people.
killers were given a stay in January 2009.  They have murdered at least 2 people.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 14, 2009 Texas Henry Truevillian, 20
Roderick Moore, 24
LaTanya Boone, 21 
Curtis Moore executed 

Darrel Hoyle and his friends Henry Truevillian and Roderick Moore (no relation) met Curtis Moore late in the evening of Nov. 29, 1995. Curtis was with his nephew, Anthony Moore, then 17 years old. The five men agreed to meet to make a cocaine deal at a house on Pate Street that belonged to Curtis' sister. Henry and Roderick rode with Darrel in his beige, four-door Cutlass and Curtis and Anthony rode in a blue Oldsmobile that Curtis said he borrowed from a friend. When they arrived at the Pate Street house, Darrel and Anthony waited outside and talked. The three other men went inside. About five minutes later, Darrel and Anthony entered the house. The five men talked in the kitchen for a while and then Curtis and Anthony went into the bathroom together. Moments later, Curtis came out of the bathroom shouting, "This is a jack," which in street language means a robbery. Curtis took $150 from Darrel and $5 from Henry. While Curtis held a gun on Darrel, Henry and Roderick, he told Anthony to tie up the three men. Anthony tied the victims' hands and feet. Curtis then put Darrel and Henry in the trunk of Darrel's car. From what Darrel could ascertain from inside the trunk, Curtis drove, Anthony rode in the front passenger seat and Roderick rode in the back seat. After a while, the car stopped and Darrel heard Curtis say that the car was out of gas. Curtis went to get gasoline and told Anthony to keep the gun pointed at Roderick. Curtis returned about 10 minutes later, put the gasoline in the car, and drove on. The car stopped sometime later and Darrel assumed that they were at Roderick's house because he heard Roderick's girlfriend, LaTanya Boone, scream after hearing a gun shot. Darrel assumed that LaTanya and Roderick were put into another car because he did not hear them again. The car stopped again, this time Curtis asked Darrel and Henry if they were trying to get loose. Curtis then drove on. Around 2:00 a.m. on November 30, the car stopped again on Wilbarger Street in southeast Tarrant County. Darrel heard Curtis get out of the car and moments later the trunk opened. Curtis fired a gun at Darrel and Henry and then closed the trunk. Darrel heard Henry say, "Oh, I'm hit." Curtis opened the trunk again and poured gasoline on Darrel and Henry. Curtis closed the trunk until it was open only enough to stick in his hand. Darrel heard the flick of the lighter and then his and Henry's clothes caught on fire. Curtis tried to close the trunk but Darrel kicked until it opened. Darrel pulled Henry and himself out of the trunk and ran. When he realized that he was on fire, Henry dropped to the ground and rolled. Curtis then gave chase, while Darrel ran into the woods on the other side of the street. When Curtis caught up to him, he stepped on Darrel's neck and threatened his life. Darrel played dead and Curtis left him alone and walked back to the cars. Darrel then got up, ran farther into the woods and found a hiding place. He watched his car burn and then saw what appeared to be an explosion. When Curtis realized that Darrel was gone, Curtis removed his shirt and yelled that he was going to kill Darrel. Darrel heard sirens and saw Curtis run toward the highway. He saw a blue Oldsmobile that looked like the one Curtis had been driving earlier, drive toward the highway. When the fire trucks and police arrived, Darrel ran up to them. He was able to tell a fireman his and Henry's name, but was unable to tell them anything else because he was in shock and burned on about 60 percent of his body. Henry Truevillian died later of multiple gunshot wounds in the chest and abdomen, burns and smoke inhalation, authorities said. Later that morning, the police were called to a crime scene on David Strickland Street, not far from the Wilbarger site, where the bodies of LaTanya and Roderick were found shot with a 9 mm gun. Darrel gave a statement to the police when he regained consciousness six days after he was shot and burned. When Darrel gave his statement to the police, he told them Anthony's street name -- Kojak -- and that Anthony attended O.D. Wyatt High School. He also told police that he did not know Curtis' name, but he knew Curtis drove a pink truck. With that information, the police were able to find Curtis and Anthony and arrest them on December 12. After his arrest, Anthony led police to the 9 mm gun that a ballistics expert testified had been used to kill LaTanya and Roderick. At age 12, Curtis Moore was detained for running away, resulting in confinement at a juvenile detention center. He was subsequently released to his parents. He was again detained for incorrigibility at age 13, resulting in a voluntary commitment to Boysville Juvenile Home in San Antonio, Texas. He was released to his parents after six months. At age 15, Moore was detained for theft of a bicycle and committed to the Texas Youth Commission. After six months, he was released on juvenile parole, which he successfully completed. In 1985, Moore was sentenced to six years for robbery by threats. He was released on mandatory supervision in March of 1987, but was returned to custody in September 1987 with a subsequent two year sentence for theft of property over $750. He was released on parole in July 1988. Moore returned to TDCJ as a parole violator in October 1988 on a 15-year sentence for theft from a person. He was released on parole in April 1990, but returned as a parole violator in January of 1991 on a 15-year sentence for possession of cocaine and possession of a weapon by a felon (.357 magnum pistol). He returned as a parole violator in November of 1996 for the current offense. TDCJ records indicate that while incarcerated, Moore had one minor and one major violation for refusing to groom. Moore also stabbed another inmate in the jaw with an ink pen during a game of dominoes, exclaiming, "I am going to kill your punk ass like I killed your home boys." "This is a very, very bad man," said Chip Wilkinson, the Tarrant County assistant district attorney who is handling the final stages of Moore's case. Anthony Moore, now 24, pled guilty to two counts of murder under a plea agreement and is serving two life prison sentences. Moore had a prior execution date of August 6, 2003 but received a stay.  

