Death Row

Texas Inmate, 67, Executed For Slayings 31 Years Ago

Jun 4, 2015
Courtesy: The Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE — A 67-year-old man convicted of killing four men more than three decades ago was executed Wednesday, making him the oldest of the 526 Texas prisoners put to death since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.

Lester Bower Jr. was convicted of the October 1983 fatal shootings at an airplane hangar on a ranch near Sherman, about 60 miles north of Dallas. Prosecutors say he killed the four after stealing an airplane he’d been trying to buy from one of his victims. “Much has been said about this case. Much has been written about this case. Not all of it has been the truth,” Bower, strapped to the death chamber gurney, said. “But the time for discerning truth is over and it’s time to move on.”

Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE — A Texas inmate was executed Tuesday for the killings of his 15-year-old girlfriend, her mother and her grandfather nearly 13 years ago in Houston.

Derrick Dewayne Charles, 32, became the seventh prisoner put to death this year in the nation’s most active capital punishment state. He was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. CDT, 25 minutes after being given the execution drug.

Asked by the warden if he wanted to make a final statement, Charles replied: “Nah. I’m ready to go home.” As the pentobarbital took effect, he took two breaths, yawned and then appeared to go to sleep. Six relatives of Charles’ victims witnessed the execution, but he made no eye contact with them.

The lethal injection was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments from Charles’ attorneys that he was mentally incompetent for execution and that they needed time and court-approved money for experts and investigators to pursue that claim. Another appeal argued Charles’ trial court also acted improperly by refusing to appoint psychiatric experts and investigators.

Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HOUSTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the appeal of a Salvadoran man on Texas death row for the slayings of two store clerks in Houston 15 years ago. The high court offered no explanation for its decision Monday in the case of 45-year-old Gilmar Guevara.

Lower courts have rejected claims Guevara’s legal help at his Harris County trial in 2001 was deficient and that his mental impairment made him ineligible for the death penalty.

Guevara was condemned for fatally shooting 48-year-old Tae Youk and 21-year-old Gerardo Yaxon during an attempted robbery in 2000.

Youk was from South Korea.

Yaxon was from Guatemala.

No money was taken from their store.

Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A San Antonio man convicted of killing with the officer’s own gun in a struggle 14 years ago is headed for execution.

No last-day appeals were in the courts as the lethal injection of Manuel Garza Jr. scheduled for Wednesday evening approaches.

Convicted Killer Of Dallas-Area Cop Set To Die Tomorrow

Apr 8, 2015
Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Kent Sprouse acknowledged almost immediately after he was apprehended that he fatally shot a police officer and another man outside a Dallas-area gas station convenience store.

The 42-year-old Sprouse now is facing lethal injection Thursday evening more than a decade after Ferris Police Officer Marty Steinfeldt and a store customer, Pedro Moreno, were gunned down about 20 miles south of Dallas.

Attorneys have filed no late appeals to try to block Sprouse’s punishment. The Boone County, Missouri, native would be the fifth Texas inmate executed this year. Courts turned aside earlier appeals contending Sprouse was mentally ill and should be spared from execution.

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