Brent Ray Brewer – White, age 19 (re-sentence after appellate review)

Sentenced in Randall County, Texas
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: 1990
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Brewer had stabbed a man during a robbery. At trial Brewer sought to introduce evidence of mental illness and the judge instructed the jury to only consider two special issues: whether Brewer’s conduct was deliberate, and if there was a reasonable expectation that his conduct would result in the victim’s death. The 5th Circuit held that the jury had a right to hear this evidence and consider it in determining if Brewer deserved death.
Sources: Dallas Morning News 06/28/07 (2007 WLNR 12242392); AP Alert 06/17/08 – WA 07:10:54; National Law Journal 04/30/07 (4/30/07 NLJ 20); Brewer v. Quarterman (442 F.3d 273).

James Broadnax – Black, age 19

Sentenced in Dallas County, Texas
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: June 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Broadnax shot to death Stephen Swan (age 26) and Matthew Butler (age 28). Broadnax confessed to the crime. At sentencing the defense admitted that the crime was monstrous, but claimed that Broadnax suffered a horrible childhood and was only bragging when he requested the death penalty. Broadnax laughed during the testimony of the mother of one of his victims.
Sources: Dallas Morning News (TX) 08/21/09 (2009 WLNR 16353756), 08/22/09 (2009 WLNR 16413226), 08/25/09 (2009 WLNR 16569935).

Raul Cortez – Latino, age 23

Sentenced in Collin County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: March 12, 2004
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Cortex shot to death Rosa Barbosa (age 46), Matthew Barbosa (age 25), York Self (age 18), and Matthew Self (age 17). The murders occurred during a botched robbery. Cortez was linked to the crimes through DNA evidence, but he insisted on his innocence. During the penalty phase of the trial the prosecution provided evidence that Cortez was part of a violent street gang. The defense called Cortez’s mother who begged the jury to spare her son.
Sources: AP Alert 01/30/09 – TX 04:47:41, 02/03/09 – TX 17:16:22; Dallas Morning News (TX) 01/31/09 (2009 WLNR 1881235), 02/02/09 (2009 WLNR 1972845)

Erick Daniel Davila – Black, age 20

Sentenced in Tarrant County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: April 6, 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Davila shot to death Queshawn Stevenson (age 5), and Annette Stevenson (age 48) at a children’s birthday party. The jury voted unanimously that Davilla posed a continuing threat to society. The defense argued that Davila’s life should be spared because he had a low IQ, he was mentally unstable, and had a deprived childhood. The defense also described how Davila was conceived in a rape.
Sources: AP DataStream 04/09/08 01:23:37; Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) 02/11/09 (2009 WLNR 2706540), 02/28/09 (2009 WLNR 7642422); Dallas Morning News (TX) 02/20/09 (2009 WLNR 3367742), 02/26/09 (2009 WLNR 3828417), 02/28/09 (2009 WLNR 3890664), 02/28/09 (2009 WLNR 3925712)

Paul Devoe – White, age 44

Sentenced in Travis County, Texas
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: August 2007 (Faulkner and Hensley)
Prosecution’s case/defense response: This case involved the murders of Haylie Faulkner (age 15), and Danielle Hensley (age 17) in Texas. They were part of a murder spree that began with two victims in Pennsylvania and five more in Texas. Pennsylvania decided not to seek extradition from Texas because Devoe was more likely to face the death penalty in Texas. Devoe claims that he doesn’t remember the attacks, but is haunted by their screams.
Sources: UPI Top Stories 12/19/07 – 00:00:00; Springfield News-Leader (MO) 10/03/09 (2009 WLNR 24387874); Public Opinion (Chambersburg, PA) 05/21/10 (2010 WLNR 10523401).

Robert Fratta – White, age 37 (re-sentence)

Sentenced in Harris County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: 1994
Prosecution’s case/defense response: (re-sentencing) Fratta paid two men to kill his wife Farah Fratta. Fratta got a new trial when an appellate court found that the confessions of his conspirators should not have been admitted at trial because he did not have a chance to cross examine those men. Fratta was again sentenced to death. Defense argued that the death penalty should be reserved for cop killers, serial killers, and those who kill children. The defense also stated that Mr. Fratta would never be released on parole because, “This is Texas.”
Sources: Houston Chronicle (TX) 05/16/09 (2009 WLNR 9474137), 05/30/09 (2009 WLNR 10296701), 05/31/09 (2009 WLNR 10384423)

Fabian Hernandez – Latino, age 31

Sentenced in El Paso County, Texas
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: November 3, 2006
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Hernandez shot to death his ex-wife, Renee Urbina Hernandez (age 28), and her friend, Arthur Lee Fonseca (age 24). Hernandez became jealous when his ex-wife showed romantic interest in Fonseca. He shot both of them in the head outside her parents’ home.
Sources: El Paso Times (TX) 11/26/09 (2009 WLNR 23883348), 12/27/09 (2009 WLNR 25964903), 12/27/09 (2009 WLNR 25965354).

