Thursday, June 20, 2002


Traveling the good ole USA and technical problems sidelined DME for the past month....But the hangman waits for no one. In that time, five miscreants were ejected from this mortal coil. This is their dining stories....

The Party of Five....
5/22 Johnny Martinez--Texas
5/28 Napoleon Beazley--Texas
5/30 Stanley Baker Jr.--Texas
6/12 Walter Mickens--Virginia
6/13 Daniel Reneau--Texas

Johnny Martinez
Last Meal: NONE

The Skinny: Johnny Joe Martinez, sentenced to death for the 1993 killing of a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk, was executed Wednesday evening in the death chamber of the Huntsville "Walls" Unit.

Last Words: During his lengthy, rambling final statement, Martinez told his family and friends he loved them. "Tell mama I love her too," he said. "I didn't call her because I just couldn't." Martinez also apologized to the father of Clay Peterson, the 7-Eleven clerk he murdered the night of July 15, 1993. "I am sorry," he said simply, then proceeded to criticize his original lawyers for permitting his execution. "My trial lawyers - they are the ones that are killing me," he said. "I know I'm fixing to die, but not for my mistakes. I'm dying for the mistakes of my lawyers." Speaking to his current lawyer, Martinez said, "David Dow, let them know what happened. "I am fine; I am happy," Martinez said to his family just before the lethal combination of chemicals was started at 6:18 p.m. "I will see you on the other side."

The Crime: On the night of July 15, 1993, the then 20-year-old Martinez visited a 7-Eleven store in Corpus Christi twice in the early morning hours of July 15, 1993. During his first visit around 3 a.m., Martinez used the store's restroom and shoplifted several items. After returning to his friend's car, he noted how easily it would be to rob the store. Twenty minutes later, Martinez returned. Once in the store, he pulled out a pocketknife, put it to Peterson's throat and demanded money. Peterson complied with Martinez's demands and gave him the money in the store's cash register. Martinez then proceeded to stab Peterson at least 10 times, including twice in the neck. Peterson also sustained several scratches to his neck and wounds to his hands.

Peterson, though having been stabbed twice in the jugular vein, was able to call 911 and report the attack to police before losing consciousness. Martinez's friend, having seen what was happening inside the store, fled the scene in his car. Left on foot with police approaching the scene, Martinez fled to a nearby motel. He then called the police and admitted to the crime, though he said he had killed Peterson because he had resisted his demands.

The entire sequence of events was caught on the store's security camera and disproved Martinez's claim. Arraigned on capital murder charges the same day, Martinez pleaded not guilty in the 347th State Judicial District Court. The trial began January 24, 1994, and concluded with Martinez being found guilty of the charge just two days later. The next day, the jury assessed a punishment of death for the crime.

Napoleon Beazley
Last Meal: NONE

The Skinny: Napoleon Beazley, who gained worldwide attention for killing a Tyler man when he was 17 years old, was put to death Tuesday evening in the death chamber at the Huntsville "Walls" Unit.

Beazley was convicted and sentenced to death for the April 19, 1994, killing of 63-year-old John Luttig. Beazley, who was his high school's class president and a standout athlete, shot Luttig twice in the head from nearly point blank range while trying to steal his Mercedes Benz. Beazley had previously told friends he wanted to "jack a car" and find out what it was like to murder someone.

On April 18, 1994, the day before Luttig's murder, Beazley told his friend Cedric Coleman - who would be an accomplice in the crime - that he wanted to "jack a car." On April 19, he told a friend at school that he "might be driving a (Mercedes) Benz soon."

That night, Beazley borrowed his mother's car and drove with Coleman and his brother Donald to Tyler. On the way to Tyler, Beazley repeated his intention to steal a car and said he wanted to find out what it was like to kill someone. As they entered Tyler, Beazley spotted a 1987 Mercedes driven by Luttig. Luttig and his wife Bobbie were returning from a trip to Dallas when they passed Beazley and the Coleman brothers.

The trio followed the Luttigs to their house, at which time Beazley stripped off his shirt and ran towards the car. Donald Coleman followed him, carrying a sawed-off shotgun. Beazley opened the driver's side door and fired one shot with his pistol, hitting Luttig in the head but not killing him. He then fired at Mrs. Luttig and missed. Bobbie Luttig then played dead on the ground, hoping that Beazley and Coleman would think the shot fired by Beazley had hit her.

Beazley then returned to John Luttig and shot him again in the head, killing him instantly. He then asked Coleman if Mrs. Luttig was dead, to which he replied that she was still moving.

