James Calvert – white, age 41
Sentenced to death in Smith County, Texas
Date of crime: 10/31/12
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Calvert murdered his ex-wife, Jelena Calvert Sriraman, with a gun and kidnapped his son. Calvert thought Sriraman was trying to help Calvert’s other ex-wife in serving court papers. Calvert fired his court-appointed attorney and then decided to defend himself. He waived his Fifth Amendment right then tried to ask for it back. His behavior in court was disruptive. Calvert kidnapped his 4-year-old son and an Amber Alert was issued. Police found a car matching the description in the Amber Alert with different license plates and pulled Calvert over and found a gun in his lap as well as a gun in the back seat by his son. Police had to break the car windows because Calvert was not cooperative. Calvert’s parental rights to both his children were terminated and the kids were placed in the care of Calvert’s cousin.
Sources: Houston Chronicle 9/17/15 (2015 WLNR 27700375), http://www.easttexasmatters.com/news/local-news/jury-sentences-james-calvert-to-death/248008529, http://fusion.net/story/217958/james-calvert-death-penalty-texas-trial/
Gabriel Hall – Asian, age 18
Sentenced to death in Brazos County, Texas
Date of crime: 10/2011
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Hall killed Edwin Shaar, 68 years old, by stabbing him and shooting him in his garage. Then Hall seriously injured Shaar’s wife, Linda, who was 69 years old. Edwin Shaar suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, which sometimes would lock up his legs and prevent him from moving. Linda Shaar was confined to a wheelchair because of a flesh-eating bacteria that affected her leg. Hall stated that he did not know the couple, but just liked the location. He even told the investigator that the reason he killed Shaar was because of his “killer instinct.” The defense tried to argue that Hall should not receive the death sentence because of he suffered from mistreatment by his adoptive mother, Karen Hall. The defense also argued that Hall did not pose a threat to society and there is no evidence of any violent acts in the four years Hall has spent in jail. Prosecutors countered with pictures of shank jail guards found in Hall’s bed and stated that Hall stashed razor blades under his bed.
Sources: The Eagle 10/8/15, The Eagle 12/20/14 (2014 WLNR 36094141), http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/murder-suspect-gabriel-hall-cites-killer-instinct-in-attack-on/article_4e89b031-fd6b-5ee1-951b-0d54bb7c78b7.html