Upcoming Executions
Click for a list of upcoming scheduled executions in Texas.
Innocence
The death penalty puts innocent people at risk of execution.
Todd Willingham
Todd Willingham was wrongfully executed under Governor Rick Perry on February 17, 2004.
Updated May 16, 2013 The 500th execution in Texas is now on the schedule.  The 500th execution under the current schedule will happen on June 26, 2013 when Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled for execution. There may be stays or additions in the schedule that change the date of the 500th. Right now 497 people have been executed in Texas in the modern era.   We urge everyone in Texas and our friends worldwide to take action leading up to the 500th execution to let Texas know that it should stop executions with a moratorium and begin the process of repealing the death penalty.   Let us know if you plan any actions to protest 500 executions in Texas.   We originally posted this information on December 12, 2012, but because there have been more execution dates set, we updated the post on February 4 and again on May 9 to reflect the new date for the 500th execution.   Texas is nearing 500 executions in the modern era since the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty was constitutional. Texas conducted its first execution after the ruling in 1982.   To express your opposition to any execution, you can contact Governor Rick Perry's office at 512 463 2000. If you call after business hours, you can leave a voice mail message. During business hours, someone should answer the phone. You can also send a message using a form on Perry's official website.   498) Jefferey Williams, May 15, 2013   TDCJ Info on Williams   499) Elroy Chester III, June 12, 2013   TDCJ Info on Elroy Chester   500) Kimberly McCarthy, June 26, 2013   TDCJ Info on McCarthy   501) Rigoberto Avila Jr July 10, 2013   TDCJ Info on Avila   502) John Quintanilla Jr. July 16, 2103   TDCJ Info on Quintanilla   503) Vaughn Ross, July 18, 2013   TDCJ Info on Ross   504) Douglas Feldman, July 31, 2013   TDCJ Info on Feldman   505) Robert Garza, September 19, 2013   TDCJ Info on Garza   506) Arturo Diaz September 26, 2013   TDCJ Info on Diaz  
63.4% of the people killed on this chair were African-American, 29.9% were white, 6.4% were Hispanic, 1 person was classified as "other". The Texas electric chair in which 361 people were executed between 1924 and 1964. It is now housed in The Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville. 16mm film with a Bolex camera. www.texasmoratorium.org
Texas executed 15 people in 2012, two more people than in 2011. 73 percent of the people Texas executed in 2012 were people of color, seven African-American and four Hispanics. There were four white people executed by Texas in 2012. Five people were executed from Dallas County, two from Bexar County, two from Montgomery County, one from Harris County, one from Gregg County, one from Polk County, one from Cherokee County, one from Jefferson County and one from Tarrant County. Since December 7, 1982, the state of Texas has executed 492 people. There have been 253 executions in Texas since Rick Perry took office in December 2000. 2011 saw the lowest number of executions in 15 years dating back to 1996. The highest number of executions was 40 in 2000. So far, 9 people have been sentenced to death in 2012 in Texas - one more than in 2011. New death sentences have declined from their high in the late 90s. In 1999, there were 48 people sentenced to death. Harris County, where Houston is located, did not send anyone to death row in 2012. After three convictions and death sentences, all of which were at least partially overturned on appeal, the Harris County District Attorney's Office announced in August 2012 that it would drop efforts to execute Anthony Pierce, who had been on death row since 1978. 