Douglas Armstrong – black, age 36

Sentenced to death in Hidalgo County, Texas
By: not convicted at time of reporting
Date of crime: April 21, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Armstrong has been charged with the murder of Rafael Castelan during a robbery gone bad. The prosecution is using murder in the course of committing another felony as the aggravator to raise the murder to a capital crime punishable by death. Shortly after Castelan’s stabbing, police found Armstrong changing out of bloody clothing at a nearby bar.
Prosecutor(s): Joseph Orendain
Defense lawyer(s): Nereyda Morales Martinez and Keno Vasquez
Armstrong was charged in 1998 for terroristic threats and acts and served six months in prison.
Sources: The Monitor 6/11/06 (2006 WLNR 11111995), 6/27/06 (2006 WLNR 9977888)

Kosoul Chanthakoummane – Asian, age 26

Sentenced to death in Collin County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: July 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Chanthakoummane was found guilty after only 30 minutes of deliberation for the stabbing, beating, and biting death of Sarah Walker before stealing her jewelry. His defense team admitted guilt in opening statements and will focusing on avoiding the death penalty during the penalty phase. The prosecution focused on the brutality of the murder while the defense pled for sympathy and mercy. The victim’s father requested the jury not put him to death while the victim’s sister insisted on the death penalty.
Prosecutor(s): Greg Davis
Defense lawyer(s): Keith Gore
Sources: Dallas Morning News 10/08/07 (2007 WLNR 19968670), 10/11/07 (2007 WLNR 19727671)

Selwyn Davis – black, age 24

Sentenced to death in Travis County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Davis was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s mother in Austin, Texas. The prosecution called Davis a “bad guy” and said that even up to the end of the trial he was yet to show a single sign of remorse. The Defense set forth Davis’s abusive childhood and told the jury that “all life is worth saving.”
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Austin ABC 24, 10/16/07 (2007 WLNR 20762255); Austin NBC 36, 10/15/07 (2007 WLNR 20739999); Austin FOX 07, 10/16/07(2007 WLNR 20752439); AP Alert 10/16/07 (TX 07:30:47)

Adrian Estrada – Latino, age 21

Sentenced to death in Bexar County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: December 12, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Estrada was found guilty of the murders of Stephanie Sanchez and her fetus of which Estrada was the father. In 2003 a Texas law amendment broadened the definition of individual to include an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.” Estrada went to the gym and went shopping following the stabbing. The prosecution argued that at no time has he showed any emotion or remorse even immediately following the brutal murder. Estrada was a former youth pastor at a church in the area. Prosecutors referred to Estrada as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Estrada’s death sentence is the first under Texas’s Prenatal Protection Act. The prosecution’s aggravator was only present due to this Act which considered the murder of the fetus, thus giving Estrada two victims. Very few if any mitigating factors were put forth in favor of Estrada.
Prosecutor(s): Scott Simpson and Susan Reed
Defense lawyer(s): Suzanne Kramer
Sources: AP DataStream 2/8/07 (00:35:20), San Antonio Express 2/08/07 (2007 WLNR 2445505)

Joseph Gamboa – Latino, age 22

Sentenced to death in San Antonio, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: June 24, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Gamboa was found guilty of the murders of Ayala and Douglas Morgan and the shooting of Denise Koger during a robbery of Taco Land. The jury ultimately found that Gamboa was a future danger to society and that he intended to cause the death of the victims. The jury found none of the mitigating factors the defense attempted to set forth. The defense’s main argument focused on Gamboa’s difficult childhood where he and his siblings scrounged for food, looking out for each other, while their parents spent every night out drinking. The prosecution focused on Gamboa’s continued line of criminal activity including two robberies in the days after the murders where he shot two more people.
Prosecutor(s): Loretta Hewitt and Julie Wright
Defense lawyer(s): Pat Hancock
Sources: San Antonio Express 03/02/07 (2007 WLNR 4501408), 03/03/07 (2007 WLNR 4119064), 03/09/07 (2007 WLNR 4053198)

