Stephen Barbee – white, age 37

Sentenced to death in Tarrant County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: February 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Barbee murdered ex-girlfriend Sheila Underwood, who was 7 ½ months pregnant, and her 7 year-old son Jayden. Barbee thought the unborn child was his, and he did not want his wife to find out about the affair. Barbee’s first wife testified to the domestic violence she suffered during their relationship. Police also had a videotaped confession of Barbee telling his wife that he committed the crime. Barbee’s mother testified that her son was never the same after his two siblings died at a young age. Testimony was also presented regarding a head injury that Barbee had suffered earlier in the year that caused severe headaches.
Prosecutor(s): Kevin Rousseau, Dixie Bersano Defense lawyer(s): Bill Ray, Tim Moore
Sources: Dallas Morning News 2/24/06, 2/25/06, 2/28/06; Fort Worth Star-Telegram 2/28/06

James Bigsby– white, age 36 (re-sentence after an appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Tarrant County, Texas
By: A judge, after a recommendation of death by a jury
Date of crime: December 24, 1987
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Bigsby was originally convicted and given the death penalty for the murder of family friend Mike Trekell and Trekell’s infant son Jayson.  The sentence was overturned because the jurors were not allowed to consider Bigsby’s paranoid schizophrenia as a mitigating factor.  He had been admitted to a mental institution on three occasions prior to the killings.  Bigsby thought that Trekell was in on a conspiracy to prevent him from collecting worker’s compensation. Bigsby was also accused of killing two other friends on the same day of the Trekell murders.
Prosecutor(s): Alan Levy Defense lawyer(s):  Wes Ball
Sources: Fort Worth Star-Telegram 9/6/06, 9/7/06, 9/8/06, 9/15/06, 9/20/06

Tilon Carter – black, age 24

Sentenced to death in Tarrant County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: Aug. 28, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Carter was sentenced to death for the robbery and murder of 89-year-old James Tomlin.  Carter claimed he tied his victim up with duct tape, who then died of asphyxiation after Carter had left the home.  Police statements showed Carter had no intention of leaving his victim alive.  Defense claimed Carter was mentally retarded and from a dysfunctional family.  Carter’s girlfriend, Leketha Allen, is awaiting trial for the same crimes.
Prosecutor(s): Lisa Callaghan, Darrell Davila Defense lawyer(s): Rick Alley, Santiago Salinas
Sources: Associated Press 11/16/06 (Westlaw); Fort Worth Star-Telegram 11/16/06 (2006 WLNR 19885956), 11/2/06 (2006 WLNR 18967378); Associated Press 10/31/06 (Westlaw)

Lisa Coleman – black, age 28

Sentenced to death in Tarrant County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of Crime:  2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Victim 9-year-old Davontae Williams was starved to death by his mother and Coleman, who was her girlfriend.  The victim also had over 250 scars or wounds on his body.  Coleman presented mitigation evidence that she had a terrible upbringing, was bipolar, and a drug user.  In a seemingly unusual resolution, the victim’s mother pleaded guilty to a sentence with possibility of parole in 40 years, while Coleman was sentenced to death.
Prosecutor(s):  Mitch Poe Defense Lawyer(s):  Michael Heiskell
Sources:  Dallas Morning News 6/22/06 (2006 WLNR 10836177), 9/21/06 (2006 WLNR 16408700).