"Shoot the (expletive)," Beazley said. Coleman then said she had stopped moving and was dead.

Beazley obtained his objective - the Mercedes - but only for a short time. He quickly ran into a retaining wall and was forced to abandon it. Beazley rejoined the Coleman brothers and returned to Grapeland. A few days later, Beazley told a friend in conversation that he had committed the crime and was arrested a short time later. When asked by his father if he had indeed killed Luttig, Beazley said he had.

"It was a trip," he said.

Notes: In spite of a flood of e-mails and letters of protest from anti-death penalty activist groups, only two dozen protesters were outside the "Walls" Unit as Beazley's sentence was carried out. These protesters, in turn, were faced with a similar number of reporters and cameramen documenting their every move.

Last Words: Beazley was asked if he had any last words. Beazley, who had written out a final statement in advance, turned his head and looked into the room holding the witnesses and two members of the media. "No," he said simply, shaking his head. He then looked back up at the ceiling and shut his eyes.

Beazley did, however, have a lot to say in his page-long written statement, released to the media after the execution.

The complete text of Beazley's final statement:


The act I committed to put me here was not just heinous, it was senseless. But the person that committed that act is on longer here - I am.

I'm not going to struggle physically against any restraints, I'm not going to shout, use profanity, or make idle threats. Understand though that I'm not only upset, but I'm saddened by what is happening here tonight. I'm not only saddened, but disappointed that a system that is supposed to protect and uphold what is just and right can be so much like me when I made the same shameful mistake.

If someone tried to dispose of everyone here for participating in this killing, I'd scream a resounding, "No." I'd tell them to give them all the gift they would not give me ... and that's to give them all a second chance.

I'm sorry that I am here. I'm sorry that you're all here. I'm sorry that John Luttig died. And I'm sorry that it was something in me that caused of this to happen to begin with.

Tonight we tell the world that there are no second chances in the eyes of justice ... Tonight, we tell our children that in some instances, in some cases, killing is right.

This conflict hurts us all, there are no SIDES. The people who support this proceeding think this is justice. The people that think I should live think that is justice. As difficult as it may seem, this is a clash of ideals, with both parties committed to what they feel is right. But who's wrong if in the end we're all victims?

In my heart, I have to believe that there is a peaceful compromise for our ideals. I don't mind if there are none for me, as long as there are for those who are yet to come. There are a lot of men like me on death row - good men - who fell to the same misguided emotions, but may not have recovered like I have.

Give those men a chance to do what's right. Give them a chance to undo their wrongs. A lot of them want to fix the mess they started, but don't know how. The problem is not in that people aren't willing to help them find out, but in the system telling them it won't matter anyway.

No one wins tonight. No one gets closure. No one walks away victorious.

Stanley Baker Jr.
Last Meal: A former employee of the Winn-Dixie supermarket in Bryan, Baker's final meal request would have filled a shopping cart. Two 16 oz. ribeyes, one lb. turkey breast (sliced thin), twelve strips of bacon, two large hamburgers with mayo, onion, and lettuce, two large baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, and chives, four slices of cheese or one-half pound of grated cheddar cheese, chef salad with blue cheese dressing, two ears of corn on the cob, one pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and four vanilla Cokes or Mr. Pibb

The Skinny: Stanley Baker Jr., convicted for the 1994 killing of a College Station man and sentenced to death by a Brazos County jury, was executed Thursday evening in the death chamber of the Huntsville "Walls" Unit.

Fashion Note: Baker, 36, was dressed in a red button-down shirt as opposed to the normal prison whites that most inmates wear. His closely cropped hair was graying at the temples, and he was wearing Coke-bottle glasses.

Last WordsL At 6:09 p.m., Baker was asked if he had any last words.

"Well, I don't have anything to say, so let's go," he said.

When warden Neill Hodges asked Baker if he was sure, he said, "I'm just sorry about what I did to Mr. Peters. That's all."

In his final statement, Baker misidentified his victim. One problem: Baker was put to death for killing 44-year-old Wayne John Walters on Sept. 28, 1994.

The fatal dose of chemicals was started at 6:10 p.m.

"My arms are cold," Baker said. "There's some pain in my left arm. I guess that's from the poison."

Baker then suddenly coughed twice, wheezed, and was silent. He was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m.

Baker, the 15th person executed in Texas this year, gained some international attention due to his place of birth. The son of a member of the U.S. Air Force, Baker was born in Paris while his father was based there. Formal requests for clemency from members of the French government and the European Union were sent to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but were rejected. Fewer than 10 protesters were outside the "Walls" Unit as Baker was executed.