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 15, 2009 Texas Ben "Doc" Murray, 68  Jose Briseno stayed until 4/7/09 

In late 1990, Ben Murray, the Sheriff of Dimmit County, was investigating a burglary case. The Sheriff met with Jose Garcia Briseno to enlist his help in solving the burglaries. Briseno was on parole and had previous convictions for burglary, forgery and aggravated assault. Several weeks later, on Sunday, January 6, 1991, Ben was found dead in his home, with numerous stab wounds and a bullet wound to the head. At trial, testimony revealed that over five hundred dollars in cash had been taken from Ben. Additionally, two of his pistols were missing. When Briseno was arrested, he had bandages on both hands. He told police that he had received the cuts in a fight on the previous Friday. While being held, he attempted to escape with several other inmates. After their capture, one of the other inmates told authorities statements Briseno made about the Sheriff's murder. He testified that on the night of Ben's murder, Briseno and another defendant, Alberto G. Gonzales, appeared at Ben's home offering to sell some rings. Briseno and Gonzales did not have any rings for sale, but used the ring story to gain entry to Ben's home. A struggle began, and they stabbed Ben Murray. When Briseno and Gonzales could not take Ben down, Briseno grabbed Ben's gun off a table and shot Ben. Afterwards, Briseno and Gonzales stole some money from Ben's home and hid it. The inmate also testified that during the escape Briseno showed him the spot where Briseno had buried the gun used to kill Ben. Briseno dug up the gun but soon disposed of it in the same general area before the police caught the escapees. Upon being recaptured, the inmate led the officers to the location where Briseno had hidden the gun, and the gun was recovered. At trial, the state introduced evidence demonstrating that blood taken from Ben's carpet compared positively with that of Briseno. The state's serologist testified that the enzyme markers found in the blood are shared by Briseno and a little more than one percent of the Hispanic population in the United States. Additional evidence submitted at trial included bloody clothing that was found behind a sofa in a shed in which Briseno had been staying. That clothing contained enzyme markers consistent with Briseno's and Ben Murray's. Furthermore, a bullet of the same caliber and brand as that used in the stolen pistol utilized to kill the sheriff was discovered at the shed. Moreover, a bloodhound tracked a lighter found near Ben's residence to the shed where Briseno had been staying. A jury convicted Briseno of Sheriff Murray's murder and sentenced him to death. Doc Murray had served as Sheriff for almost 20 years and was survived by his wife and three children. Alberto Gonzales received a life sentence for his part in the crime.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 15, 2009 Alabama Rebecca Suzanne Howell, 26   James Callahan executed 