88.8 percent of the nine new death sentences handed out in 2012 in Texas have been given to people of color. Of the nine people sentenced to death so far in Texas in 2012, seven are African-American, one is Hispanic and one white. One of the nine persons is a woman. The number of new death sentences has declined over the last several years in large part because people who serve on juries are increasingly choosing life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty, because members of juries have read about so many mistakes in the system when innocent people have been convicted only to be exonerated years later. Cathy Henderson, who has been on death row in Texas for 17 years, was granted a new trial in 2012. The trial court said in its ruling in May that she "has proven by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have convicted her of capital murder in light of her new evidence".  Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg has said she will retry Henderson. In September, Texas executed Cleve "Sarge" Foster who had received three previous stays of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court. Read a report from Gloria Rubac, who was with Foster's family in Huntsville on the day of the execution. John Balentine received a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court in August 2012, less than an hour before he was due to be put to death in Texas. Balentine argued he deserved a reprieve because an ineffective trial lawyer failed to present mitigating evidence, such as emotional problems and a difficult upbringing, that could have led to a life sentence. Two people on death row died in custody in 2012: Santos Minjarez from San Antonio died Jan. 14, 2012 in Galveston, six days after he was transferred from death row. The cause of death was septic shock and multiple organ failure.  Selwyn Davis of Austin was found dead in his death row cell on July 20, 2012 of suicide. More than three decades after he was sent to death row, Delma Banks Jr. in 2012 agreed to accept a life sentence for the 1980 slaying of acquaintance Richard Whitehead – a murder he has long maintained he did not commit. Banks, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury of the slaying of 16-year-old Whitehead (white) near Nash, Texas, in 1980. After 12 years of organizing and lobbying by ordinary grassroots Democrats across the state as well as by exonerated former death row inmates, the Texas Democratic Party has adopted a platform that calls for repealing the death penalty in Texas. "Democrats Against the Death Penalty", which was formed by members of Texas Moratorium Network in 2004, held a meeting at the TDP State Convention in June 2012. Watch a powerful video of Clarence Brandley, an innocent man who spent ten years on Texas death row for a crime he did not commit, speaking at the meeting of “Democrats Against the Death Penalty” on June 8, 2012 at the Texas Democratic Party State Convention in Houston. In July, the Austin Human Rights Commission passed a resolution calling for Texas to repeal the death penalty and for a statewide moratorium on executions. In July, Texas changed to a one drug method to carry out executions instead of its previous three-drug method, because of short supply in drugs that was caused by pressure on drug companies from people in the drugs producing countries who are opposed to executions. In October, Todd Willingham’s family officially requested a pardon for him from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry. No action has yet been taken on the request. According to KTBC in Austin, hundreds of people rallied at the Texas Capitol at the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on November 3, 2012. Three death row survivors from Witness to Innocence attended the march, including Ron Keine (watch video).        
Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg must decide now whether to retry death row inmate Cathy Henderson or drop the charges after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with a lower court that she should be granted a new trial. From the Austin Chronicle: In an opinion delivered this morning, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals says Cathy Lynn Henderson should be granted a new trial in the 1994 Travis County murder of three-month-old Brandon Baugh.
Henderson was convicted and sentenced to die for Baugh's murder. Henderson was babysitting Baugh at her Pflugerville-area home when the baby died. Instead of calling for help, Henderson took off with Baugh's body and buried him in a field in Bell County before fleeing to her native Missouri.
Just released by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals:
IN THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
   
