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.

SCN_0284Arnold Prieto, 41, is scheduled today to be the first person executed under Governor Greg Abbott. Arnold is a frequent contributor to the blog minutesbeforesix.blogspot.com, where you can learn about him in his own words. He is deserving of a commutation to life in prison, so call Gov Abbott and urge him to stop today’s execution:
(512) 463-2000.

by Arnold Prieto
September 10th, 2014 12:48am

Normally I would be fast asleep during these wee hours of the morning, but instead I find myself typing out my following thoughts to you. My night lamp is my only source of light, beaming down from its perch over my head on my shelf, while the silence is booming its loudness throughout this tomb all around me. I can hear someone’s radio so softly that it gets lost in the silence and making it sound so small compared to it …..

Count time will be called out within the next couple of seconds and the locking mechanism of the crash gate leading into the death watch section will break the silence with its loud metal on metal clanging sound. Soon, there will be a flash of light piercing our dark cages. Well, semi-dark in my case, as if a lightening bolt struck within our walls. The loud silence will once again reclaim its rightful place as the thundering of closing doors echoes out with the guards passing through the tomb with their infernal light.

Within that silence, I can hear the whooshing sound of Father Time’s heavy pendulum swinging with every passing second ….. tick.tick.tick.tick.tick.

txdrowTexas executed 805 people from 1930 through 2013, more than 300 more people than the second place state. If you only count the executions since 1977, considered the modern period, Texas leads by almost 400 executions.








Table 14. Executions, by jurisdiction, 1930–2013
Jurisdiction Since 1930 Since 1977

U.S. total 5,218 1,359
Texas 805 508
Georgia 419 53
New York 329 0
North Carolina 306 43
California 305 13
Florida 251 81
Ohio 224 52
South Carolina 205 43
Virginia 202 110
Alabama 191 56
Mississippi 175 21
Oklahoma 168 108
Louisiana 161 28
Pennsylvania 155 3
Arkansas 145 27
Missouri 132 70
Kentucky 106 3
Illinois 102 12
Tennessee 99 6
Arizona 74 36
New Jersey 74 0
Maryland 73 5
Indiana 61 20
Washington 52 5
Colorado 48 1
Nevada 41 12
Dist. Columbia 40 0
West Virginia 40 0
Federal system 36 3
Delaware 28 16
Massachusetts 27 0
Connecticut 22 1
Oregon 21 2
Utah 20 7
Iowa 18 0
Kansas 15 0
Montana 9 3
New Mexico 9 1
Wyoming 8 1
Nebraska 7 3
Idaho 6 3
South Dakota 4 3
Vermont 4 0
New Hampshire 1 0
Note: Statistics on executions under civil authority have been collected by the federal government annually since 1930. Excludes 160 executions carried out by military authorities be
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Prisoner Statistics Program (NPS-8), 2013.

Bureau of Justice Statistics
Table 14. Executions, by jurisdiction, 1930–2013
Report title: Capital Punishment, 2013 – Statistical Tables NCJ 248448

Rick-Perry-Texas-GovernorThe last execution under Rick Perry has been stayed because Perry will be out of the state next week. 279 people were put to death during Perry’s tenure as governor, including Todd Willingham, who was innocent.

Richard Vasquez had been scheduled for lethal injection Jan. 15. Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said Monday the state attorney general’s office requested the delay because the governor would be out of the state that day.

The first execution under incoming Governor-elect Greg Abbott is set for the day after his inauguration. Abbott takes office Jan 20, his first execution is Jan 21.

From KWTX.com:

The execution of a Corpus Christi man set for next week for the beating death of his 4-year-old stepdaughter nearly 17 years ago has been rescheduled for April.

Richard Vasquez, 35, was scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Jan. 15 for the March 1998 death of Miranda Nicole Lopez, but a state district judge in Nueces County reset the punishment for April 23 at the request of the Attorney General’s Office because the governor would be out of the state that day, Vasquez’s lawyer, Andrew Edison, said.

Vasquez contended the child fell from a stool in a bathroom while brushing her teeth and injured her head, but evidence showed she had suffered far more serious injuries.

Vasquez is among 13 Texas death row inmates set to die in the next several months, including three who are scheduled for execution later this month.

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.

Richard Vasquez’s January 15, 2015 date was STAYED on Jan 5 and reset for April 23.

519) Arnold Prieto, January 21, 2015   (First Execution Under Gov. Abbott)

520) Garcia White, January 28 ,2015

521) Robert Ladd, January 29, 2015

522) Donald Newbury, February 4, 2015

523) Lester Bower, Jr, February 10, 2015

524) Rodney Reed, March 5, 2015

525) Manuel Vasquez, March 11, 2015

526) Randall Mays, March 18, 2015

527) Kent Sprouse, April 9, 2015

528) Manuel Garza, April 15, 2015

529) Richard Vasquez, April 23, 2015

530) Robert Pruett, April 28, 2015

531) Charles Derrick, May 12, 2015

Photo By Jessica Kourkounis

Photo By Jessica Kourkounis

Evidence is mounting that an innocent man, Alfred Dewayne Brown, is on Texas death row for the killing of a Houston police officer, reports Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle (pay wall to read full article). Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson is considering whether to retry Brown. Falkenberg concludes, “Subjecting Brown to another trial would be a waste of time, precious time that could be spent pursuing the real killer and seeking overdue justice for a fallen hero that is long overdue”.