On February 3, 1982, around 11:00 p.m., Becky Howell met her fiancÚ, Murray Knight, at the club where he was performing with his band in Jacksonville, Alabama. Becky, 26, was a student at Jacksonville State University. After visiting Knight for 10 to 15 minutes, Becky went across the street to the Norge Washerteria to do laundry. She was supposed to return to the club, but when Knight’s band finished playing at 1:30 a.m., she had still not returned. Knight became worried and went to the laundry to look for Howell. He found her car, her school books, her laundry, and her jacket, but he did not find her. Knight called the police, and Officer Joe Carter and Sergeant Kathy Thienes responded. The officers searched the area and discovered a roll of gray duct tape and a pair of men’s blue jeans in the vicinity of Becky’s car but found no other evidence of her whereabouts. On February 17, 1982, two weeks after her disappearance, Becky Howell was found dead of asphyxiation in the Tallasseehatchee Creek in Calhoun County, Alabama—her hands were taped together; her belt was on upside down; and she was not wearing pantyhose, socks, or shoes. A vaginal swab revealed the presence of seminal fluid.  On the night of Becky’s disappearance, Jimmy Dunagan was in his car outside of a washerteria six or seven blocks from the Norge Washerteria. Around 11:00 p.m., Dunagan observed a late model green Ford pickup truck being driven by a man, pull into a parking lot across the street from a young woman in a phone booth. After watching the woman for about ten minutes, the man in the truck pulled out of the parking lot and parked within ten feet of the woman in the phone booth. A few minutes later, the woman left the phone booth, and as she passed by the green truck, she began running to her car. When the woman drove away, the green truck followed her for several blocks, stopping when she turned onto Jacksonville State University campus. Dunagan followed the truck and wrote down its tag number. On February 20, Dunagan told Detective Max Kirby what  he saw on February 3 and that the tag number of the truck was either “NRF467” or “RNF467.” Kirby searched the database for tag number “NRF467” and nothing came up, but the tag number “RNF467” belonged to an orange Ford truck registered to James Callahan. Further investigation revealed the “RNF467” tag was now on a green 1982 Ford pickup truck. On February 21, police located the green Ford outside of the residence of Harvey Callahan, the defendant’s father. Dunagan identified the truck at Harvey Callahan’s as the same one he saw on February 3 at the laundry. Starting at 9:30 p.m. on February 21, police staked out the green Ford. Around 5:00 a.m. the next morning, Deputy Johnny Alexander and Sergeant Thienes observed James Callahan get into the truck and drive away. The officers pulled Callahan over for driving with a switched tag. Callahan opened the driver’s side door, placed something behind the seat of his truck, and exited, leaving the driver’s side door open. The officers explained to Callahan that he was going to be ticketed for having the wrong tag on his vehicle. At this point Callahan became very nervous and attempted to get back to his truck. Callahan walked around Alexander and, without getting back into the truck, shut the previously open driver’s side door and locked it. The officers then transported Callahan to the jail so they could write him a ticket for driving with a switched tag, which was standard procedure for this county. After receiving his ticket, Callahan was told investigators would like to talk to him and he could wait for them in the lobby. He agreed. At approximately 9:00 a.m., Callahan was placed under arrest for violating his probation by driving a vehicle with an incorrect tag. Callahan was convicted twice in 1979 for assault with intent to murder and was still on probation for those crimes on February 21, 1982. A subsequent search of Callahan’s truck revealed a pistol, a pillow, and two pairs of men’s blue jeans. Over the course of February 22 and 23, Callahan gave four statements to the police concerning his whereabouts and actions on the night of February 3. Before each statement Callahan was read his Miranda rights and signed a waiver of counsel. Statement #1 was given orally to Kirby who transcribed it. Statements #2, #3, and #4 were given during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Joseph Hubbard; the latter three statements were audio-taped and transcribed by a court reporter. In Statement #1, given on February 22, at 9:30 a.m. Callahan stated he went to a laundry between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. and was driving a green 1982 Ford pickup truck. After going to get something to eat, he returned to the laundry and left again at approximately 10:00 pm. He then went to the Jacksonville Hospital where he met his father who was visiting his mother. At 11:00 p.m., Callahan left the hospital and followed his father to his father’s house, where Callahan remained for the rest of the night. In Statement #2 which was given on February 22, from 1:45 p.m. to 3:25 p.m. Callahan stated he arrived at a laundry around 10:00 p.m. Becky Howell was not there. Callahan placed his clothes in a washing machine and left to get something to eat. When he returned to the laundry approximately 30 minutes later, Becky was there by herself. Callahan knew Becky Howell because Billy Griffith’s wife introduced them to each other at the Jacksonville Nursing Home a few years ago. Since they were introduced, Callahan and Becky spoke in passing several times. That night, Callahan told her he was thinking of renting out his mobile home and asked if she was interested. He offered to take her there and told her to think about it while he went and visited his mother in the hospital. He left to go to the hospital around 11:00 p.m. and returned around 12:00 a.m. When he returned, Becky told him she would like to see the mobile home that night. It was at this time that Gladys Callahan, his estranged wife, pulled up outside of the laundry, but did not enter and soon drove off. Callahan and Becky left the laundry at approximately 12:10 a.m. Becky entered Callahan’s truck on the driver’s side because you could not get in on the passenger side. Five minutes after they arrived at his mobile home, Gladys also arrived and accused Callahan of “running around” on her. After arguing with Gladys for roughly 20 minutes, Callahan told her he and Becky were leaving. That was when Gladys removed a pistol from her pocketbook and pointed it at Callahan. She then directed Callahan and Becky Howell into the kitchen where she forced Callahan to tape Becky’s hands together. A few minutes later Callahan escaped out the back door of the mobile home and drove away, leaving Becky alone with Gladys. He did not have sexual relations with Becky Howell. In an addendum Callahan requested to Statement #2, made on February 22, at 3:48 p.m. Callahan stated that about a year and a half prior to February 3, he had dated Becky Howell, and they had sexual relations on one occasion. When Callahan saw Becky at the laundry, after returning from the restaurant, Becky intimated that she wanted to have sex with Callahan again. In particular, she said, “I remember several of the good times we had at one time. Are the good times still out there?” Callahan replied, “I don’t know. Why don’t you try it and we’ll find out.” After Callahan returned from the hospital, Becky said she wanted to look at Callahan’s mobile home and commented, “We’ll have a good time once we get there.” Callahan and Becky arrived at the mobile home, had sex, and were still in bed when Gladys entered the bedroom. Gladys pointed a pistol at them and ordered them to move to the kitchen. Callahan taped Becky Howell’s hands together then escaped through the back door. Statement #3 was given  on February 23, at 10:20 a.m, after officers retrieved a photograph from Callahan’s father’s house at Callahan’s request. He stated his wife may have thought Becky was the woman in the photograph, whose name was Malera. Callahan’s wife was very jealous of Malera. Callahan further detailed his relationship with Becky Howell. He and Howell first met in 1977 at Federal Mogul where they were introduced by Billy Griffith. Callahan asked her out and gave her his phone number. The following weekend they went out on a date. Callahan told Becky he was currently seeing someone, but he was not sure he wanted to stay with that person. Two weeks later Callahan took her water skiing on his boat. While on the boat, they had sex and Becky told Callahan he needed to make up his mind who he wanted to be with or she would not see him anymore. They next spoke three months later, when Becky told him she had started seeing someone else, but could call it off very easily if Callahan would leave his girlfriend. After that, Callahan only spoke briefly with her on two occasions before they met in the Norge Washerteria on February 3. In Statement #4 given on February 23, at 2:50 p.m. Callahan stated that on February 4, he went to the Norge Washerteria, for the first time that night, a little after 12:00 a.m. There were several people in the laundry, including Becky Howell, whom he had met before. He placed his clothes in a washing machine and then went to eat at a restaurant. Callahan returned to the laundry at approximately 12:30 a.m. He said he got Becky to leave with him under false pretenses, saying she was "needed over yonder." Once inside his truck, Callahan made advances towards Becky and she told him she was not interested. Callahan said he took her to his trailer and locked her in the bedroom, keeping her there for the entire day  of February 4. That night, he asked her to have sex with him, and she said she would if he would let her go. Later that night, after they had sex, Callahan taped Becky's hands together and drove her to the Tallasseehatchee Creek bridge. He bound her hands to make it look like she had escaped. When they neared the bridge, Howell jumped out of the passenger side door and ran toward the creek, which was about 30 yards away. Callahan drove off and did not pursue her. Callahan would give no other formal statements after his fourth one, but on February 24, 1982, between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m., Callahan sent word to Kirby that he wanted to see him. What transpired next has been repeatedly referred to as the “fifth statement.” Although the evidence Callahan produced is more important than what he said, for simplicity, we will refer to the events on the 24th as Callahan’s fifth statement. Kirby had Callahan brought to see him roughly 30 minutes after Callahan made his request. When Callahan said he wanted to talk about the case, Kirby advised Callahan of his Miranda rights, and Callahan signed a waiver of counsel. Callahan told Kirby he could show him where he threw Howell’s boots out of his truck. Kirby and Sheriff Snead, accompanied by Callahan, went, among other places, to Callahan’s father-in-law’s house. Callahan directed the officers to a woodpile, and the officers found a purse behind it. Callahan then directed the officers to his father’s house. At his father’s house, he removed a knife from a camper and told the officers it was the knife he had in his truck on February 3. The police did not recover a pair of boots at this time. On April 5, 1982, James Callahan was indicted for the intentional murder of Rebecca Suzanne Howell. UPDATE: Becky's sister Donna Wood released a statement that said, "This ordeal has never been anything but sad and difficult for everyone involved." She said it was unfortunate that her father, who died three years ago, did not live long enough to see the execution, "but we know that he is here with us in spirit." She said her slain sister was "truly a kind and loving person, one that we all still miss each and every day."

