Donald Bess – White, age 35

Sentenced in Dallas County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: October 1984
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Bess was convicted of the rape and stabbing murder of Angela Samota (age 20), a student at Southern Methodist University.  The murder was a “cold case” for decades, until recent DNA tests that were unavailable at the time connected Bess with the crime.  Bess asked to use Samota’s bathroom and phone at her Dallas condo while out on parole for aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping.  Furthermore, Bess went on to be sentenced to life in prison for raping another woman in 1985.  Bess’ defense argued that mitigating circumstances such as: Bess’ poor health (diabetes, morbid obesity and heart disease), his age, his alcoholic mother and good behavior during his 32 year prison stint should’ve taken the death penalty off the table.  Bess was 61 at the time of the trial and suffered a heart attack during the proceedings causing a three-day delay.  The prosecution claimed, “If the death penalty was warranted in 1984, it was warranted now.”
Sources: The Houston Chronicle (TX) 5/6/08 (2008 WLNR 8470973), The Dallas Morning News (TX) 6/14/10 (2010 WLNR 12109087), The Dallas Morning News (TX) 6/17/10 (2010 WLNR 12268108), The Dallas Morning News (TX) 6/18/10 (2010 WLNR 12421815), The Dallas Morning News (TX) 6/19/10 (2010 WLNR 12474085), The Dallas Morning News (TX) 6/19/10 (2010 WLNR 12447781).

Milton Gobert – Black, age 30

Sentenced in Travis County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: October 6, 2003
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Gobert was convicted of the stabbing death of Mel Cotton (age 37), a female friend of one of Gobert’s ex-girlfriends.  Gobert claimed self-defense.  Cotton was stabbed and cut 107 times and his son (age 5) was also stabbed several times but survived.  Prosecutors claimed Gobert killed Cotton because of her role in helping his ex-girlfriend move out of his apartment.  Gobert was also convicted of a burglary in 1994 and an assault on his ex-girlfriend in 2003.
Sources: Corpus Christi Caller Times (Tex.) 3/12/10 (2010 WLNR 5247228), 3/11/10 AP Alert – TX 15:46:26, Austin American-Statesman 3/11/10 AP Alert – TX 12:15:34, Austin American-Statesman 3/20/10 AP Alert – TX 01:53:33, Austin American-Statesman 3/22/10 AP Alert – TX 15:34:17.

Gary Green – Black, age 38

Sentenced in Dallas County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: September 2009
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Green brutally stabbed his wife, Lovetta Armstead, 28 times in the bathroom of their home, while their daughter, Jazzmen Montgomery (age 6), watched from her bed where she was bound with duct tape.  Green proceeded to drown his daughter in the bathtub.  The attack had come shortly after Green and his wife sought to have their marriage annulled.  Green had been previously arrested for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, as well as spending jail time for failure to pay child support.  Greens two stepsons (ages 9 and 12) were forced to see the bodies but were allowed to live.
Sources: Dallas Morning News (TX) 10/26/10 (2010 WLNR 21411155), 10/29/10 AP Alert – TX 13:05:17, Dallas Morning News (TX) 11/2/10 (2010 WLNR 21872279), 11/6/10 AP Alert – TX 02:20:38.

Garland Harper – Black, age 38

Sentenced in Harris County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: October 24, 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Harper was convicted of the stabbing death of Triska Rose (age 38), and the strangulation of her two daughters, Briana Roberson (age 15), and Maya Love (age 7).  Harper, who had been living with Rose for several months, had become suspicious Rose had been cheating and had begun to stalk her.  Defense lawyers claimed Harper was a mentally ill man with a drug problem, which had caused him to exhibit delusional behavior including believing Rose was cheating on him with a man who was “uncatchable.”  Harper had been previously arrested for aggravated robbery.
Sources: 10/26/08 AP Alert – TX 02:44:23, Houston Chronicle (TX) 10/5/10 (2010 WLNR 19730217), Houston Chronicle (TX) 10/18/10 (2010 WLNR 20849369), Houston Chronicle (TX) 10/19/10 (2010 WLNR 20925970).

Mabry Landor III – Black, age 27

Sentenced in Harris County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: December 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: A foot chase through a north Houston apartment complex after being pulled over without a driver’s license resulted in Landor shooting Timothy Abernathy (age 43), a Houston police officer.  Witnesses testified Landor hid behind a wall and shot Abernathy as he ran by, before proceeding to shoot him in the back of the head while the officer lay on the ground.  The defense focused on Landor’s disciplinary jail records to claim he was a controllable inmate who would cease to be a threat if incarcerated.  Conversely, the prosecution pointed to Landor’s criminal record to claim he was beyond reform.
Sources: The Houston Chronicle (TX) 4/9/10 (2010 WLNR 7349225), The Houston Chronicle (TX) 4/10/10 (2010 WLNR 7441438), 4/12/10 AP Alert – TX 22:23:47, The Houston Chronicle (TX) 4/13/10 (2010 WLNR 7732235).

