August 2012 Executions

Three killers were executed in August 2012. They had murdered at least 6 people.
Four killers were given a stay in August 2012. They have murdered at least 7 people.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 1, 2012 Texas Skyyler "Rome" Browne, 20 Marcus Druery stayed
On October 30, 2002, Marcus Druery went to Skyyler Browne’s apartment on the Texas State Technical College campus in Waco where both were students. Browne was commonly known by his nickname "Rome." Druery asked Rome to travel with him to Bryan; Rome hesitated but eventually agreed to go. Rome, who was known to have sold marijuana, took his cell phone, $400 to $500, his gun, and some marijuana. No one at the school ever saw him again. Druery later told a Texas Ranger that, after he and Rome had traveled from Waco to Bryan, they partied into the night, but Rome wanted to go home. Druery recounted to the Ranger that Rome called a girlfriend, and the girlfriend picked him up from the Contiki Club in an orange Cadillac. Law enforcement, however, was never able to locate an orange Cadillac. Joquisha Pitts and Marcus Harris told a different story. Pitts was Druery’s former girlfriend, and Harris was Druery’s younger friend who was still in high school. Pitts recounted at trial that she had known Rome for only a couple of days when she witnessed his murder. She accompanied Druery and Rome to the Contiki Club, and on the way, the group picked up Harris, as well as some ecstasy tablets and some embalming fluid, which is put on cigarettes and smoked to produce a high. Harris recounted at trial that this was his first meeting with Rome. Around 1:00 to 1:30 a.m., at Druery’s suggestion, Rome, Druery, Pitts and Harris left the Contiki Club to go to rural property owned by the Druery family. Pitts drove Druery’s car as Druery navigated because she had never been there before. Neither Pitts nor Harris was aware of Druery’s plans. During the drive to the country, Druery claimed that someone was following them, and he repeatedly asked Rome for his gun so he could shoot whomever it was. Rome refused. Once at the property, Druery unlocked the gate and drove the group the rest of the way to a stock pond. Using the vehicle’s headlights for illumination, each member of the group took turns shooting Rome’s gun at bottles they had thrown into the water. At this time, Druery called Pitts to the car and told her he was going to kill Rome, saying he wanted Rome’s "stuff." Pitts reminded Druery that Druery had a two-year-old son, and she ultimately believed that Druery was "just playing." After he shot the gun, Druery claimed that the ammunition had run out, and he returned to the driver’s seat of the car. Pitts saw that Druery was taking bullets from the car’s console, wiping them clean with a rag, and placing them in the pistol’s magazine. Druery then called Harris to the vehicle, telling him that he planned to shoot Rome, but Harris believed that Druery was "tripping" on embalming fluid that he had smoked. Druery then ordered both Pitts and Harris to sit in the car. Standing near the pond, Rome pulled his jacket or a hood over his head to block the wind as he attempted to light a pipe or cigar filled with marijuana. Druery skulked toward Rome under the cover of darkness, held the gun within six inches of Rome’s head, and fired. As Rome’s body fell, Druery fired a second shot into Rome’s neck, and then he fired a third shot into Rome’s body as it lay on the ground. Pitts and Harris began to cry and scream, and both saw Druery kneel over Rome’s body. Druery returned to the vehicle with Rome’s cellular phone, money, marijuana, and gun. He attempted to calm his hysterical companions by giving each forty dollars. Soon thereafter, Druery obtained some gasoline (perhaps with Harris’s assistance) and poured it on Rome’s body. He set it ablaze, and the three left as the body burned. During the drive, Druery instructed Pitts and Harris on how to respond to questions about Rome. He told them to say that Rome’s girlfriend picked him up in an orange Cadillac to take him to get his sister in Washington D.C. and that they didn’t see him again. The next day, Druery returned to the pond with Pitts and two others, burned the body a second time, and threw the body into the pond. Later, Harris assisted Druery in disposing of the murder weapon. Pitts eventually went to the police and told them that she was scared and wanted to get it off her chest. Harris told authorities that he thought he would die because he believed Druery would not want to leave any witnesses to the killing. During the penalty phase of the trial, the State introduced evidence of Druery’s: five prior marijuana possession charges; physically violent behavior toward a former girlfriend, which caused her severe injury; pointing a gun at another person in an aggressive manner when confronted about a coat; physically assaultive behavior toward a roommate; overly hostile and violent reactions in situations that angered or frustrated him; threats while displaying a knife to commit physical violence upon pawn shop employees who would not refund money for some merchandise; throwing a chair and table toward two people and swinging a mop at one of them, hitting her, in response to an allegation that he had a puppy he was calling "Cocaine" that did not belong to him; beating on a door, yelling that he wanted his CD’s and that he was going to kill someone; shooting a pistol while at a club on one occasion and a shotgun on another occasion; head-butting Pitts, hitting and kicking her, choking her, and threatening to kill her while she was his girlfriend; heavy drug use and his constant possession of weapons; breaking into an apartment where a gun was later found to be missing; chasing Pitts with a rifle when she refused to make him something to eat; threats to kill several people; threatening his father, grandfather, and grandmother with a hammer; attempts to kick down a door of a house because he wanted to use the phone; destroying property while an inmate at the county jail and making threats while at the jail that he was going to hurt someone; and in a letter sent from the jail containing his DNA where he wrote, "Shi+ if I saw him again before I came in here I would have 2 murder cases. Fu*k em all cause Im ball when I get out."