Howard Guidry – black, age 18 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Harris County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: November 9, 1994
Prosecution’s case/defense response: In the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle, former police officer Robert Fratta hired Joseph Prystash to kill Fratta’s wife. Prystash hired Guidry to commit the murder Guidry was to receive cash and a Jeep in return. Guidry shot the victim twice in the head in her garage. Fratta and Prystash were both sentenced to death, as well. Guidry’s original conviction and sentence were reversed because of admission of an improperly obtained confession, and improper hearsay.
Defense lawyer(s): Tyrone Moncriffe
Sources: Texas Death Row homepage, Houston Chronicle 2/21/07 (2007 WLNR 3426904), 2/22/07 (2007 WLNR 3499734), AP Alert 3/1/07 (TX 22:49:27)

Christopher Jackson – black, age 20

Sentenced to death in Houston, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: December 5, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Jackson was convicted of murder for carjacking Eric Smith and killing him with a sawed off shotgun as Smith was on the phone with a 911 operator. Smith was in Houston after evacuating New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Jackson stole Smith’s vehicle before circling around and attempting to rob him before shooting him. The audio tape of the 911 call played an intricate role in the trial. Prosecution entered evidence at the sentencing phase of Jackson shooting a stranger at a convenience store near the place where Smith was killed with the same gun. The defense argued that he grew up without a father, his mother did not want him, and he spent many years of his life in and out of psychiatric institutions. Additionally the defense set forth that Jackson had attempted to slit his wrists and hang himself while in jail. The autopsy revealed large amounts of marijuana and cocaine in the victim’s system.
Prosecutor(s): Maria McAnulty and Caroline Dozier
Defense lawyer(s): Hattie Shannon and Skip Cornelius
Sources: Houston Chronicle 04/13/07 (2007 WLNR 7080353), 3/31/07 (2007 WLNR 6173952), 3/27/07 (2007 WLNR 5800761)

Dexter Johnson – black, age 18

Sentenced to death in Harris County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: June 18, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Johnson was one of five involved in the carjacking of Aparece and Huy Ngo. The prosecutors said that the defendant got into the backseat and threatened the couple with a gun, demanding money and credit cards. Johnson then raped Aparece while Ngo was forced to listen before ultimately dragging both into the woods and shooting them in the head. This group of young men is also suspected in two other slayings. Upon the verdict being read, Johnson threw a chair in anger before being subdued by officers in the courtroom. The prosecution focused on the brutality of the crime while the defense attempted to show Johnson suffered from brain damage through the testimony of Dr. Reuben Gur.
Defense lawyer(s): Anthony Osso
Sources: Houston Chronicle 5/28/07 (2007 WLNR 12247331), 5/22/07 (2007 WLNR 11739792), AP Alert 6/28/07 (TX 06:00:45)

Juan Lizcano – Latino, age 28

Sentenced to death in Dallas County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: 11/13/05
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lizcano was out of jail on bond on charges of driving while intoxicated and threatening a former girlfriend. His former girlfriend called the police to report that Lizcano was at her place and had twice threatened her with a gun. Among the police who responded was officer Brian Jackson. After firing at the officers, Lizcano fired again and killed Jackson. The defense argued at the guilt/innocence phase that the homicide did not qualify as a capital murder because Lizcano could not see the officer at the time he fired. At the penalty phase the defense argued that Lizcano grew up in extreme poverty in Mexico, and was mentally retarded.
Prosecutor(s): Patrick Kirlin, Kim Judin, Josh Healy
Defense lawyer(s): Brook Busbee
Sources: Dallas Morning News 10/10/07 (2007 WLNR 19886009), 10/11/07 (2007 WLNR 19969869), 11/2/07 (2007 WLNR 21677974)

Kersean Ramey – black, age 20

Sentenced to death in Victoria, Texas after being moved from Edna
By: a jury
Date of crime: 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ramey was found guilty of the murders of Samuel Roberts, Tiffani Peacock, and Celso Lopez. A police affidavit in the case states that one of the victims recognized one of the armed robbers thus leading to the shooting spree that ensued. The defense tried to pass the blame onto Ramey’s co-defendant.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: AP Alert; 01/17/07 (TX 07:00:43)

Gregory Russeau – black, age 32 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Smith County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: 2001
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Russeau robbed a 75-year-old victim and beat him to death with a hammer in order to get money to buy drugs. Russeau had a criminal record, although the defense pointed out that it was non-violent. The defense apparently presented no mitigation evidence, but argued as a mitigating circumstance that Russeau was “a child of God.” Russeau’s original sentence was overturned due to a Confrontation Clause violation.
Prosecutor(s): Matt Bingham, April Sikes
Defense lawyer(s): Brandon Baade, Clifton Roberson
Sources: Texas Death Row homepage, Houston Chronicle 6/30/05 (2005 WLNR 24612880), Tyler Morning Telegraph 4/21/07