OF TEXAS
 

 
NO. AP-76,925
 
 
EX PARTE CATHY LYNN HENDERSON
 
   
 
ON APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
 
CAUSE NO. 94-2034 IN THE 299TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT
   
TRAVIS COUNTY
   
  Per Curiam. Price, J., filed a concurring opinion. Cochran, J., filed a concurring opinion in which Womack, Johnson, and Alcala, JJ., joined. Alcala, J., filed a concurring opinion. Keasler, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Keller, P.J., and Hervey, J., joined. Hervey, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Keller, P.J., and Keasler, J., joined. Meyers, J., not participating.  
OPINION
  This is a subsequent application for writ of habeas corpus in a capital case, in which applicant asserted that she has newly available evidence that: (1) shows that she is innocent of capital murder; and (2) but for constitutional errors, she would not have been found guilty. On June 11, 2007, we found that the application satisfied the requirements for a subsequent writ under Article 11.071, Section 5, and remanded the application to the trial court for further proceedings. We will grant relief and remand the cause for a new trial. In accordance with our remand order, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing. Applicant presented the testimony of six expert witnesses. Relying on new developments in the science of biomechanics, these witnesses testified that the type of injuries that Brandon Baugh suffered could have been caused by an accidental short fall onto concrete. Dr. Roberto Bayardo, the medical examiner who testified at trial that applicant's position that Brandon's injuries resulted from an accidental fall was false and impossible, testified at the evidentiary hearing that he now believes that there is no way to determine with a reasonable degree of medical certainty whether Brandon's injuries resulted from an intentional act of abuse or an accidental fall. The State presented five expert witnesses who testified that, notwithstanding the studies cited by applicant's experts, it was very unlikely that Brandon's injuries were caused by an accidental short fall onto concrete. Following the evidentiary hearing, the trial court recommended granting a new trial. The court found that all of the expert witnesses were truthful and credible. The court further found that Dr. Bayardo's re-evaluation of his 1995 opinion is based on credible, new scientific evidence and constitutes a material exculpatory fact. The trial court concluded that applicant has proven by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have convicted her of capital murder in light of her new evidence. In post-conviction habeas corpus review, this Court is the ultimate fact finder, but the trial judge is the original fact finder. As a matter of course this Court will defer to and accept the convicting court's findings of fact and conclusions of law, as long as they are supported by the record. This is particularly true in matters concerning the weight and credibility of the witnesses and, in the case of expert witnesses, the level and scope of their expertise. In this case, the trial court's findings of fact are supported by the record. Although we need not accept the trial court's conclusions concerning actual innocence, we accept the court's recommendation to grant relief and remand for a new trial. Delivered: December 5, 2012 Publish
Here is a Thanksgiving story to make your day. Kenneth Boyd Jr of Center Texas learned before Thanksgiving that he finally has something to be thankful for after 15 years in prison for three murders he did not commit. He will likely be released Monday. He was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison despite the fact that there was no physical evidence linking him or any of his co-defendants to the murders. In June, Shelby County 273rd District Court Judge Charles Mitchell found that former Shelby County District Attorney Karren Price had suppressed evidence. Boyd’s mother suffered a heart attack Thursday, said Boyd's lawyer Gena Bunn. His mother is in stable condition in a Tyler hospital. From the CCA ruling: "in light of the newly discovered and newly available evidence presented by Applicant and its probable impact on the State’s case as a whole, the trial court concludes that Applicant has proven by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have voted to convict him." More from the News-Journal in Longview Texas:
After more than 15 years behind bars, an East Texas man is set to be released from prison following the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that he was wrongfully convicted of a triple homicide in Shelby County. Gena Bunn, an attorney with the Holmes and Moore law firm of Longview, represented Kenneth Boyd Jr., of Center in his appeal, overturning a life sentence that was handed to him in 1999. He spent two years before then, after being charged in the 1997 homicides. “He was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison despite the fact that there was no physical evidence linking him or any of his co-defendants to the murders,” Bunn said. Shelby County District Attorney Ken Florence agreed to allow Boyd out of jail on a personal recognizance bond. He was expected to be released late Monday afternoon. Florence reopened the investigation after Bunn filed the appeal in April. Bunn said it is possible the case against Boyd could be dropped completely. Boyd was convicted in 1999 of the April 1997, murders of Keith Moore, 25, Christy Calhoun, 13, and Brian Keith Brooks, 26. Bunn said none of the weapons linked to Boyd matched evidence found at the scene; none of the fingerprints recovered at the crime scene matched Boyd; a search of his car did not reveal any evidence tying him to the crime; there was no eyewitness testimony identifying him as the shooter; and Boyd passed a polygraph exam conducted after he became a suspect in the case. The state’s case in 1999 consisted “essentially of a pair of jailhouse snitches who testified that Boyd confessed to them,” Bunn said. Both of those people have since recanted their testimony, she said. A few other witnesses — “many, if not all of whom, were high on crack cocaine or other substances” — also testified they saw Boyd about two and a half miles from the crime scene on the night of the murders, she added. Bunn was appointed to the case two years ago. “Seeing it and getting more and more involved in the case, it was striking and troubling to me what a grave injustice this was,” Bunn said. In June, Shelby County 273rd District Court Judge Charles Mitchell found that former Shelby County District Attorney Karren Price had suppressed evidence. She said other suppressed evidence included letters sent from witnesses to Price contradicting their trial testimony, offense reports indicating a different person was responsible for the murders, and information that another witness had failed a polygraph exam regarding his involvement in the murders and was then offered a deal with the state for his testimony against Boyd. “He also found that Price had knowingly presented false testimony against Boyd,” she said. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled on Wednesday that Boyd should be released back to Shelby County. “The opinion that came out last week gave me a better view of the system,” Bunn said. “Even though justice was delayed, he is getting released now. Better late than never.” Boyd’s mother suffered a heart attack Thursday, Bunn said. She is in stable condition in a Tyler hospital. “I worked very hard on this case for the last couple of years but that woman has really stayed on it throughout,” Bunn said. “She insisted that Kenny get a lawyer to handle the appeal, and she made sure he did get a lawyer. If it hadn’t been for her, these injustices still might not have come to light.” Bunn said when Boyd, who is now in his late 30s, heard the news, he was almost speechless. “He said, ‘I just don’t know what to say,’” Bunn said. Florence was cooperative and expedited the release process, Bunn said. “He has shown a lot of class in the way he handled the case until now,” she said. Bunn said she hopes the community will be supportive and help Boyd transition smoothly from prison back into society. “I think for somebody who’s been in prison for 15 years for a crime that I believe he did not commit, then to come out into free world, he’s going to have a lot of challenges,” Bunn said. “I hope the community can help him.”
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