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 3, 2012 Missouri Jason Acton
Leon Egley
Michael Tisius stayed
Jason Acton, murder victim Leon Egley, murder victimIn June of 2000, Michael Tisius was an inmate at the Randolph County Jail in Missouri. Tisius’s sentence was thirty days. Tisius’s cellmate, Roy Vance, told Tisius that he was serving a fifty-year sentence. While incarcerated together, Tisius and Vance devised a plan in which Tisius would return to the jail and assist Vance with an escape plan. After his release, Tisius contacted Vance’s girlfriend, Tracie Bulington, who said that she wanted to carry out the escape plan. Bulington and Tisius visited the jail on several occasions. During some of these visits, Tisius carried a.22 caliber pistol that Bulington had taken from her parents’ home. On June 21, 2000, Tisius and Bulington decided to break Vance out of jail. Tisius told Bulington "he was going to go in and start shooting" and that he would go "in with a blaze of glory." At 12:15 a.m. on June 22, Tisius and Bulington arrived at the jail. Tisius and Bulington were admitted into the jail by Deputy Jason Acton and Jail Supervisor Leon Egley. Tisius had the pistol in his pants pocket. After making small talk for about ten minutes, Tisius drew the pistol from his pocket and, from a distance of two to four feet, shot Acton in the forehead. Officer Egley responded. Tisius shot him, Egley fell to the floor, and Tisius went to release Vance from his cell. Tisius could not open the cell and went to search for more keys. While Tisius was searching for keys, Egley, wounded and lying on the floor, grabbed Tisius’ leg. Tisius killed Egley by shooting him several more times. Tisius and Bulington fled in her automobile and were apprehended by police. Tisius waived his Miranda rights and offered oral and written confessions to the murders. At trial, Tisius admitted he shot the two officers, but argued that he did so without deliberation. Thomas Antle, told the jury Tisius fumbled with the key for several seconds after shooting Jason Acton and left the jail area soon after. Antle, who was 17 at the time and serving time for driving while intoxicated, said several more shots were fired after Tisius left the room. Eric Brown, also a former deputy now with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, told the jury about finding Egley, a cousin through marriage, gasping for air and gurgling in a pool of blood. He said the murder has affected his family in many ways, with Egley missing birthdays and other celebrations and even his wedding. “There is not a day that has occurred that I have not thought about it,” Brown said. “I think about it every time I go to work.” The jury convicted Tisius of two counts of first degree murder, and he was sentenced to death.
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 7, 2012 Texas Jerry Robert Williams, 21 Marvin Wilson executed
On November 4, 1992, Officer Robert Roberts and other police officers entered Marvin Lee Wilson’s Beaumont, Texas apartment pursuant to a search warrant. Jerry Williams was a confidential informant whose information enabled Roberts to obtain the warrant. Williams entered and left the apartment minutes before the police went in. Wilson, 34 years old at the time, Vincent "Gun" Webb, and a juvenile female were present in the apartment. Over 24 grams of cocaine were found, and Wilson and Webb were arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Wilson was subsequently released on bond, but Webb remained in jail. Sometime after the incident, Wilson told Terry Lewis that someone had “snitched” on Wilson, that the “snitch” was never going to have the chance to “to have someone else busted,” and that Wilson “was going to get him.” On November 9, 1992, several observers saw an incident take place in the parking lot in front of Mike’s Grocery. Two women were together in the parking lot. Another woman and her daughter were inside the store. A man was outside the store, but came in at some point to relay information to one of the women. The doors to Mike’s Grocery were made of clear glass, and one of the women stood by the door and watched the events outside. While the witnesses watched the events unfold, another called the police. These witnesses testified consistently although some witnesses noticed details not noticed by others. In the parking lot, Wilson stood over Williams and beat him. Wilson asked Williams, “What do you want to be a snitch for?   Do you know what we do to a snitch? Do you want to die right here?” In response, Williams begged for his life. Andrew Lewis, Terry’s husband, was pumping gasoline in his car at the time. Williams ran away from Wilson and across the street to a field. Wilson pursued Williams and caught him. Andrew drove the car to the field. While Williams struggled against them, Wilson and Andrew forced Williams into the car. At some point during this incident, either in front of Mike’s Grocery, across the street, or at both places, Andrew participated in hitting Williams and Wilson asked Andrew: “Where’s the gun?” Wilson told Andrew to get the gun and said that he (Wilson) wanted to kill Williams. They drove toward a Mobil refinery. Two of the witnesses drove back to their apartments, which were close by, and when they arrived, they heard what sounded like gunshots from the direction of the Mobil plant. Sometime after the incident, Wilson told his wife, in the presence of Terry Lewis and her husband, “Baby, you remember the n*****r I told you I was going to get? I did it. I don’t know if he dead or what, but I left him there to die.” When Terry looked back at her husband, Wilson stated, “Don’t be mad at Andrew because Andrew did not do it. I did it.” On November 10, 1992, a bus driver noticed Williams’ dead body on the side of a road. The autopsy