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 21, 2009 Texas Samuel Boyd, 23
Patrick Clark, 15 
Frank Moore executed 

Frank Moore was sentenced to death for the January 21, 1994 shooting deaths of Samuel Boyd and Patrick Clark. Moore's first death sentence was set aside by an appeals court, and he was again sentenced to death by a second jury. Moore shot and killed two individuals after an altercation in the parking lot of the Wheels of Joy Club in San Antonio, Texas, around 2:00 a.m. on January 21, 1994. The persons killed were Samuel Boyd, 23-years old, and Patrick Clark, 15-years old. The first peace officer on the scene found Boyd dead or dying in the passenger seat of an automobile and Clark lying dead next to the driver's door. An investigator found shell casings in a location that suggested that the shots were fired from the left rear of the vehicle. This evidence comported with the deputy medical examiner's testimony that the tracks of the bullet wounds were generally from back to front and left to right. Boyd had been wounded by six bullets and Clark by five. Boyd's blood contained 0.28 grams per deciliter of ethanol alcohol. Clark's blood contained 0.15 grams per deciliter of ethanol, as well as 0.25 milligrams per liter of diazepam and 0.33 milligrams per liter of nordiazepam. In the opinion of the medical expert, the latter two controlled substances are muscle relaxants. Both victims were acutely intoxicated at the times of their deaths. The State called Angela Wallace, who lived in Houston and was visiting San Antonio to attend the funeral of her uncle. Prior to the night of the shootings, Wallace did not know anyone involved in the offense. She testified that she and a friend, Lisa, had gone to an icehouse across from the Wheels of Joy Club. Lisa was Boyd's girlfriend. Boyd met Lisa at the icehouse and the two verbally argued. Wallace left her friend and walked to the Wheels of Joy where she spent several hours in the nightclub; Boyd entered the club after Wallace and told her that Lisa had gone home. During the evening, Wallace saw Moore in the club and at one time Moore and Boyd shook hands and the two spoke and laughed. She also saw Clark in the club but did not see him have any contact with the Moore. Wallace testified that she did not see Boyd or Clark acting drunk or argumentative. Throughout the evening, Moore came and spoke to Wallace and flirted with her. At one point, Wallace observed two women with Moore look at her strangely and she momentarily left the club to deposit her jewelry in her car. As the club prepared to close, Moore asked Wallace to save him the last dance and to give him her telephone number. Wallace refused to give Moore her number, but he offered to give his to her. As the club was closing, Moore was interrupted by a man who stopped and whispered to him; the two men then left the club. Wallace identified this other man from photographs as Ivory Sheffield. When the club closed, Wallace left and went to the parking lot. She testified that Moore, Boyd, Clark, and another man "had a confrontation . . . an exchange of words and someone pushed somebody. . . . It just broke up. Just everybody started scattering a little bit." Wallace saw Clark's car come into the parking lot and stop. She stated that the car did not come close to striking the Moore and it did not back up. While Boyd must have at some point gotten into Clark's car, Wallace did not see him do so. Wallace testified that she saw the Moore walk towards the back of Clark's car. Sheffield got a rifle from the trunk of a Cadillac and tossed it to Moore, who started shooting into Clark's car. Moore handed the gun back to Sheffield and left in a Cadillac. Sheffield said, "Who else wants some of this?" and walked around with the gun. Wallace left the crime scene with an individual named Edmond to notify the family of Boyd and Clark. At the second trial, Moore called Robert Mays, Jr. whose testimony contradicted that of Wallace. Mays, a friend of Moore, was at the Wheels of Joy Club on the night of the shootings. Mays did not know the victims but did observe a scuffle outside the club around closing time. Someone yelled they were going to get their stuff (meaning guns) and two or three males ran across the street and got into a white car. Mays also testified they were going to shoot him. They had guns in the car and the white car came across the street into the parking lot at a high rate of speed and tried to run over Mays and others, including Moore, who tried to get out of the way. The car hit some bushes preventing it from striking Mays, and the car backed up and tried to come back at Mays. Mays made a quick getaway and heard shots as he fled the scene.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 22, 2009 Oklahoma Richard Yost, 30  Darwin Brown executed 

Darwin Demond Brown's codefendant Michael Wilson, 19, was employed at the QuikTrip convenience store located on North Garnett Road in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Richard Yost also worked. Brown, 18, and three codefendants came into the store during the early morning hours of February 26 and waited for the most opportune time to accost Yost. The QuikTrip surveillance camera captured the events as they unfolded. The video of the events is quite telling. Yost was cleaning the windows on the coolers with all of the defendants surrounding him. As Yost was walking near a passage-way to the back room, all four defendants attacked him and dragged him to the back room. One of the defendants, Billy Alverson, came back out and picked up some items that were knocked from the shelves. He also kept watch for customers. A few moments later, Alverson and 16-year-old Richard Harjo walked out the front door of the store. While they were going out, Yost was yelling and screaming for help, possibly thinking that a customer had entered the store. Alverson and Harjo re-entered the store with Harjo carrying a black aluminum baseball bat. He carried the bat to where Yost had been taken. The surveillance camera picked up the sounds of the bat striking Yost. Circumstantial evidence showed that the baseball bat struck the handcuffs on Yost's wrists which Yost was holding above his head to ward off the blows. As the blows were being struck, Wilson walked from the back room, checked his hands, put on a QuikTrip jacket, got behind the counter and tried to move the safe. While Wilson was behind the counter, several customers came in. Wilson greeted them with a friendly greeting, sold them merchandise, then said "thank you, come again" or "have a nice day." All this time Wilson continued to try and pull the safe from underneath the counter. He took money from the cash drawer and pulled money out of the currency change machine. At some point after this, Wilson left the counter area and the video went blank as the video was taken from the recorder. Brown was never seen exiting the back room between the times Yost was dragged into the room until the video recorder was stopped. The defendants then loaded two safes into Wilson's car using a dolly from QuikTrip. Yost's body was discovered by customer Larry Wiseman at about 6:00 a.m. Yost was laying on the floor in a pool of blood, milk and beer. Yost's ankles were taped together with duct tape. One handcuff was found near Yost's body. The other cuff was missing from the scene. Detectives learned that Wilson was at the store between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Wilson failed to show up for work at the scheduled time of 3:00 p.m. on the same day. Officer Allen set up surveillance on Wilson's house, and shortly thereafter he spotted Wilson get into a gray vehicle. The vehicle was stopped. All four defendants were taken into custody. A large number of five dollar bills was recovered from Harjo at the site of the stop. Brown was a passenger in the vehicle occupied by all of the codefendants. At that time Brown was removed from the car, handcuffed and taken to the Tulsa Police Department where he made a statement. Later, at the police station, money was recovered from all of the defendants except Wilson. Officers searched Alverson's residence where they discovered the drop safe, the dolly, QuikTrip glass cleaner, money tubes and the store surveillance videotape. A search was conducted of Wilson's house but nothing of value was discovered. The next day Wilson's mother called Officer Makinson to come to her house. Once there, the detectives found several items of evidence on the front porch, including the baseball bat, a bloody QuikTrip jacket with Yost's name on it, Wilson's Nike jacket matching the one worn in the store video and the other cuff of the set of handcuffs. Billy Don Alverson was executed in January 2011

