FEATURED POST

Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

Image
Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Texas executes TaiChin Preyor

TaiChin Preyor
TaiChin Preyor
A San Antonio man was executed Thursday night for killing a woman in 2004 after a last-minute request for a stay to the Supreme Court was rejected.

TaiChin Preyor, 46, had been on death row for 13 years after a Bexar County jury convicted him of killing Jami Tackett, 24, in a drug-related attack.

Preyor was pronounced dead at 9:22 p.m., about 20 minutes after a lethal dose of Pentobarbital was sent through the veins of both of his arms.

In a brief final statement, Preyor said, “First and foremost, I’d like to say, ‘Justice has never advanced by taking a human life,’ by Coretta Scott King. Lastly, to my wife and to my kids, I love y’all forever and always. That’s it.”

Neither Preyor’s nor Tackett’s relatives were present for the execution, just four journalists and some corrections officers.

Preyor is the fifth inmate to be executed in Texas this year, and the 16th nationally, according to data provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Earlier Thursday, Cate Stetson, an attorney representing Preyor said via email that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal and stay for her client, just hours before he was to be executed.

Preyor’s lawyers had argued that his appeals should be reviewed more fairly because poor legal representation had tainted his case.

Preyor had argued that a previous attorney collaborated with a disbarred lawyer, relied on Wikipedia and double-billed his family and the court.

The attorney who handled Preyor's initial appeal was a real-estate specialist from Beverly Hills, Calif., who partnered with a man who had been disbarred for incompetence 15 years earlier — without informing the court, Preyor said in his latest motions.

"The federal habeas petition the duo filed in the District Court was so facially inadequate that it subsequently became its own ironic meme, circulated among habeas attorneys as an example of what not to do," Preyor's eleventh-hour appeal argued.

The California attorney had never appeared in a case in Texas state court, and a 2014 printout in her files showed that she did not do research about the death penalty in Texas until it was too late.

"It appears she relied on Wikpedia, of all things, to learn the complex ins and outs of Texas capital-punishment law," the motion reads.

"Her files included a copy of the Wikipedia page titled, 'Capital punishment in Texas,' with a post-it note stating 'Research' next to highlighted passages of 'habeas corpus appeals' and 'subsequent or successive writ applications.'"

Preyor's mother paid the duo $45,000 for their services, but the lawyer also billed the court for representing Preyor, the motion said.

"Preyor cannot be bound by the acts of two incompetent charlatans," the new lawyers wrote in their Supreme Court petition. The previous attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

In its response to Preyor's appeal, the state said the inmate failed to show that what his ex-lawyer did "amounts to fraud on the court." The state also said Preyor had waited too long to make his claim, which was filed two weeks before his execution.

After that bid was rejected, Stetson then filed a petition seeking a stay from the nation’s highest court. That request to Justice Samuel Alito was denied some time after 8 p.m.

On Feb. 26, 2004, Preyor said he went to Tackett’s Southeast Side apartment to buy drugs and that he defended himself when attacked by Tackett and her friend, Jason Garza, 20. Preyor told police he “poked” Tackett with a knife to defend himself.

Preyor was arrested in the parking lot of the Grove Park Apartments in the 2500 block of Goliad Road near Interstate 37 South after he returned to the scene to look for his car keys, according to court documents. He had been covered in Tackett’s blood.

Tackett, whose throat was slashed, was found when her neighbors heard her screams.

Prosecutors told the Bexar County jury that heard the case that Tackett also suffered defensive wounds to her hand and forearm and had cuts on her face and abdomen.

Defense attorneys argued that Preyor went to Tackett's house to buy drugs from her and that she and Garza attacked Preyor when he arrived, and intended to rob him. He told police that he pulled a knife and "poked" Tackett with the weapon in an attempt to defend himself.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Tackett’s throat and windpipe were severed, and that she bled to death in her apartment. Neighbors heard the screams, and Garza, who was wounded in the attack, managed to escape and call 911. Preyor left the scene. He was arrested when he returned to get his keys.

Preyor becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 543rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982.

Preyor becomes the 16th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1458th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

Sources: My SA, NBC News, Associated Press & Rick Halperin, July 28, 2017

🔎 Related content: Set for execution, Texas death row inmate alleges legal fraud in hopes of a stay, July 25, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Comments

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

North Carolina death row becoming frail, aging

Trump calls for death penalty for anyone who kills a police officer

California: Riverside County leads U.S. in death penalty sentences, but hasn’t executed anyone in 39 years

Bali jailbreak: US inmate escapes notorious Kerobokan prison

Georgia executes Emmanuel Hammond

Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

Iran: Two Prisoners Hanged In Public

Law of Parties: Prosecutor who put Jeff Wood on Texas’ death row asks for clemency

Execution date set for convicted killer in Alabama who is terminally ill

Iraq hangs 38 members of Daesh, al-Qaeda