report concluded that Williams died from close range gunshot wounds to the head and neck. Having known Wilson for 16 years, Zeno identified Wilson. Some of the witnesses recognized Jerry Williams but did not know Wilson or Andrew. One witness subsequently identified Andrew in a photo line-up. At that time, the witness told law enforcement authorities that the man he identified in the photo was the “helper,” rather than the primary actor. The other man, who the witness described as having a “gerry curl,” made the threats and conducted most of the beating of Williams. Under defense cross-examination at trial, the witness testified that the man in the photo (i.e. Andrew Lewis) was the man with the gerry curl and hence, the primary actor. But, upon redirect examination, the witness testified that his earlier testimony was in error, and that the man in the photo was not the one with the gerry curl. This contradiction led to questioning that explored an incident involving the witness, defense counsel, and Wilson. At one time, defense counsel and Wilson interviewed this witness together, while the man was in jail for an unrelated offense. No representatives of the district attorney’s office were present. Wilson asked the witness for his father’s name, and Wilson asked if the man had a new baby. These questions made the witness feel scared and intimidated, and he wondered how Wilson could have known about his new baby. Wilson had been convicted of committing two aggravated robberies in 1981. He receive a sentence of 8 years and was released on mandatory supervision less than 3 years later. In one of those aggravated robberies, he pointed a shotgun at the clerk of a convenience store. He was also convicted of robbery in 1987. For that crime he was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was paroled just over 3 years later, on January 31, 1991.  
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 8, 2012 Arizona Carlos Froyan Cruz-Ramos, 26
Kevin Swaney, 16
Daniel Cook executed
Kevin Swaney, murder victimOn July 19, 1987, Daniel Wayne Cook and John Eugene Matzke were living together in a two bedroom apartment in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Carlos Cruz-Ramos, a co-worker at a local restaurant, who recently had moved in with Cook and Matzke, slept on the floor. After Matzke returned from work that afternoon, Cook told Matzke that he knew Ramos had a lot of money and that he wanted to take it. At approximately 6:00 p.m., Cook suggested that Matzke take Ramos upstairs to show him the view from Matzke’s bedroom balcony. After Matzke and Ramos returned downstairs, Ramos discovered his money pouch was missing, and Cook suggested that Ramos look for the pouch upstairs. When Ramos went upstairs, Cook grabbed him, Matzke ripped up some bedsheets, and they tied Ramos to a chair in Cook’s bedroom. Cook punched and taunted Ramos before putting Ramos in Cook’s closet so that Cook and Matzke could look through Ramos’s other possessions. Ramos escaped from the closet, but Cook chased him down, took him back upstairs, and re-tied him to the chair. Cook and Matzke began beating Ramos with a metal pipe and a stick. Cook and Matzke also burned Ramos’s chest, stomach, and genitals with cigarettes. Cook cut Ramos’s chest with a knife, and Matzke put a bandage on the cut to stop the bleeding. At around 9:45 p.m., Matzke went to the Acoma Stop and Shop to buy beer. When Matzke returned to the apartment, he saw Cook sodomize Ramos. Cook also used a mini-stapler on Ramos’s foreskin, stapling it to the chair. Matzke asked Cook why he was torturing Ramos, and Cook replied, “I’m having fun.” At around 11:00 p.m., Matzke told Cook that they could not let Ramos go, and Cook responded, “Well, you can kill him at midnight; the witching hour.” Cook and Matzke continued torturing Ramos until midnight, then Matzke attempted to strangle Ramos with a sheet and the pipe. Matzke eventually placed Ramos on the floor, placed the pipe across Ramos’s neck, and stood on the pipe until Ramos’s heart stopped beating at around 12:15 a.m. After throwing Ramos’s body down the stairs, Cook and Matzke placed the body in Matzke’s closet. At around 2:30 or 3:00 a.m., Kevin Swaney arrived at Cook’s apartment. At first, Cook told Swaney to leave but then Cook asked Swaney to come into the apartment. Cook told Swaney that they had some drugs they wanted to get rid of, and pushed a couch in front of the door so nobody would come into the apartment. Then Cook and Matzke told Swaney about the dead body. Cook took Swaney upstairs to show him the body and, when they returned downstairs, Cook told Matzke to get bindings and a gag. Cook forced Swaney to take off his clothes, and Matzke and Cook tied Swaney to a chair. Matzke asked Cook what Cook was planning to do, and Cook said he was going to talk to Swaney. Matzke told Cook that if he was going to torture Swaney, Matzke did not want any part of it. Matzke went to the living room and fell asleep. At around 4:30 or 5:00 a.m., Cook woke Matzke. Swaney was still tied up and crying. Cook told Matzke that he sodomized Swaney so now they had to kill him. Cook took a sheet from around his neck and wrapped it around Swaney’s neck. Matzke and Cook each took one end of the sheet and pulled, but Matzke’s end kept slipping out of his hand. At that point, Cook said “This one’s mine,” put Swaney on the floor, and strangled him. Matzke and Cook took Swaney’s body up to Matzke’s room and placed the body in the closet. Matzke and Cook went back downstairs and slept. That afternoon, Matzke went to work for two and a half hours before quitting because he was concerned about what Cook would do if he was not there. When Matzke got home, he and Cook went to a bar and drank for several hours. At 10:30 p.m., they returned to the apartment and met Byron Watkins