John Steven Gardner – white, age 49

Sentenced to death in Collin County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: January 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Gardner was given a death sentence for the shooting death of his wife, Tammy Gardner.  Tammy had placed a call to 911 and named her husband as the assailant after she had been shot in the head.  She died in the hospital three days later after the family chose to take her off life support.  Prosecutors claimed Gardner shot Tammy because she had filed for divorce.  Defense argued there was no forensic evidence connecting Gardner to the crime.  During sentencing, the jury learned that Gardner was convicted of shooting his first wife in Mississippi in 1983.  Rhoda Gardner was only 18 and pregnant at the time of her death.  Gardner argued he would not be a danger in prison, so there was no need to give the death penalty.
Prosecutor(s): Gail Leyko, Curtis Howard Defense lawyer(s): Bob Hultkrantz, Bennie House
Sources: Dallas Morning News 2/10/05 (2005 WLNR 24690944), 11/8/06 (2006 WLNR 19490131), 11/10/06 (2006 WLNR 19676809), 11/15/06 (2006 WLNR 19849021), 7/7/07 (2007 WLNR 12892560)

Joe Franco Garza, Jr.– Latino, age 25 (re-sentence after an appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Lubbock County, Texas
By: A judge, after a recommendation of death by a jury
Date of crime: December 31, 1998
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Garza was originally convicted and given the death penalty for the murder of 71-year-old preacher Silbiano Rangel.  Garza then robbed Rangel and stole his truck.  The sentence was overturned because evidence about Garza’s troubled past was not allowed in.  Prosecutors presented evidence of Garza’s violent behavior while in prison, trying to prove he was still a danger to others.
Prosecutor(s): Jennifer Basett Defense lawyer(s): unknown
Sources: 4/18/06, 4/24/06; Daily Toreador 4/27/06

Ramiro Gonzales– Latino, age 18

Sentenced to death in Medina County, Texas
By: A judge, after a recommendation of death by a jury
Date of crime: January 15, 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Gonzales confessed to the murder of Bridget Townsend two years after she vanished.  Townsend was the girlfriend of Gonzales’ cocaine dealer.  Gonzales went to burglarize the home, only to discover Townsend home.  He then raped her before shooting her in the head.  Gonzales admitted to the murder while in prison for another rape, because he did not want to be transferred to another prison.  Defense presented evidence showing that Gonzalez was abandoned by his mother at birth and was sexually abused as a child.
Prosecutor(s): Laura Baymouth Popps Defense lawyer(s): Emmett Harris, Lisa Jarrett
Sources: San Antonio Express-News 10/10/02, 10/19/02, 10/3/03, 6/3/04, 12/26/05, 6/26/06, 8/22/06, 8/30/06, 9/6/06

Stephen Long – white, age 33

Sentenced to death in Dallas County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: May 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Long admitted to raping and killing 11-year-old Kaitlyn Smith, but claimed his alter-ego made him do it.  Kaitlyn was spending the night with a friend, and Long had also been living in that home since his mother kicked him out.  Long disposed of her body under a vacant trailer in the mobile home park.  Kaitlyn’s grandfather discovered her body in a garbage bag under the trailer.  Defense claimed Long lacked the specific intent needed to commit the murder, since he was drunk and on meth.
Prosecutor(s): Andy Beach Defense lawyer(s): Paul Johnson
Sources: Dallas Morning News 5/24/05 (2005 WLNR 24662770), 10/4/06 (2006 WLNR 17191673), 10/5/06 (2006 WLNR 17271693)

Joe Michael Luna – Latino, age 25

Sentenced to death in Bexar County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: February 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Michael Andrade’s apartment shared a common attic with the apartment of Luna’s girlfriend. Luna climbed through the attic and found Andrade still in bed. He then tied him up and robbed the apartment. He then came back and strangled Andrade. Luna pled guilty to the murder, then got on the stand during sentencing and begged the jury to give him the death penalty, claiming he could not be rehabilitated from the addiction to hurt people.
Prosecutor(s): Mary Green, Loretta Hewitt Defense lawyer(s): Mario Trevino
Sources: San Antonio Express-News 2/28/06, 3/7/06, 3/9/06

Ronnie Joe Neal – black, age 33

Sentenced to death in Bexar County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of Crime:  11/22/04
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Neal invaded the home of Diane Tilly and held her for four hours while he raped and robbed her.  Then he kidnapped her to a field where he shot her as she pleaded for her life.  The case is notorious in the San Antonio area because his accomplice was his 16-year-old daughter, who was pregnant by him.
Prosecutor(s):  Catherine Bobbitt, Jill Mata Defense Lawyer(s):  Joel Perez
Sources:  San Antonio Express-News 6/6/06 (2006 WLNR 5833173), 4/7/06 (2006 WLNR 5901233), 4/14/06 (2006 WLNR 6315819), 5/2/06 (2006 WLNR 7508070), 6/27/06 (2006 WLNR 11133117).