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 22, 2009 Texas Gertie Mae Perkins, 64
Paula Nelson, 21
Jenny Morman, 43
Terry Thomas 
Hattie Wilson, 79
Shirley Douglas, 44
Reginald Perkins executed 

Reginald Perkins was sent to death row for the slaying of his stepmother, Gertie Mae Perkins in Fort Worth on December 4, 2000. Gertie had been married to Perkins's father for 45 years. The 64-year-old woman's body was found in the trunk of her car in a parking garage. A Tarrant County jury took just 30 minutes in 2002 to decide Reginald Perkins should be put to death. Shortly after the jury's verdict was read in court, Perkins proclaimed his innocence in a written letter read by his lawyer. In November 2007, a federal appeals court rejected claims he was mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty, that his legal help earlier had been ineffective, that the Texas sentencing statute was unconstitutional and that he was innocent of the murder. In May of 2008, the US Supreme Court refused to review that appeal. Evidence at his trial showed he pawned his stepmother's wedding ring and wrote fraudulent checks from the account of the family trucking business in Fort Worth. When Gertie Perkins showed up missing, police summoned to her home found a carpet removed, a phone cord disconnected and sheets missing from a bed. He became a suspect after detectives learned of his previous convictions in Ohio for rape and attempted rape and that he had been a suspect in two killings in Cleveland in the 1980s. When arrested, he directed his father and police to Gertie's body. Perkins also acknowledged the slaying to a fellow inmate while awaiting trial and said his motive was robbery. At the punishment phase of his trial, jurors heard testimony that he pleaded guilty in 1982 to the 1980 rape and attempted rape of two 12-year-old girls and that he had been implicated in the strangulation of three women. One of them, Terry Thomas, was the mother of the girl he raped. She was strangled and left for her daughter, the rape victim, to find. Perkins had threatened to kill both of them if the girl talked about the attack. Three weeks before Terry's murder, Jenny Morman, 43, was strangled in her apartment, and Perkins is believed to have committed that murder as well. The other was Paula Nelson, the twin sister of a woman he was living with and later married. She was strangled and left in bed with her small son. There was not enough evidence to charge him in Paula's murder. In 1986, he had been paroled from Ohio after receiving a life prison term for the rape conviction. He was returned from parole eight years later but released again in February 2000. His stepmother's murder occurred 10 months later. Perkins had been on death row in Texas for five years when DNA linked him to the 1991 slayings of Hattie Wilson, 79, and her niece Shirley Douglas, 44. Both women were found strangled in their East Fort Worth apartment. Shirley had also been raped in the attack. Perkins knew the women because he had dated Hattie's granddaughter.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 27, 2009 Texas Melissa Trotter Larry Swearingen stayed 