and other friends by the pool of their apartment complex. Cook and Matzke invited their friends into the apartment. The next morning, Matzke showed Watkins the bodies. Watkins convinced Matzke to go to the police. Matzke and Watkins went to the police department, and Matzke gave a videotaped confession. Officers responded to the apartment and arrested Cook at around 4:50 a.m. After Detective David Eaton gave Cook Miranda warnings, Cook said, “we got to partying; things got out of hand; now two people are dead.” Cook then said that “my roommate killed one and I killed the other.” He admitted to choking Swaney to death. After making those admissions, Cook refused to make any further statements. Matzke plea bargained his case and was released from prison in 2007 after serving a 20-year sentence. UPDATE: Kevin Swaney’s father Jim, who does not plan to attend Cook’s execution, has been keeping up with the latest developments and controversy surrounding the chemicals used for lethal injections in Arizona. “I’ve held my dog’s paws while it was being euthanized, and it was painless,” Jim said. “The perpetrators don’t deserve all this thought and consideration, and certainly not the millions and millions of dollars it has cost our taxpayers. “They didn’t give their victims anywhere near that kind of compassion.” Meanwhile, Kevin’s brother Bobby Swaney can’t help but wonder how many fond memories have been swiped away – things like sporting events, wedding days, graduations, and so much more. “It does bother me,” Bobby said. “He’s my brother. We should have so many more memories together.” Read more at Cook’s last words were: “I’d like to say sorry to the victim’s family. I know that’s not enough….…Where am I? To my lawyers, thank you. Red Robin, yum. I’m done. I love you.”
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 14, 2012 Oklahoma Cynthia Lynn Roggy Jarman, 23
Tonya Jarman, 5
Timmy Jarman, 3
Michael Hooper executed
Cindy, Tonya and Timmy Jarman, murder victimsMichael Edward Hooper met Cynthia Jarman in early 1992, and they dated through the summer of 1993. Their relationship was physically violent, and Hooper threatened to kill Cindy on several occasions. Cindy had called the police during their fights on more than one occasion. At one point, each had a victim’s protective order against the other. In July 1993, Cindy began dating Hooper’s friend, Bill Stremlow. Hooper bought a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol on July 15, 1993. During a traffic stop the next day the Oklahoma City Police Department [OCPD] confiscated the gun. The OCPD returned the gun on October 23, 1993, but kept the ammunition.   Hooper went target shooting with friends in fields northwest of Oklahoma City the day he bought the gun and after it was returned. He took the gun when he worked out-of-state in late October and November and refused a co-worker’s offer to buy it. A day or two before the murders, Hooper showed a 9mm pistol to a neighbor. In November, three weeks before the murders, Cindy and her children began living with Stremlow. He told Cindy that Hooper was not welcome in their home. Before moving in with Stremlow, Cindy told a friend that Hooper had previously threatened to kill her if she ever lived with another man. On December 6, 1993, Cindy confided in a friend that she wanted to be with Hooper one last time and then stop seeing him. On the morning of December 7, 1993, Cindy and her children dropped Stremlow off at work and Cindy borrowed his truck for the rest of the day. Cindy picked up her daughter, Tonya, at school at 3:30 that afternoon. At that time, Tonya’s teacher saw Tonya get into Stremlow’s truck next to a white man who was not Stremlow. Cindy failed to pick up Stremlow from work that evening as planned, and Stremlow never saw Cindy again. Cindy had Stremlow’s only house key and he had to borrow his landlord’s key to get in his house that night. Later that night, Stremlow’s truck was found burning in a field in northwest Oklahoma City. The truck’s windows were broken out. An accelerant had been used to set the truck on fire. Stremlow recovered the vehicle the next day. When Stremlow returned to his house, although there were no signs of forced entry, a dresser drawer was disturbed, a Jim Beam whiskey bottle was on the dresser, and ten dollars in cash was missing. Hooper’s fingerprints were later found on the Jim Beam bottle, and other evidence showed Hooper and Cindy drank that brand of whiskey. Cindy and her children were reported missing on December 9. Police attempted to interview Hooper; he failed to come to the station and denied seeing Cindy for the past six months. Hooper appeared nervous and had a fresh scratch on his arm. Also on December 9, an area rancher noticed damage to his gate leading to a northwest Oklahoma City field. Inside the field he found broken glass, tire tracks, a bloody sock and a pool of blood. After hearing the missing persons report, the rancher contacted police. The next day police searched the field and found broken glass, tire tracks, a footprint, shell casings, a child’s bloody sock, a pool of blood near a tree with a freshly broken branch, a blue fiber near the tree, and a shallow grave site covered by limbs, leaves and debris. The grave appeared to be soaked with gasoline. Tonya, Timmy and Cindy were buried atop one another. Each victim had been shot twice in the head or face. There was a hole in the hood of Tonya’s blue and purple jacket, and the white fiber lining protruded. A 9mm bullet pinned a white fiber to a branch on the grave. The branch appeared to have been broken from the tree near the pool of blood. The fibers were consistent with the white fibers in Tonya’s jacket. Although investigators never recovered the bullets, the wounds were consistent with nine millimeter ammunition. Police