Roosevelt Smith Jr. – black, age 43

Charged with capital murder in Pasadena, Texas
By: not sentenced at time of report
Date of crime: October 28, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Smith was charged with the murder of 77 year old Betty Blair during the robbery of her house. Blair was paying Smith and two other Katrina evacuees to do yard work for her before the three murdered her and stole her vehicle. They were found at a toll booth driving Blair’s vehicle. The car was located through the OnStar onboard electronic tracking system.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Houston Chronicle 10/30/05 (2005 WLNR 24634466), 11/2/05 (24634972), 11/4/05 (2005 WLNR 24636021), 10/25/07 (2007 WLNR 20954455)

Richard Tabler – white, age 25

Sentenced to death in Bell County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Tabler was convicted of the murders of a strip club manager and his friend. Tabler also confessed to the murders of two girls age 16 and 18. Prosecutors allege Tabler was plotting the murders of at least a half dozen other club employees. Tabler had an accomplice who was present who was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Allegedly there was a videotape of the murder that one woman testified as to viewing, but Tabler had destroyed it.
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Waco 25 KXXV-TX, 04/02/07 (2007 WLNR 6365572), AP Alert 11/16/07 (TX 21:43:24)

Adam Ward – white, age 22

Sentenced to death in Commerce, Texas
By: a jury.
Date of crime: June 13, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Ward was found guilty of the murder of Michael Walker. Walker had been taking photos of code violations at the Ward residence when an altercation began which eventually led to the shooting of Walker. The Ward residence believed that the City of Commerce, the Commerce Independent School District, and the Commerce Police Department were all conspiring against them. The prosecution believes this paranoia hit a boiling point. Ward’s father was taken to civil court on wrongful death claims, but settled before trial. In September of 2007, information was released that conversations between Ward and his attorney were recorded from the Hunt County Jail. At the time of this report there is no further information as to the affect this may have on Ward’s appeals.
Prosecutor(s): F. Duncan Thomas
Defense lawyer(s): Dennis Davis
Sources: Dallas Morning News 9/12/07 (2007 WLNR 17770617), Greenville (TX) Herald-Banner 4/29/08 (2008 WLNR 7939536), The Commerce Journal (Greenville, TX) 6/12/07, Greenville (TX) Herald-Banner 6/22/07

Thomas “Bart” Whitaker – white, age 23

Sentenced to death in Fort Bend County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: December 10, 2003
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Whitaker was found guilty of the murder of his brother and mother and the attempted murder of his father. Whitaker’s motivation was a million dollar family inheritance. Whitaker himself was wounded in an attempt to look as though he was also a victim. Whitaker did not actually pull the trigger of these murders but enlisted two co-defendants to carry out the murder. Whitaker was arrested in Mexico and turned over to American authorities in Laredo, Texas. Police say Whitaker had plotted two other murder schemes for his family, neither of which were carried out. Whitaker’s father (one of the victims) pled to the prosecution’s office not to seek the death penalty. He claimed it would not be what Whitaker’s brother and mother would want and sentencing him to death would be killing the last member of his family. The jury ignored the pleas of Whitaker’s father and sentenced him to death.
Prosecutor(s): John Healey and Fred Felcman
Defense lawyer(s): Dan Cogdell
Sources: Houston Chronicle 09/19/07 (2007 WLNR 18323042), 01/23/07 (2007 WLNR 1342074), 01/31/06 (2006 WLNR 1728535)

Antonio Williams – black, age 26

Charged with death eligible homicide in Houston, Texas
By: No results of trial known at time of publication
Date of crime: August 5, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Williams is charged in multiple murders including Vincent Williams, Yolanda Styles, Dion Barnes, Christopher Harris, and Terrell Ball. The prosecution claims that Williams and other entrenched Houston drug dealers are committing these murders because Katrina evacuees are coming to the Houston area and attempting to get into the Houston market.
Prosecutor(s): Lance Long
Defense lawyer(s):
Sources: Houston Chronicle 11/28/07 (2007 WLNR 23508203), AP Alert 10/06/06 (TLA 08:31:03)