Larry Ray Swearingen was convicted of killing Melissa Trotter in the course of either an aggravated kidnapping or aggravated sexual assault. Prosecutors believe that Swearingen became angry that Melissa Trotter rejected his sexual advances. According to the prosecution, Swearingen became acquainted with Melissa Trotter on Sunday, December 6, 1998, talked with her at length, got her phone number, and made plans to see or talk with her again the next day. The next day, she failed to show up for lunch after Swearingen had bragged to his coworkers about his plans to have lunch with Melissa. His coworkers teased him about being stood up even after he had told them that he called Melissa and she said that she had been taking a test. Swearingen appeared to be angry the remainder of the day. Later that evening, while using his truck to help transport some furniture, Swearingen commented to Bryan Foster and William Brown that he was going to meet a young lady named Melissa for lunch the next day, and if everything went right, he was going “to have Melissa for lunch.” Brown noticed various items of clothing in the backseat of Swearingen’s truck. Swearingen called Melissa Trotter from Foster’s house and talked about meeting for lunch and helping her study for an exam. On Tuesday, December 8, Swearingen met Melissa in the college library around 1:30 p.m., after she had purchased some tater-tots from the school cafeteria. After sitting by the computers and talking amicably with Swearingen for some amount of time, Melissa left the library with Swearingen around 2 p.m. Melissa’s vehicle remained in the college parking lot. At 2:05 p.m., Swearingen returned a page he received and said he would have to call back later because he was at lunch with a friend. Swearingen returned to his trailer sometime before 3:30 p.m. and left between 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., then returned again to the trailer sometime before 5:30 p.m., asked his landlord some questions, then left again between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., to pick up his wife, Terry Swearingen, from his mother’s house. His neighbor, seeing Swearingen’s truck come and go, was not able to see through the tinted windows or see who got in and out of the truck. When Swearingen and his wife returned home, a package of Marlboro Light cigarettes and a red lighter were on top of the television. The evidence showed that Melissa Trotter smoked Marlboro Lights and that neither Swearingen or his wife smoked. That evening, Swearingen called a former girlfriend and told her that he was in trouble and the police might be after him. On December 11, Swearingen was arrested pursuant to several outstanding warrants, and while being handcuffed, said that his wrist and ribs were sore from a bar fight he had been in the week before. Melissa’s body was found in the Sam Houston National Forest on January 2, 1999, with a piece of hosiery still tied, as a ligature, around her neck. The state of the body’s decomposition was consistent with having been in the woods approximately 25 days, supporting December 8 as the date of death. The location where Melissa Trotter’s body was found was heavily wooded, secluded, and remote. The police had previously searched the area three times without finding the body. One had to be within twenty feet of the body before seeing it. Swearingen knew his way around this area; he had driven a date around the vicinity a few months earlier in his red pickup. Melissa’s body was on its back in a pile of bushes, her right arm was above her head and slightly to the left. Her top and bra were pulled up under her arms, exposing her breasts and back. There were creases on her back from her neck to her waist that could have been caused by laying on the debris in the bushes for a period of time after she had died. Her jeans were on and the fly was closed, but the right rear pocket was torn downwards exposing part of her buttocks. She was wearing red underwear. There were no scratches found on her exposed skin as one would expect to find if she had been dragged to the location. However, there was no soil on Trotter’s shoes. She had only one shoe on; the other shoe was lying nearby. Melissa Trotter died from asphyxia, lack of oxygen, by ligature strangulation. The nylon ligature was a section cut from a pair of pantyhose; the matching complementary portion of the pantyhose was found in Swearingen’s trailer. There also appeared to be a sharp-forced injury on Melissa’s neck that would have been inflicted before she died, while her blood continued to circulate. Although there was subsequent animal activity and tooth marks on the neck organs at that area, a cut with a sharp object, like a knife, could not be ruled out. The lack of defensive wounds, such as broken fingernails, and the difficulty of tying an elastic piece of nylon around a struggling victim, suggested that she may have been unconscious when the ligature was applied. Although the state of decomposition made it difficult to determine, the left side of Melissa Trotter’s face was much darker and at a more advanced stage of decomposition, which could be consistent with having sustained a bruise on the left side of her face. Evidence showed that animals are drawn to blood and a bruise would collect blood close to the skin’s surface. There was also a deep bruise on Melissa’s tongue, like a bite or a cut, consistent both with being struck under the chin, which would push the lower jaw up onto the tongue, and with biting down on the tongue while being strangled or suffering a seizure. There was also discoloration on her vaginal wall, a bruise that could have been caused by sexual intercourse on the day of her disappearance. There were fibers found on Melissa's body similar to fibers from Swearingen’s jacket, others similar to the seat and head-liner in Swearingen’s truck, and others similar to the carpet in Swearingen’s master bedroom. There were also fibers found in Swearingen’s truck that were similar to fibers from Melissa’s jacket. There were hairs in Swearingen’s truck that appeared to have been forcibly removed from her head. An internal examination revealed that Melissa’s stomach contained not only what appeared to be a form of potato, but also what appeared to be chicken and a small amount of greenish vegetable material. While in jail awaiting trial, Swearingen sent a letter to his mother that the evidence showed Swearingen had written, with the help of an English-Spanish dictionary and had his cellmate copy. The letter stated it was written by a girl named Robin who could identify Melissa Trotter’s murderer as someone other than Swearingen and who knew the details of the murder. The translation of the letter is as follows:

I have information that I need to tell you about Melissa and Wanda. I was with the murderer of Melissa, and with the one that took Wanda from work. I am not sure what he did with Wanda, but I saw everything that happened to Melissa. He was talking to her in the parking lot. They went to school together is what he told me. “We drove for awhile, and then we went and had breakfast. I began to talk about sex when she said she had to go home.” He hit her in the left eye, and she fell to the floor of her car. He took her to the wood and began to choke her with his hands at first, then he jerked (jalar is slang) her to the bushes. He cut her throat to make sure that she was dead. Her shoe came off when he jerked (slang) her into the bushes. Her jabear (cannot make out/ no such word in Spanish) was torn. I am in love with him, and I don’t want him in jail. The man in jail doesn’t deserve to be in jail, either. To make sure that you know, I am telling you the truth. She was wearing red panties when R.D. murdered her. He choked her with his hands first, but he used A piece of rope the truck from his truck; he had a piece of black rope that he used in his boat to anchor it, or something, he said. When he dragged her from the car, he put her in the shrub on her back. I know that I should turn him in, but he told me that he would kill me, too, and I believe him. He has told about this murder to 3 other women in the past, will tell you that he smokes, and he smoked with her at the college at 2:30 and drove a blue truck. His hair is blonde and brown and lives here. His name is Ronnie, but that is all I can tell, if you want more information, say it on paper and I will continue to write, but I want to come in.

Presumably the "Wanda" referred to in this letter is Wanda May Pitts, 18, who disappeared on January 23, 1999 from her job as a motel clerk in the small town of Shenandoah, near the area where Melissa' murder occurred. A drifter named William Ray Matthews confessed to killing Wanda, who had only worked at the motel for a couple of months. He said he had taken Wanda to a room at the motel where he sexually assaulted her before strangling her to death. He was unable to show investigator where he put her body, but her remains were found about one year later near a gated driveway.  