arrested Hooper and searched his parents’ home. The police recovered a nine millimeter weapon Hooper had purchased several months prior to the murders. Police also recovered two shovels with soil consistent with soil from the grave site, two gas cans, and broken glass consistent with glass found in Tonya’s coat and near the gate at the field. Police found a 9 mm bullet in Hooper’s pocket. Police officers also seized Hooper’s tennis shoes. The shoes made prints similar to those found at the murder scene, and DNA tests revealed the presence of blood consistent with Cindy’s blood on the shoes. At trial, a ballistics expert testified that shell casings from the crime scene matched casings fired from Hooper’s weapon. Hooper’s former wife testified that Hooper was familiar with the field where the bodies were found, and that he previously had visited the field with her on several occasions. Based on this evidence, the jury convicted Hooper of three counts of first degree murder. During the capital sentencing proceeding, the jury found two aggravating factors existed with respect to all three victims: (1) Hooper had created a great risk of death to more than one person, and (2) Hooper was a continuing threat to society. Additionally, the jury found a third aggravating factor existed with respect to Tonya Jarman: Hooper had committed the murder to avoid arrest or prosecution for the murder of Cynthia Jarman. After considering Hooper’s mitigating evidence, the jury imposed the death sentence for each count. UPDATE: It’s been almost 19 years since Barbie Jarman’s grandchildren were shot to death along with their 23-year-old mother, but she still has vivid memories of the children whom she described as so very, very precious. "The fact that they were murdered doesn’t lessen what they were to you,” Jarman said. “They still are very, very close to my heart. That doesn’t ever change.” For family members of the victims, Hooper’s execution will culminate a long journey that began with the trauma of learning about their violent deaths. “It’s not going to change what happened. But justice will be served,” said Diane Roggy, Cynthia Jarman’s mother and grandmother to her children. “The loss is still there. The pain never goes away,” said Cynthia’s sister, Renee Weber. “It will never be over, in my mind, until they close my casket,” Roggy said. Cynthia Jarman, a cosmetologist, “was just a beautiful person, full of life,” Weber said. “She was a very good mom. Timmy was a very bubbly little kid. He was just very playful,” she added. “Tonya was very smart.” The children’s uncle, Jeramy Jarman, said they “were amazing kids. These were my first experiences as an uncle. I was extremely proud. We had a lot of fun.” Jeramy Jarman said that after almost 19 years, he is ready for the case to come to an end. “This man is just an animal as far as I’m concerned." Read more here.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 15, 2012 Louisiana Mary Jean Thigpen, 4 Jason Reeves stayed
Mary Jean Thigpen, murder victimOn November 12, 2001, at approximately 3:15 p.m., the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office (CPSO) received a complaint of a suspicious vehicle at a school in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. The vehicle was described as a blue four-door, older model vehicle which may have been an Oldsmobile Cutlass. The driver of the vehicle, who was described as wearing a maroon t-shirt and blue jeans, was loitering in the parking lot of the school and conversing with two young female students. The complaint included the license plate number of the suspicious vehicle. A check on the license plate revealed that Jason Manuel Reeves was the owner of a blue Oldsmobile Cutlass, with the same license plate number, and that he had a criminal history of sexual offenses with minors. Shortly thereafter, at 5:02 p.m., the CPSO received a 911 call from the mother of a four-year old girl, Mary Jean Thigpen, who had disappeared from McFatter Trailer Park in Moss Bluff. The trailer park is located 3 miles from the school where the suspicious vehicle had been reported. The young girl’s mother told sheriff’s deputies that she had seen a suspicious, older model, blue vehicle circling the trailer park prior to the time she realized her daughter was missing. She also remembered a red sticker in the vehicle’s rear window. Carin Thigpen later identified Jason Reeves’ vehicle as the one she saw in the trailer park on November 12, 2001. That evening, CPSO deputies went to Reeves’ home and obtained permission from him, and his mother with whom he lived, to search his vehicle and home. After finding no evidence connecting Reeves to the missing girl, the deputies informed Reeves of his constitutional rights and asked him to go to the sheriff’s office for further questioning. Reeves agreed and followed the deputies in his own car to the CPSO because he did not know where the sheriff’s office was located. Reeves told the officers that he had finished work at approximately 3 p.m., purchased a drink at a gas station, and driven home, arriving at approximately 4 p.m. Judy Doucet, Reeves’s mother, told sheriff’s deputies that she specifically remembered her son arriving home around 5:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. Throughout questioning, Reeves continually denied any involvement with the missing girl. From the time Mary Jean was reported missing until sometime on November 13, 2001, individuals assisting in the search for Mary Jean recovered evidence from a creek located approximately 15 minutes from McFatter Trailer Park, near a wooden bridge on Charles Breaux Road. The victim’s mother identified a pair of a child’s white tennis shoes and a pair of girl’s purple pants as having been worn by Mary Jean at the time of her disappearance. On November 