I'm looking for examples of cases in which the defendant received the death penalty or the State sought the death penalty when the defendant was tried under a parties theory to capital murder. In other words, defendant wasn't the "triggerman." I know there are cases where we don't know who the triggerman is and everyone is tried either as the primary actor or as a party, and there may be some as well when we knew full well a defendant was "just a party." Especially interested in examples of people executed in the last 30 years or so who were "just a party."
Posts: 514 | Location: austin, tx, usa | Registered: July 02, 2001
The Texas Board of Pardons and Parole has unanimously rejected a clemency petition from a man who is set to be executed for the murder of a store clerk, even though he was sitting in a truck outside the store when the murder happened.
Kenneth Foster has a date on Thursday with the executioner’s needle. Not for killing anyone himself, but for what he was doing — and might have been thinking — the night in 1996 when he was 19 and a sidekick gunned down a San Antonio law student.
Several years ago Hidalgo County obtained death sentences against two individuals involved in a situation involving the killing of six individuals while attempting to take drugs from members of a rival gang.
One defendant, Humberto Garza, had gathered the gang members who carried out the drug raid that led to the killings and also been a driver, but was not a triggerman. See Garza v. State, No. AP-75,217, 2008 TEx.Crim.App. Unpub. LEXIS 340 (April 30, 2008).
Another defendant, Rodlofo Alvarez Medrano, had taken the weapons used to the place where the group was gathering and had also not been a triggerman. See Medrano v. State, NO. AP-75,320, 2008 Tex.Crim.App. Unpub. LEXIS 871 (Nov. 26, 2008).
As you can see, both of these death sentences were upheld based on application of the law of parties and the law dealing with the anticipated result of a conspiracy.
As I recall, two of the Texas Seven, aka Connolly Seven, defendants had parties charges. One of them the State thought was a shooter, but another I think was thought "just" to be the lookout that alerted the others that Officer Hawkins was there. That is my recollection, old and third-hand. Someone in Dallas or from the main prosecution team could give more detail or correct me.
Posts: 2129 | Location: McKinney, Texas, USA | Registered: February 15, 2001
Originally posted by JB: Kenneth Foster has a date on Thursday with the executioner’s needle. Not for killing anyone himself, but for what he was doing — and might have been thinking — the night in 1996 when he was 19 and a sidekick gunned down a San Antonio law student.
JB-- If I remember correctly, Governor Rick Perry commuted the death sentence for Foster and he was sentenced to Life Without Parole. Why use a jury's judgment when you can get a politician to intervene...
Posts: 293 | Location: San Antonio | Registered: January 27, 2004
In a statement regarding the commutation, Perry said: "I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment. I am concerned about Texas law that allows capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously, and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."
Governor Perry made it clear that he was not granting the commutation because Foster was convicted as a party, only that the jury should have made a decision on that issue in a separate trial from the principal.
And, I think a couple of bills were filed in the Legislature after that commutation to prohibit joint trials in capital cases. One of those bills would have prohibited the death penalty for a party to a capital murder. I don't think the bills became law. Shannon?
Originally posted by JB: I don't think the bills became law. Shannon?
They did not. The House member pushing the main bill cared more about ending DP eligibility for parties than about mandatory severance of DP defendants, so when the former was stripped from her bill, she lost interest.
Posts: 2402 | Location: TDCAA | Registered: March 08, 2002