Tuesday, November 14, 2006

November 8, 2006

...He urged the relatives of his victim to "go home, have fun, smile" ...

Last Meal: Shannon had no final meal request.

The skinny: Shannon was executed for the murder of a man whom he shot dead during a car hijacking outside a Houston shopping center. The man was waiting for his wife and children in his car when he was attacked.

More skinny: The victim was a witness enrolled in the federal witness protection program and had driven with his family from Lubbock for a vacation to the Astroworld amusement park and the Houston Zoo. He had been in the program for a decade and had been living under a new identity after testifying at drug trials in the Rio Grande Valley. He had just dropped his family off at a shoe store. An 11-year-old boy who was the key witness to the murder, testified that the man was sitting alone in his car, waiting for his family to return and Willie Shannon, 19 at the time, climbed into the passenger seat. The boy heard Shannon say to the man, "Get out of the car." After a scuffle, three shots were fired, one striking the victim in the head. Shannon kicked his body out of the car, firing two more rounds and ran over the man’s hand as he drove away in the victim's vehicle. Shannon took off but abandoned the station wagon in a nearby county after wrecking.

He was arrested five hours later at a truck stop.

Shortly before he killed the man, Shannon raped a motel maid nearby.

Priors: Shannon had a prior conviction for aggravated assault and had a juvenile record in which he was adjudicated delinquent. The prosecutor told jurors Shannon was a sociopath who would be certain to commit more violent crimes if he ever goes free. The jury agreed and sentenced Shannon to death.

Last words and such: In his last statement while strapped to the gurney, Shannon said he had not meant to kill Garza. "I took a father, it wasn't my fault, it was an accident ... God knows the truth." Shannon was smiling and humming as witnesses entered the death chamber. He told the Garza family that his smile was "not from happiness. If my life could bring your father back, then let it be. Don't take my smile for disrespect." Shannon said he was going to heaven. "If I see your father I will ask for his forgiveness. I'll say when I see him, 'I'm sorry." He urged the relatives of his victim to "go home, have fun, smile. I'm happy. Why should I lie now. I have no anger. I have no fear."

Several of his friends were present at the execution, hands pressed against the viewing glass, offering quiet prayers, softly repeating the words, “thank you, Jesus.” All four had white, silk flowers tied to their wrists with a white ribbon.

Factoids: Shannon was the...

51st murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1055th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
24th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
379th murderer executed in Texas since 1976