13, 2001, at 9:16 a.m., deputies obtained Reeves’ permission to obtain his bodily substances for testing, then transported him to a local hospital where the requested samples were obtained. A nurse collected blood samples, oral swabs, pubic hair combings and fingernail scrapings from Reeves. A physical examination of Reeves at this time showed scratches on the inside of his left upper thigh, on his nose, and on his arms. He also had abrasions on both knees. Around 11:40 a.m. on November 13, 2001, Reeves was placed under arrest on an outstanding warrant from another parish. At that time, Reeves was again informed of his constitutional rights, interrogated further, and then placed in the jail. During this interview, a detective made the statement that only two people knew what really happened to Mary Jean. Reeves replied, "Yeah, me and the good Lord." Despite making this statement, Reeves continued to deny involvement with the disappearance of Mary Jean On November 14, 2001, at approximately 11 a.m., deputies took Reeves from his jail cell to the detectives’ interview area where he was again Mirandized. Reeves continued to deny involvement with the missing girl but further details which had emerged in questioning were now preserved on videotape. While still maintaining he finished work around 2:30 or 3:00 p.m., he related that he had driven in the direction of the Chardele Trailer Park to visit his cousin, but turned around when he realized he did not know his cousin’s trailer number. Reeves then headed back in the direction of Moss Bluff, stopping at a convenience store to purchase a Mountain Dew soft drink. He claimed he traveled along a highway toward his grandfather’s house, but remembered en route that his grandfather would not be home. Reeves then claimed he turned around in the parking lot of a Moss Bluff school, speaking briefly to a woman there. He continued traveling and stopped along the way at McFatter Trailer Park to see an old friend, Kurt Leger, with whom he had worked offshore. He asked a group of children at the trailer park if they knew where his friend Kurt lived. Reeves then claimed his car overheated, so he waited for the vehicle to cool down before driving home, where he claimed to have arrived by 4:00 p.m. This statement concluded when lunch was brought to Reeves at 12:40 p.m. At approximately 2:30 p.m. on November 14, 2001, the body of Mary Jean Thigpen was found in a secluded area in some woods, 10-15 yards off a trail next to LeBleu Cemetery. The cemetery is located approximately 8.2 miles from McFatter Trailer Park. A Mountain Dew soft drink bottle was recovered approximately 25 feet away from where the body was found. The little girl’s body, clothed only in a purple shirt pulled up halfway and naked from the waist down, had been stabbed multiple times. Mary Jean was found lying on her back with her legs bent, with signs of sexual abuse evident. Before evidence was gathered or the body was touched, law enforcement officers videotaped the crime scene. Interrogation of Reeves began again around 8 p.m. Former FBI Agent Don Dixon confronted Reeves with photographs of Mary Jean’s body taken at the murder scene. As a pre-arranged strategy, Agent Dixon told Reeves that a latent print found on a palmetto leaf tied him to the murder scene. At 9:25 p.m., detectives began videotaping the interview, during which Reeves confessed to having the girl in his car and taking her to the cemetery. He walked with her into the nearby woods, where they sat down and watched a rabbit. Reeves whittled a piece of wood with his pocket knife. Reeves then claimed he blacked out and does not remember doing anything else to the little girl. The next thing Reeves remembers was walking toward his car parked in the cemetery’s parking lot, stopping at his sister’s grave, saying good-bye and that he was sorry. When he reached his car, he noticed his pants were unzipped and his knife was missing. Reeves had requested to speak with his mother. At 10:40 p.m., the videotape was stopped when Reeves’ mother arrived at the sheriff’s office. One of the detectives monitored Reeves’ conversation with his mother and heard Reeves say, "I did this thing. I don’t know why, but I did it." Thereafter, Reeves indicated that he wanted to finish the interview because his actions had hurt his mother and the victim’s family. Reeves was Mirandized again and continued his statement at 11:12 p.m. He expanded his earlier statements and acknowledged that he picked up Mary Jean to "go fool with her." He took her to the cemetery since the cemetery was a secluded place. After visiting his sister’s grave and becoming very angry, Reeves took Mary Jean to the woods and started touching her on her bottom. Reeves admitted he told Mary Jean throughout the encounter that he would bring her back home and other things in an attempt to calm her down. Mary Jean became upset and asked him to stop, which further angered Reeves, who was still wielding his knife. Although he claimed he did not remember taking off Mary Jean’s pants or assaulting her, Reeves acknowledged that he was the only person who could have stabbed her. Reeves hurried out of the cemetery, fearing that Mary Jean was not alive when he left her. He does not remember anything about disposing of her pants and shoes. He does remember driving home with dirt and possibly a light smear of blood on his arms. He rinsed off his arms with the outside hose before entering his house and seeing his mother, then took a bath. The statement concluded at 11:48 p.m. Reeves was subsequently arrested for aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder. On December 13, 2001, a Calcasieu Parish grand jury indicted Jason Reeves for the first degree murder of Mary Jean Thigpen. Specifically, the indictment states: "JASON MANUEL REEVES committed the offense