Daniel Lopez – Latino, age 21

Sentenced in Nueces County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: March 11, 2009
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lopez was found guilty of the death of Lt. Stuart Alexander (age 47), as a result of a high-speed chase.  Lopez also received 5 counts of attempted capital murder and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.  Prosecutors say Alexander tried to use spike strips to stop Lopez’s car, which in trying to avoid he struck the officer.  Prosecutors also sought previous charges against Lopez while he was in jail including: assault on a public servant, implements for escape, and having a deadly weapon in a penal institution.  In addition, Lopez was also prosecuted for a sexual assault charge and a felony family violence charge, both that occurred prior to the killing.
Sources: 3/6/10 AP Alert – TX 23:00:37, Corpus Christi Caller Times (Tex.) 3/6/10 AP Alert – TX 13:47:29, San Antonio Express-News 3/7/10 (2010 WLNR 4862461), Corpus Christi Caller Times (Tex.) 3/11/10 (2010 WLNR 5081899).

Blaine Milam – White, age 18

Sentenced in Montgomery County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: December 2008
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Milam was found guilty of using a hammer to murder Amora Bain Carson (age 13 months) during an alleged exorcism.  Carson’s mother, Jesseca Carson (Milam’s girlfriend), is in jail awaiting trial on a capital murder charge.  The couple claimed to have been performing the exorcism to “beat the demons out” of the child.  Milam’s sister, Theresa Shea, testified for the defense that her brother was a passive man who acted like a father to the child and loved her.  Also, Milam’s mother, Shirley Milam, testified that he seemed normal on the phone the night before the murder and that she “would love for her son to come home.”  She also spoke about his problems in school and the family’s decision to pull him out of the fourth grade.  Milam was supposed to have been in jail at the time as a condition of his probation for a second-degree felony conviction of criminal solicitation of a child.  Furthermore, authorities stated Milam “skipped out on a work release program 48 days into a 180-day jail sentence.”
Sources: The Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) 5/3/10 AP Alert – TX 18:02:35, The Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) 5/19/10 AP Alert – TX 16:55:00, The Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) 5/21/10 AP Alert – TX 06:31:53, The Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) 5/21/10 AP Alert – TX 22:00:11, 5/27/10 AP Alert – TX 12:52:58, The Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) 5/28/10 AP Alert – TX 03:16:31.

John Allen Rubio – Latino, age 23

Sentenced in Cameron County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: March 11, 2003
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Rubio was convicted of three counts of capital murder for stabbing, strangling and beheading his three children: Julissa Quezada (age 3), Stephan Rubio (age 1) and Mary Jane Rubio (age 2 months).  Rubio’s common-law wife, Angela Camacho (age 24), was also convicted of the murder of the children and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences with the possibility of parole in 40 years.  Authorities said the couple thought the children were possessed.  Defense attorneys argued Rubio was not guilty be reason of insanity.
Sources: 5/28/04 AP Alert – TX 21:42:47, 1/10/05 AP Alert – TX 09:48:28, N.Y. Times (NY) 7/1/05 (2005 WLNR 10351388), Brownsville Herald (TX) 5/24/10 (2010 WLNR 10711189), Brownsville Herald (TX) 7/12/10 (2010 WLNR 13952958).

John Thuesen – White, age 25

Sentenced in Brazos County, Texas
By: a jury
Date of crime: March 6, 2009
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Thuesen had been in a six-month relationship with Rachel Kate Joiner (age 21) before she asked for some space and began seeing an ex-boyfriend.  One night, Thuesen went to Joiner’s home and shot her when she came home.  Upon hearing the shot, Joiner’s brother, Travis Wilson Joiner (age 23), came out of his room only to be shot by Thuesen three times.  Prosecutors stated Thuesen had a history of violence and shot the brother and sister out of “pure evil, jealousy, possession and anger.”  They also called two of Thuesen’s ex-girlfriends to testify that he had a history of stalking and one testified he had choked her twice, one time leaving her unconscious.  The defense requested for the jurors to show mercy and blamed the murders on a mental illness (post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and dependent personality disorder) that was worsened by Thuesen’s military service in Iraq.  The defense also called Thuesen’s sergeant, Ronnie Townsend, who testified he was an excellent solider and that he began having problems upon returning home from the war.
Sources: The University Wire (TX) 3/9/09 23:57:47, The University Wire (TX) 3/13/09 00:05:56, The Eagle (TX) 5/27/10 (2010 WLNR 10903762), 5/28/10 AP Alert – TX 20:37:39, The Eagle (TX) 5/29/10 (2010 WLNR 11074281).