Juan Meza Segundo – Latino, age 22

Sentenced to death in Johnson County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: Aug. 3, 1986
Prosecution’s case/defense response: For nearly 20 years, the sexual assault and murder of 11-year-old Vanessa Villa was a mystery.  But DNA evidence connected Segundo, a family friend, to the murder.  Vanessa and her siblings were sleeping when her mother ran to the store in the middle of the night.  Her mother discovered her dead when she arrived home.  While in jail awaiting trial for this crime, DNA evidence connected Segundo to the rape and murder of two other women.  Defense presented mitigating evidence showing Segundo suffered severe brain damage from years of abusing drugs.
Prosecutor(s): Christy Jack, Alan Levy Defense lawyer(s): Mark Daniels, Wes Ball
Sources: Dallas Morning News 12/9/06 (2006 WLNR 21325589); Fort Worth Star-Telegram 12/13/06 (2006 WLNR 22172528), 12/16/06 (2006 WLNR 21884643), 12/21/06 (2006 WLNR 22302461)

Demetrius Smith – black, age 28

Sentenced to death in Harris County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of Crime:  3/24/05
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Angry that Tammie Harris had decided to stop dating him, Smith invaded her home and shot her to death while a group of middle school-age girls was present.  Smith then chased down and killed Harris’s 11-year-old daughter Kristina.  The defense presented mitigation evidence of Smith’s hard upbringing.
Prosecutor(s):  Defense Lawyer(s):  Terry Gaiser
Sources:  Houston Chronicle 6/21/06 (2006 WLNR 10729196), 6/22/06 (2006 WLNR 10850851), 6/23/06 (2006 WLNR 10916499), 6/28/06 (2006 WLNR 11210971).

Max Soffar – white, age 24 (re-sentence after an appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Harris County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: 1980
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Soffar was convicted in the murder of Arden Felsher at a bowling alley in Houston. Two other people were killed in the incident, but Soffar was never charged with their murders. Soffar showed knowledge of the murder after he was arrested for stealing a motorcycle. Soffar claims he admitted to the murder in an ill-conceived notion to implicate a person he had a grudge against. A new trial was granted by a federal court ruling based on ineffective counsel. The prosecutor decided to retry instead of appealing to the United States Supreme Court. Kinky Friedman, candidate for Texas governor, testified on behalf of Soffar at sentencing.
Prosecutor(s): Andy Tobias Defense lawyer(s): James Schropp
Sources: Dallas Morning News 1/7/05; Associated Press 3/2/06

Clifton Williams – black, age 22

Sentenced to death in Smith County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: July 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Williams was convicted of killing 93-year-old Cecelia Schneider during a robbery for drug money.  Williams entered Schneider’s home, stabbed her to death, then set her body on fire.  He then escaped in her car with $40 from her purse.  Defense claimed Williams was a scapegoat for the person who really committed the crime.
Prosecutor(s):  Defense lawyer(s): Melvin Thompson
Sources: Associated Press 10/3/06 (Westlaw)

Christopher Young – black, age 20

Sentenced to death in Bexar County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: November 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Young went on a crime spree that started with the sexual assault and robbery of a young woman, and ended with the robbery and murder of convenience store owner Hasmukh Patel. The shooting was caught on the videotape at the convenience store.
Prosecutor(s): Melissa Skinner Defense lawyer(s): Angelo Moore
Sources: San Antonio Express-News 1/11/06, 1/31/06, 2/2/06, 2/8/06