Sunday, April 28, 2002

Well, if you've already cooked.....

Nine executions in Texas in next 4 1/2 weeks
Sun Apr 28, 4:09 PM ET
By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press Writer

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - In a spurt of capital punishment that should ensure Texas reclaims the distinction for the year as America's most active execution state, nine condemned killers --including a Frenchman -- are set to die over a 31-day period starting Tuesday.

Among the convicted murderers facing lethal injection is a San Antonio man with one leg who earlier this year was spared from the death chamber by telling authorities he had knowledge of other slayings.

Texas, by far the nation's leader in capital punishment with 265 lethal injections since executions resumed in 1982, put 17 prisoners to death in 2001, one fewer than Oklahoma.

So far this year, nine of the 22 executions in the United States have been in Texas. Missouri is second with four.

If all nine executions are carried out, it would be the most prolific series of punishment in Texas since 12 inmates were put to death over a 29-day period in May and June 1997.

"Any date is serious," says Brian Davis, condemned for a Harris County slaying. "I don't want to die. But the way I look at it is if you ask most people, they'd like to die in their sleep. I'm going to die like most people want to die. I know when, and I know how."

Other than their fate and the fact that their appeals are running out, the inmates share little in common. Two are white, four black and three Hispanic. Three had been to prison before. Seven were born in Texas, one in Nevada and one in Paris, France.

They are among at least 15 prisoners with death dates pending in Texas. Another four are scheduled for June and two more have August execution dates in what could be a year that threatens the record 40 lethal injections administered in Texas in 2000.

The timing of the punishments is coincidental. Dates are set by local trial court judges.

The inmates facing death over the next 4 1/2 weeks are:

_Rodolfo Hernandez, 52, who would be making Tuesday his second trip to the death house. He was spared March 21 moments before he was to have been executed for his role in the 1985 robbery and fatal shooting of an undocumented immigrant in Comal County. The reprieve came from Gov. Rick Perry after Hernandez told San Antonio police earlier that week he had information about other killings in his native city. Hernandez, 52, lost a leg to diabetes and prison officials have said a recurring infection has prevented him from getting his wish: an artificial leg so he can walk himself to the death chamber.

_Stanley Baker, 35, born in Paris, France, and facing injection May 30 for the September 1994 robbery and shooting death of a clerk at a College Station adult video store.

_Curtis Moore, 34, facing death Wednesday for the November 1995 abduction and shooting deaths of three people in two separate killing sprees. In one of the cases, a shooting victim who had been doused with gasoline and set afire survived to testify against his attacker.

_Davis, 33, set to die May 7 for the fatal stabbing of a mentally retarded man he and his girlfriend picked up at a Houston bar in August 1991. The victim told Davis he'd provide gas money for a trip home. When he said later he had no money, he was stabbed 11 times and had a swastika carved into his abdomen.

_Reginald Reeves, 28, with a May 9 execution date for the September 1993 rape-strangulation of a 14-year-old girl who had run away from a group home in Paris, Texas. Her body was found at a vacant house. Reeves was 19 at the time.

_Henry Dunn, 27, with a May 14 death date for the abduction and fatal shooting in November 1993 of a Tyler man. Dunn also was 19 at the time of the slaying. Prosecutors said he justified the murder because the victim was gay.

_Ronford Styron, 32, facing execution May 16 for the beating death of his 11-month-old son in October 1993. He told police he did not believe the child was his own offspring and took out his anger on the infant.

_Johnny Martinez, 29, with a May 22 execution date for the July 1993 fatal stabbing of a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk during a robbery.

_Napoleon Beazley, 25, set to die May 28 for the 1994 shooting death of a Tyler businessman during a carjacking outside the victim's home. Beazley was 17 when he killed 63-year-old John Luttig, father of a federal appeals court judge in Virginia. Death penalty opponents worldwide have rallied behind Beazley, contending it would be cruel to execute him because he was a child when the crime occurred.