of first degree murder in that he killed Mary Jean Thigpen, a female juvenile whose date of birth was March 25, 1997, with the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm upon Mary Jean Thigpen and was engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape and/or Mary Jean Thigpen was under the age of twelve years." At the guilt phase of this first degree murder trial, the state presented Reeves’ videotaped statements to the jurors and evidence discovered through investigation. A maroon t-shirt and jeans, which Reeves had worn on November 12, 2001, were seized from his house. Reeves’ mother had washed them before the police seized the items. A picture of Reeves’ vehicle, admitted into evidence, shows that the vehicle is a blue four-door, older model Oldsmobile Cutlass with a red sticker on the back window. Two girls from the Moss Bluff school testified Reeves tried to talk to them on November 12, 2001. One of the girls, and the after-care provider who spoke with Reeves that day, identified him as the person who had been at the school near where Mary Jean Thigpen disappeared. In addition, an off-duty Lake Charles city police officer testified that he saw Reeves at the cemetery at 4:40 p.m. on November 12, 2001. The officer, who was meeting with a confidential informant at the cemetery between 4:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., saw Reeves walking back to his car and leaving the cemetery parking lot. As Reeves drove right next to the officer in leaving the area, the two men came face-to-face with each other. The officer identified Reeves in court as the man he saw at the cemetery at 4:40 p.m. on November 12, 2001. The state presented testimony that a man-trailing dog identified the scent of the victim inside Reeves’ vehicle. The man-trailing dog also followed Reeves’ scent to a wooden bridge off Charles Breaux Road, under which the pants and shoes of Mary Jean Thigpen were found in a creek. At the cemetery, the man-trailing dog went toward the water, then toward the woods and over the fence from the cemetery to the area where there were wood shavings on the ground. From there, the dog went to the place where the victim was found. At that point, the dog started whining and crying, and refused to go further. At each location, the dog’s handler was given no information. The state presented expert testimony that the purple fibers from the victim’s clothing matched fibers of vacuumed debris evidence from Reeves’ vehicle. Hairs identified as dog hairs were found both in the defendant’s vehicle and on the victim’s clothing. During the recovery of evidence at the crime scene, maggots and an adult fly were recovered from the victim’s body. An entomologist estimated that eggs were laid on the victim’s body within one hour of her death and that the last time the eggs could have been laid considering their development was at approximately 5 p.m. on November 12, 2001. The coroner testified that the approximate time of Mary Jean Thigpen’s death was 4:30 p.m. The cause of death was found to be multiple incised stab wounds of the neck and trunk. Mary Jean Thigpen’s neck had been cut nearly two-thirds of the way around. In total, the victim had sixteen stab wounds, with fourteen on the front of her body and two on her back. Six of the stab wounds were in the area of the heart, while the heart itself was stabbed five times. The wounds to Mary Jean Thigpen’s heart and back occurred while she was alive, although the stab wounds around her liver and mid-section occurred following death. There were long scrapes along the entire length of the victim’s legs, which showed Mary Jean Thigpen could have been dragged along the ground. Injuries on Mary Jean Thigpen’s right hand were consistent with defensive wounds, showing that the little girl attempted to protect herself. Although she had been stabbed in the heart, the coroner believed Mary Jean Thigpen would have survived for some time and would have suffered throughout the attack. Mary Jean Thigpen’s body also showed she had been brutally sodomized while she was alive. Three visible scrapes and blood were visible on her anus. The forcible widening or opening of her anus was approximately three-fourths of an inch in circumference. Her body showed blue bruising around her bottom, which the coroner stated could only occur when blood is pumping and the victim is alive. Semen was found in the victim’s anus. An expert forensic analyst matched the semen obtained from a rectal swab of the victim to Reeves’ DNA profile. The expert testified the probability of finding the same DNA profile from another Caucasian individual other than Reeves was calculated as 1 in 256 trillion. After the state presented its evidence in the guilt phase, Reeves called, as a witness, an expert forensic psychologist, who testified as to his opinions regarding the reliability of Reeves’s confession. After deliberating, the jury unanimously found that the state had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Reeves committed the first degree murder of Mary Jean Thigpen. After allowing the statutorily-required time period to elapse, the penalty phase of the trial began. At the penalty phase, the state introduced Reeves’ prior criminal record, which included two juvenile adjudications for simple burglary and two adult convictions for indecent behavior with a juvenile, in 1996 and 1997, respectively. The victim of the 1996 conviction testified that when she was 15 years old, Reeves drove her in his truck to a park. He pulled her pants down as she struggled against him. She stopped his assault only when she bit Reeves on the shoulder so hard that he bled. The record of the 1996 conviction shows that Reeves’ victim was a 7 year old child. Further, the state presented testimony from another young girl who described her