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 28, 2009 Texas Veronica Fuentes, 27
Joshua Fuentes, 6
Cassandra Fuentes, 3
John Gomez, 18 
Virgil Martinez executed 

Virgil Euristi Martinez was sentenced to death for murdering his ex-girlfriend Veronica Fuentes; Veronica’s two children, five-year-old Joshua and three-year-old Cassandra; and a bystander John Gomez, 18. Veronica Fuentes lived in a trailer park in Brazoria County with her husband and their two children, Joshua and Cassandra, ages five and three. The landlord of the trailer park and lived in a house about forty to fifty feet from the Fuentes' trailer. Veronica had been estranged from her husband for two years and at some point dated Martinez, but Veronica and Martinez eventually "broke up." Veronica had been receiving harassing phone calls from Martinez for over a month and blocked phone calls from Martinez at some point. Several weeks before the murders, Veronica told her landlord Sherry that she was afraid of Martinez, and if Martinez showed up, Veronica wanted her to call the Sheriff's office. On October 1, 1996, at around 11:00 p.m., as Sherry was lying in bed, she heard banging noises and screaming coming from the direction of the Fuentes' trailer. She went to the Fuentes' trailer and listened at the window. She heard Veronica say. "No Virgil. No. Please no. Just go. Just go." An angry male voice referred to "your purse" and also to someone's dad as "a cop." The landlord went to the front door and walked inside the living room area. She asked Veronica if she was okay. Sounding scared, Veronica responded, "Yes. Sherry, get help. Get help." Sherry told Veronica that she was going to call 911, and she dialed 911 as she walked back toward her house. John Gomez came to the landlord's house and mumbled, "Veronica's gone crazy. Gun at kids' heads." Sherry tried to explain to the 911 operator what was happening. Sherry then saw Veronica in the Fuentes' front yard calling Virgil's name, saying "No Virgil. Oh my God." She then saw Martinez shoot Veronica and Veronica fall to the ground. At this point, Gomez ran towards Martinez, and Martinez shot him. Sherry ducked inside her home. Martinez ran off, passing within five to ten feet of Graves' window. The floodlights were on, and Graves saw Martinez fiddling with a "holster-looking belt." A woman and her son who were neighbors of Veronica's heard knocking and went outside to investigate. The woman saw people running across the street, then heard gunshots, and saw Gomez running toward a garage. Then she saw Martinez run in front of Sherry's house. She also noticed that Martinez was wearing a gun holster around his waist. The woman's son saw Martinez shoot Veronica. He saw who Martinez was by looking through a gun scope that made images look nine times closer. The police arrived to find Veronica and her two children dead from multiple gunshot wounds. The children were found dead in their bed. Veronica was lying in the front yard, with wounds from ten to twelve bullets. The police found Gomez still alive, with seven gunshot wounds. A sergeant asked Gomez, "Who did this?" Gomez replied, "Boyfriend, girlfriend. Boyfriend, girlfriend. Ex-boyfriend." The sergeant repeated the question, and Gomez replied, "Boyfriend, girlfriend, ex-boyfriend." Then the officer asked, "Did the ex-boyfriend do this? Who did that?" and Gomez responded, "Ex-boyfriend." Gomez later died from the gunshot wounds. Martinez fled to Del Rio. On October 2, 1996, at around 6:00 p.m., he called 911 and gave a fake name, claiming that he was hearing voices telling him to kill and he needed medical attention. Del Rio officers were dispatched to Martinez's location, and he was taken to a hospital. Martinez's car was later found in Del Rio and searched. Forensic examination and microscopic analysis revealed that all of the bullets found at the crime scene were fired from the same nine millimeter gun. Testimony showed that the magazine clips for this type of gun were capable of holding fifteen bullets apiece. A search of Martinez's room in his mother's home revealed a gun box designed to house a nine millimeter gun. A gun belt appropriate for holstering such a gun was found in Martinez's car along with a switchblade. The gun was never found. UPDATE: In a rambling final statement, Martinez told relatives he loved them, then blamed one of his victims for the other three slayings. "I know what you've been told and that's all a lie," he said, looking toward the victims' relatives watching through a window. "John Gomez killed your kids and sister. I wish I would have shot him in the leg, then he would be here. Those investigators were just trying to convict somebody." He was recalling the slaying scene when prison officials, who warn condemned inmates they will have only a couple minutes for their final comments, began pumping in the lethal drugs. Nine minutes later, at 6:50 p.m. CST, he was pronounced dead. "I wouldn't have missed it," Jerry Fuentes, whose family was killed, said after watching Martinez die. "I wasn't going to miss this. The day I carried you to your final resting place, I vowed to see Virgil Martinez brought to justice for what he did," he said, referring to his family as he tearfully read a prepared statement. "Even though it's been 4,136 days since you've been taken from us, I've seen it through to the end. The wheels of justice have finally turned. Although the system is flawed, justice has been served." Fuentes called Martinez a liar for his comments from the death chamber gurney and said the prisoner was disrespectful to the Gomez family, some of whom also watched him die.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
January 29, 2009 Texas Gerardo Garcia  Ricardo Ortiz executed 