On the night of Sept. 28, 1994, Baker was walking down Texas Avenue in College Station with a shotgun. He had recently quit his job at Winn-Dixie after writing an obscenity-filled letter of resignation. Baker said he walked into the adult video store located near the Texas A&M University campus to get out of the heat. Walters was the only person in the building when Baker entered.

Baker produced a shotgun and took Walters' car keys without resistance. Baker then shot Walters three times, including once in the back of the head as Walters lay face down on the floor. Walters was killed instantly. Baker stole between $40 and $50 from the store's cash register.

During the robbery, Baker split his lip and broke one of his front teeth when the shotgun recoiled and hit him the face.

Baker took Walters' pickup truck and attempted to flee the area. He was able to successfully leave Brazos County, but was apprehended in Bastrop by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper. Baker still had blood on his shirt from his split lip.

When the DPS officer took Baker into custody, the murder weapon, ammunition, a brass knuckled stiletto, a bulletproof vest, a garrote, and some survival gear were recovered.

Authorities also discovered a notebook in which Baker had written his goals for the year. One caption which read: "30+ victims dead. 30+ armed robberies. Steal a lot of cars."

Baker told DPS troopers that he had intended to kill not only Walters, but anyone else who was in the store when he entered.

Baker was indicted on a capital murder charge Oct. 27, 1994, with the trial starting in July 1995. During the trial, the prosecution produced evidence which documented Baker's weapons stash and his writings which exhibited a hatred towards gays, blacks and former President Bill Clinton. They also introduced evidence of Baker's plans to go on a killing spree similar to one by Charles Whitman, who shot 16 people with a high-powered rifle from the clock tower on the campus of the University of Texas in 1966.

Walter Mickens
Last Meal: Mickens chose nothing special. He was served what the rest of the population at Greensville had - baked chicken, rice and carrots. He ate only the chicken.

The skinny: Walter Mickens Jr. was executed by injection last night at the Greensville Correctional Center for the 1992 slaying of a 17-year-old boy. Mickens, who sexually assaulted Timothy Jason Hall and stabbed him 143 times. Any one of 25 wounds could have been fatal.

Last Words: In his last statement, Mickens said, "I would just like to say in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and Jesus' name, I forgive Gov. Warner for his decision and whoever I may have hurt or caused harm to, I pray that you can forgive me. I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused. And to all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I wish you well."

Notes: A handful of capital punishment opponents gathered in a field outside the prison. As darkness fell, they held a candlelight vigil in protest of the execution.Meanwhile, about a dozen protesters gathered in a field outside the prison. Fighting off mosquitoes as the sun set, the group gathered around several candles and prayed.

Norfolk resident Laura Stowe has been writing Mickens for several months. She said she received religious letters from him filled with poems and drawings.

"They were very childlike," said Stowe, a member of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. "Nothing of any depth."

Mickens was the third killer executed this year in Virginia and the 86th since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed resumption of the death penalty in 1976.

Mickens had been on death row longer than any current Virginia inmate was executed Wednesday for the killing of a teenager in 1993.

Daniel Reneau
Last Meal: One tray of French fries with salt and ketchup, one tray of nachos with cheese and jalapenos, one cheeseburger with mustard and everything, and one pitcher of sweet tea

The Skinny: Daniel Reneau, a 27-year-old construction worker, was executed Thursday evening for killing a Kerrville convenience store clerk during a robbery more than six years ago.

Reneau had no final statement. As the drugs began flowing, he looked at Chaplain Richard Lopez and said, "I thought you were going to speak to me." The chaplain said he would. Reneau's eyes then fell partially shut, his cheeks filled with air and he exhaled one last time.

The Deed: Evidence showed Reneau entered the store before dawn on Jan. 2, 1996, and shot Keeran once in the face with a .22-caliber pistol. Then joined by roommate Jeffrey Wood, they robbed the store of more than $11,000 in cash and checks. Both were arrested within 24 hours. According to court records, Wood was waiting outside the store and came in after Keeran was shot, then both fled with the store safe, a cash box and a video recorder containing a security tape showing the robbery and slaying.

Reneau was the 16th Texas inmate executed this year, one short of the total number of executions in the state for all of last year. With three more lethal injections set for later this month, Texas is on a pace to rival the record 40 executions carried out in 2000.

MY MISTAKE: Reneau said he thought at the time of the crime only treason or trying to kill the president or something similar would make one eligible for the death penalty. He thought Wood, for example, would end up with only about a five-year sentence. Wood joined him on death row. He does not yet have an execution date.