 

More from the Houston Chronicle:

 

Last month, an appellate court threw out Alfred Dewayne Brown’s conviction and death sentence because the DA’s office withheld key evidence at trial that supports Brown’s contention that he was home the morning of the robbery No physical evidence ever tied Brown to the crime. Nearly every witness who fingered him has recanted.

But what if there were another suspect, a legitimate suspect that mounting evidence suggested could have committed the crime instead of Brown? Wouldn’t we expect the district attorney to take a hard look before pursuing another weak case against Brown?

Of course. And records show there is such a suspect. His name is Jero Dorty. And the district attorney’s office has been aware of his potential role in Clark’s death for at least seven years.

In 2007, Brown’s writ attorneys with the firm K&L Gates named Dorty as a “critical suspect” and spent nearly 10 pages of an appeal laying out the reasons why. In 2008, Brown’s attorneys filed an emergency motion to test Dorty’s DNA. But prosecutors dragged their feet.

By late 2010, the law firm had amassed more evidence – phone records, witness statements and a sworn affidavit from one of the other men convicted in the 2003 crime – that led them to declare Dorty “the true perpetrator” in court papers. Attorneys sat down with Assistant District Attorney Inger Hampton to lay it all out in December 2010, according to recently obtained correspondence.

By then, though, Dorty had already been charged in another homicide, apparently resulting from a drug deal gone bad. Brown’s attorneys felt the new charge bolstered their case and urged prosecutors to take evidence linking Dorty to Clark’s death seriously.

“Mr. Dorty is a dangerous individual, with a record of using firearms to rob, harm and kill people,” Brown’s attorney wrote in a November 2010 letter to Hampton and other prosecutors. “Defense counsel has steadfastly asserted that Mr. Dorty, and not Mr. Brown, was responsible for the crimes committed on April 3, 2003.”

Dorty’s trial for the March 2009 drug deal killing ended in a hung jury. He pleaded guilty last year to felony possession of a weapon. Now 33, he is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

It’s not clear how closely the DA’s office investigated Dorty in the Clark case. Hampton and other prosecutors did not return messages. The DA’s spokesman said the office wouldn’t comment on a “pending” case.

Tyrone Moncriffe, who defended Dorty in the drug-related homicide, said the DA’s office contacted him at some point about the Clark case, but he didn’t remember when, and he wouldn’t provide details.

“They did make an effort to look into it,” Moncriffe said.

Mother’s love vs. evidence

Dorty’s mother strongly defended her son: “I can surely say that my son wasn’t involved with that,” Rita Dorty, said in a phone interview.

“Whatever it takes for Mr. Brown to save his neck, that’s his business,” the Houston retiree said. “Mr. Brown could put my name in it, but that doesn’t mean I’m in it.”

Dorty may have an air-tight alibi that I’m unaware of. But the evidence against him is certainly more powerful than anything the state has against Brown.

Only one month before officer Clark was killed trying to stop an armed robbery, Dorty was involved in a separate armed robbery, a crime for which he would be sentenced to five years in prison. Brown had no record of robbery.

The other two men convicted in the robbery that led to Clark’s death are Elijah Joubert, on death row for killing ACE clerk Alfredia Jones, and Dashan Glaspie, who testified against Brown and pleaded to a lesser charge. Both were known associates of Dorty’s, and according to jailhouse correspondence, Glaspie was a close friend.

Phone records show the three talked several times throughout the day Clark was killed, before and after the robbery, but not during it, perhaps because they were together.

Later that night, Dorty exchanged calls with a phone number in Galveston, where one witness said the perpetrators traveled to drop the weapon used in the robbery off a bridge.

Brown’s lawyers also obtained three sworn statements from witnesses, including two who said they had mistakenly identified Brown, rather than Dorty, in connection with the officer’s death because the two looked alike.

Joubert himself implicated Dorty as the third perpetrator, Brown’s attorneys wrote.

“Alfred Dewayne Brown was not involved in any way with the incident on April 3, 2003, nor present at the ACE check cashing store,” Joubert wrote in an affidavit. Brown’s lawyers said Joubert told them he and Glaspie had covered for Dorty because they had a strong friendship. Brown just knew them from an apartment complex where he hung out and once lived.

It seems that many people failed Brown in this case – from defense attorneys to prosecutors to savvy criminal acquaintances who sought to save their own skins. And many people failed Clark, whose friends and family believed the DA’s office brought the right man to justice in 2005 for the veteran police officer’s death.

Prosecutors’ old mistakes may have sent an innocent man to death row and left the real killer free to kill again.

Anderson wasn’t responsible for those mistakes. But as the current district attorney, she has a responsibility to correct rather than perpetuate them.

Subjecting Brown to another trial would be a waste of time, precious time that could be spent pursuing the real killer and seeking overdue justice for a fallen hero that is long overdue.

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