On August 17, 1997, Gerardo Garcia died in the El Paso County Jail of a heroin overdose. Dr. Juan Contin, the Chief Medical Examiner of El Paso County, conducted the autopsy. Contin found that Garcia died of "acute narcotism," caused by morphine (a byproduct of heroin) found in his body. The concentration of morphine in Garcia's blood was 523 ng/ml - a level that was three times higher than the average when compared to 76 deaths due to acute narcotism that had been investigated by Contin's office from January 1995 to September 1997. Contin found a single fresh needle mark on one of Garcia's arms but observed no needle track marks. In Contin's opinion, the absence of track marks meant that Garcia was not a heroin addict. A sheriff's detective found a syringe in the section of the jail in which Garcia was confined. At trial, two witnesses testified that the heroin overdose was involuntary - forced upon Garcia by Ortiz because Ortiz believed that Garcia had revealed Ortiz's role in some bank robberies. Mario Hernandez was in the same section of the jail as Garcia when he died. He testified that this particular section was known as the "Texas Syndicate tank" because it was set aside specifically to contain those associated with the Texas Syndicate. Mario was not a member of the Texas Syndicate but was placed in the tank because his cousin was a member. Mario had not known Garcia or Ortiz before meeting them in the Texas Syndicate tank. According to Mario, Ortiz was the "tank boss," meaning he exercised de facto authority over the other inmates in the tank because of his status with the Texas Syndicate. Ortiz controlled what inmates requested from the jail commissary and he dealt with jailers on behalf of the other inmates. When Garcia was brought into the tank, Mario saw Ortiz "freak." Mario overheard a conversation between Ortiz and Garcia in which Ortiz expressed great concern that Garcia had been caught for some bank robberies. Ortiz and Garcia argued about whether Garcia's capture was the result of being "snitched off" by Garcia's girlfriend or Ortiz's wife. Mario also overheard more than ten phone calls made by Ortiz in which Ortiz attempted to sell a trailer to get money to purchase heroin. Ortiz remarked that he wanted to bring heroin into the jail. Ortiz later succeeded in procuring heroin during visiting hours. Mario knew when Ortiz had obtained the heroin because Ortiz and another inmate were high on heroin when they returned from the visitor's booth. As a heroin addict, Mario could recognize when other people were high on the drug. On August 17, Ortiz and several other inmates called Garcia into one of the individual cells within the tank - cell number five. Mario explained that he was seated at a table in the tank's day-room about five feet away from the doorway of that cell and could see inside. He then described seeing the following sequence of events: Garcia was sitting on a bunk bed in cell number five. Ortiz handed another inmate some heroin. This other inmate dissolved the heroin into water and placed it into a syringe. The syringe containing heroin was handed to Ortiz. Ortiz then injected the heroin into Garcia, who did not look like he wanted to be injected. Almost immediately, Garcia began shaking from what appeared to Mario to be "overdosing." Ortiz noticed that Mario and another inmate not involved in the encounter had witnessed the events. Ortiz brought them heroin, and they injected themselves with it. He told them that Garcia had overdosed, that Garcia was stingy with the heroin and did it all, and that they were not to say anything about the incident. On cross-examination, Mario admitted that he did not actually see the heroin exchange hands before it was "cooked." Defense counsel showed Mario a sketch of the floor plan of the tank. This sketch was prepared by a detective several days after the murder. Defense counsel asserted that the sketch showed that Mario was not really seated at the day-room table closest to cell number five but was actually seated at a table further away. However, Mario explained that he did not draw the sketch himself, and that, while he signed it, the sketch was inaccurate in some respects, including placing Ortiz and Garcia in the wrong locations. On redirect, Mario explained that he could not really see the sketch while the detectives were drawing it, and he reiterated that he had an unobstructed view into cell number five from his seat at the day-room table. Finally, Mario testified that a photograph admitted as State's Exhibit 14 fairly and accurately depicted the view he had into cell number five; that photograph shows an unobstructed view into the cell. Hector Hernandez testified that he was not a member of the Syndicate but was a prospect Ortiz was trying to bring into the organization. Hector testified that he was in the Syndicate tank at the time of the incident in question and that Ortiz ran the tank. Hector heard Ortiz say that Garcia had snitched him out and was going to have to die. Initially, Ortiz planned to stab Garcia but later decided to overdose the victim instead, to make it look like a suicide. Ortiz told Hector that some heroin had been obtained through a visit, and Ortiz planned to use three "dimes" of heroin to kill Garcia. Three days before Garcia died, Ortiz said he was going to kill Garcia. Although Hector was not a heroin user, he used heroin the night of the murder because Ortiz told him to. In addition, Ortiz told Hector to lie about the incident by saying the heroin belonged to Garcia. Hector also testified that he was afraid of Ortiz, that he knew both Garcia and Ortiz, and that Garcia was not a heroin user. On cross-examination, Hector testified that Garcia indicated several times that he wanted to commit suicide because of the crimes he committed. Hector also testified that he had a deal with the State to testify but was told to say there was no deal. On redirect, Hector testified that no one told him that he had to testify in exchange for not being arrested. He further testified that he would be killed if he were incarcerated and that he testified earlier to having a deal because he was frightened of Ortiz. Hector also testified that his pending charge was due to an attempt to bring drugs into jail on Ortiz's orders. Louie Carreon, a detective with the El Paso Police Department, testified that Ortiz offered to give information on a bank robbery in exchange for help regarding a parole revocation warrant. Thomas Lott, a special agent for the FBI, testified that an ex-girlfriend of Garcia told the police that she believed that Garcia was involved in some bank robberies, that Garcia and Ortiz had counted money in her living room, and that Garcia had sold a vehicle to Ortiz. Law enforcement agents picked up Garcia, and he was identified by bank tellers in a photo lineup. While Garcia was being detained at the police station, Ortiz was brought near the area in which Garcia was located so that he could observe Garcia with law enforcement agents and be led to believe that Garcia was talking to the police. Special Agent Lott showed Ortiz a document indicating that Ortiz was a witness against Garcia and indicated that Garcia would know this. In reality, however, Garcia never cooperated with the authorities. James Nance, a sergeant with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, testified as an expert on prison gangs. Nance testified that Ortiz was the highest ranking member of the Texas Syndicate in El Paso that he was aware of. Given his high rank, Ortiz would automatically become a tank boss of any Texas Syndicate section, and he could even be able to order the death of someone in the tank. The defense presented some testimony about Garcia's desire to commit suicide. Yvonne Chavira, a former girlfriend of Garcia, testified that Garcia said he would kill himself if he were placed in jail again. During cross-examination, Chavira admitted that she had previously told lies to the authorities about Garcia. Doctor John Buscemi read a notation in a jail medical record that indicated Garcia felt suicidal at age 15. Alino Hernandez, a detention division commander for the El Paso Sheriff's Department, testified that a 1990 screening form contained a "yes" answer to the question of whether Garcia had ever attempted or seriously considered committing suicide. However, a 1993 form said "no," a January 1994 form had "no" checked but "yes" circled, an August 1994 form had "no" circled accompanied with a question mark, and the latest form, in 1997, simply had "no" checked. Finally, the defense attempted to impeach Hector's testimony through the testimony of his attorney, Donna Snyder. Snyder testified that Hector told her he had a deal with the State to "have a clean record and have a chance at a new life." But he expressed concern because it was his understanding that, if asked about it on the stand, he should testify that there was no deal. On cross-examination, the prosecutor showed Snyder a document filed in the clerk's office. This document stated that Hector would not be arrested and jailed for the drug possession case so long as he was a potential witness against Ortiz. The document also said that Hector was being housed as an out-of-state witness during the pendency of the trial, after which he would be returned to his originating state where his probation would resume. Snyder testified that the document did not seem consistent with what Hector had told her.  


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