encounter with Reeves on November 8, 2001, four days prior to Mary Jean Thigpen’s disappearance and murder. She stated that she was 13 years old on that date. She was walking to the office at Moss Bluff Middle School near the end of the school day when Reeves, walking past her in the opposite direction, grabbed her bottom. She ran quickly to the school’s office to get help. The state also presented the testimony of Detectives Zaunbrecher and Primeaux of the CPSO. Both detectives testified that on December 10, 2001, Reeves had stated, in their presence, that he would not serve life in prison. While making a slitting motion across his neck, Reeves told the detectives that he would make them wish they had given him the death penalty if he did not get it. Reeves stated, "What are they gonna do, give me the—give me life in prison twice?" Further, Deputy Mandy Taggert, a CPSO transportation deputy, testified that Reeves told her that if he got out of jail, he would find another child and would kill again. Deputy Taggert stated that Reeves then began smiling and laughing after making that statement. The defense presented testimony from an expert in forensic psychology who asserted that Reeves suffers from major depression and mixed personality disorder, with borderline and anti-social personality traits. The defense expert testified that Reeves exhibits signs of dissociative amnesia stemming from chronic post traumatic stress disorder. The expert claimed that Reeves developed these disorders after witnessing his sister’s death and being sexually assaulted as a young boy. Additionally, another defense expert determined that Reeves has an aggressive attitude and is prone to verbal and physical aggression. That defense expert testified, further, that the defendant also exhibits emotional instability, volatile interpersonal relationships, anger, mood swings and impulsivity. The defense expert did not find Reeves to be psychotic, schizophrenic, delusional or prone to hallucinations, or otherwise suffering from a mental illness. The state’s forensic psychology expert countered that, from a psychiatric or psychological standpoint, he did not see a causative trigger which resulted in Reeves’ criminal behavior. He did not feel that Reeves’ actions in raping and murdering Mary Jean Thigpen were a result of a post traumatic stress disorder. Rather, the state expert asserted that Reeves possessed the ability to discern and appreciate right from wrong. The state expert also discounted the defense expert’s diagnosis of dissociative amnesia. According to the state expert, dissociative amnesia relates back to the traumatic events occurring previously in a person’s life rather than to current memory lapses. After deliberation, the jury unanimously recommended that Reeves be sentenced to death, finding the victim was under 12 years old; the murder was committed during the perpetration or attempted perpetration of an aggravated rape; and the offense was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner. After denying post-verdict motions, the trial court formally sentenced the defendant to death on December 10, 2004.

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
August 22, 2012 Texas Edward Mark Caylor, 17
Kai Brooke Geyer, 15
Steven Brady Watson, 15
John Balentine stayed
In the early morning hours of January 21, 1998, John Lezell Balentine armed himself with a.32 automatic pistol and walked several miles to the home he had shared with Misty Caylor until about a month earlier. He entered the home through a crawl-space that led to a trap door in a bedroom. Once inside the home, Balentine dicovered that his pistol had jammed so he went outside and fired the gun in an alley behind the house. Then he crawled in through a window, went to the living room and shot and killed three teenagers—Misty Caylor’s 17-year-old brother, Mark Caylor, Jr. and two 15-year-old boys, Kai Geyer and Steven Brady Watson. Each victim was shot in the head while asleep in the living room. A fourth person asleep in a back bedroom was not harmed. Balentine was angry with Mark Caylor because the two had argued earlier about Balentine’s physical abuse of Misty. A friend of the victims testified at trial that she and another girl arrived at the home around 3:15 pm on Jan. 21 at the request of one of the victims’ mothers and found the door open several inches. After entering the residence, she found the boys’ bodies in the living room. Misty Caylor, Mark Caylor’s sister and Balentine’s former girlfriend, testified that she lived with Balentine for a brief period, but the relationship soured. Balentine, she said, came back to her home to patch things up, but he beat her and another boy up after she would not renew the relationship. She also told jurors that Balentine threatened to harm her family and that her brother, in turn, said he would kill Balentine. Officials took only two days to issue an arrest warrant for Balentine, who became the primary suspect. But he couldn’t be found. Balentine initially fled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, but six months after the murders he was arrested in Houston. Almost six months to the day after the slayings, Houston police pulled over Balentine’s car for a faulty taillight. When Balentine gave a false name police recognized as one of the aliases used by the suspected killer, he was arrested and confessed to murdering the three teens. Balentine told authorities that he knew Mark Caylor, Jr., but did not know the identity of the other two boys whom he shot and killed. He was sent back to Amarillo on July 31, 1998. Balentine, originally from Arkansas, had previous convictions for burglary, kidnapping and robbery. Balentine was originally scheduled for execution in 2009, then again in 2011.

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