Armando Leza – Latino, age 30

Sentenced in Bexar County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: April 2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Leza stabbed and slit the throat of Caryl Jean Allen (age 57) after robbing her home. The jury found that Leza posed a future threat, and that there were not sufficient mitigating circumstances. Leza’s brother begged the jury to spare his life.
Sources: San Antonio Express-News (TX) 05/12/09 (2009 WLNR 9032393), 05/21/09 (2009 WLNR 9749085), 05/22/09 (2009 WLNR 9795703), 06/02/09 (2009 WLNR 10550034)

Jerry Martin – White, age 37

Sentenced in Leon County, Texas
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: September 24, 2007
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Martin shot to death Correctional Officer Susan Canfield. Martin and a fellow inmate took the gun from another officer during an escape attempt. They got into a firefight with Canfield that resulted in her death. The defense brought up evidence of Martin’s childhood and mental illness. The state pointed out the danger in keeping him in prison for life.
Sources: The Huntsville Item (TX) 12/01/09 (2009 WLNR 24226218), 12/03/09 (2009 WLNR 24388304), 12/08/09 (2009 WLNR 24763413).

Raymond DeLeon Martinez- Latino, age 37 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced in Harris County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: 7/13/83
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Martinez and two cohorts attempted rob a tavern. During the robbery the manager—Herman Chavis—attempted to stop one of Martinez’s cohorts from hitting a patron with a pool cue. Martinez shot Chavis multiple times, killing him. This murder was part of a weeklong crime spree by Martinez that resulted in several robberies and the deaths of five people. Also, Martinez had a long criminal record before that, and had been an organizer and leader of the violent prison gang called the Texas Syndicate. Martinez’s sentence was overturned in 2007 because the jury instructions had failed to give the jury a vehicle through which to give meaningful consideration to Martinez’s evidence of mental disease. At the re-sentencing, the jury again issued a death sentence.
Sources: Martinez v. State, 327 S.W.3d 727 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010); Ex parte Martinez, 233 S.W.3d 319 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007); 3/20/09 AP Alert-TX 01:28:55.

Demontrell Miller – Black, age 21

Sentenced in Smith County, Texas
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: June 01, 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Miller beat to death Kelynn Pinson (age 2). Miller claimed that he found Pinson in the pool and was unable to revive her, but the autopsy showed that the child died of blunt force trauma. Police later found bloody clothes in the house. The defense argued that the death was an accident.
Sources: KSLA News 12 06/03/08 (; KYTX 19 11/05/2009 (, 11/17/09 (; KLTV 7 11/16/09 (

Christian Olsen — White, age 19

Sentenced in Brazos County, Texas
By: A jury
Date of crime: 6/3/07
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Olsen gained entrance to the home of his neighbor Etta Jean Westbrook under the pretense of returning a dish, then bludgeoned and choked her to death and stole her credit cards, which he and his much older live-in girlfriend Kelly Sifuentes (age 40 at the time of the crime) used within hours of the murder. In the penalty phase the prosecution presented evidence that Olsen and Sifuentes had earlier killed Sifuentes’ mother and buried her in the backyard of the home where they were all living—Olsen and Sifuentes had also used her credit cards. The defense presented mitigating evidence that Olsen had been an unproblematic child until he had been seduced at age 14 into a sexual relationship with Sifuentes, and that she had held him in a sexual thrall ever since then.
Sources: The Eagle (Bryan, Texas) 2/19/09 (2009 WLNR 3234888), 2/20/09 (2009 WLNR 3365539), 2/27/09 (2009 WLNR 3840812), 3/3/09 (2009 WLNR 4077898), 3/4/09 (2009 WLNR 4169671)

Mark Allen Robertson – White, age 21 (re-sentence after appellate review)

Sentenced in Dallas County, Texas
By: a judge upon jury recommendation
Date of crime: 1989
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Robertson’s was granted a new punishment hearing for the 1989 robbery and murder of Edna Brau (age 81) because a federal appeals court found the jury instructions to be confusing. The instructions were related to mitigating factors including Robertson’s childhood. At the new hearing the state portrayed Robertson as a cold-blooded sociopath and the defense claimed that he was a changed man.
Sources: Dallas Morning News (TX) 06/23/09 (2009 WLNR 11998683), 07/02/09 (2009 WLNR 12648302), 07/03/09 (2009 WLNR 12727177).