Tribpedia: Death Penalty

Tribpedia

The death penalty is the ultimate punishment for capital murder convictions in Texas, which leads the nation in the number of executions since the practice resumed in 1976.

The state has adopted various methods to administer the death penalty over the years, including hanging (1819-1923), electrocution (1924-1964) and lethal injection (1977-today), according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's ...

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Looking Back on a Life as a Death House Warden

Jim Willett is the director of the Texas Prison Museum and was a warden at the Walls Unit who oversaw 89 executions by lethal injection. He sits in a replica cell within the museum.
Jim Willett is the director of the Texas Prison Museum and was a warden at the Walls Unit who oversaw 89 executions by lethal injection. He sits in a replica cell within the museum.

Jim Willett had not intended to spend the better part of his adult life working in Texas’ sprawling prison system. But the business student turned prison guard worked 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and oversaw 89 executions. Now, a decade into his retirement, he still spends his days surrounded by mementos of lives spent behind razor wire, steel bars and thick brick walls.

Rev. Carroll Pickett holds the world record for witnessing the most state executions as a chaplain. He saw 95 men die by lethal injection during his career as the death house chaplain.

Rev. Carroll Pickett: The TT Interview

The onetime death house chaplain on what it was like to witness the most state executions of anyone in his job (95, by lethal injection), what changed his mind about the death penalty and why lawmakers should continue to fund the chaplain program.

Timothy Wayne Adams, convicted of murdering his 19-month-old son, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22, 2011.
Timothy Wayne Adams, convicted of murdering his 19-month-old son, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22, 2011.

Religious Leaders Advocate for Ex-Veteran's Clemency

Today, a week before his son is scheduled to die, Columbus Adams and a host of religious leaders asked the state to forgive Timothy Adams. His son, he said, never committed a crime before the day he lost control during an argument with his wife and killed their son.

Timothy Wayne Adams, convicted of murdering his 19-month-old son, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22, 2011.
Timothy Wayne Adams, convicted of murdering his 19-month-old son, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22, 2011.

Veteran Who Shot Baby Seeks Clemency

He was an Army veteran and a Houston security guard who had never been arrested until February 2002, when a fight with his wife sent Timothy Adams into a suicidal spiral. During a stand-off with police, Adams fatally shot his 19-month-old son twice in the chest — landing him a spot on death row.

Judge to Rule on Death Penalty Constitutionality

Harris County District Judge Kevin Fine is set to hold a hearing Monday in the case of John Edward Green, who is charged with fatally shooting a Houston woman during a robbery in June 2008. Green’s attorneys and capital punishment opponents want Fine to find that prosecutors can’t seek the death penalty because the way we administer it in Texas is unconstitutional. “The current system is profoundly and fundamentally flawed from top to bottom,” says Andrea Keilen, executive director of the Texas Defender Service. Prosecutors counter that the ruling should be made by higher courts, not a trial judge.

An Interview with Texas Judge Sharon Keller

The soft-spoken and — until now — media-shy presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals sat down with The Texas Tribune last week to talk about capital punishment in Texas, what she was doing on the afternoon she closed her office at 5 p.m. to a last-minute death row appeal, the flaws in the way the state sanctions judges, what it's like to be known as Sharon “Killer” Keller and the "ridiculous" idea that she doesn't care about defendants or indigent defense.
The soft-spoken and — until now — media-shy presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals sat down with The Texas Tribune last week to talk about capital punishment in Texas, what she was doing on the afternoon she closed her office at 5 p.m. to a last-minute death row appeal, the flaws in the way the state sanctions judges, what it's like to be known as Sharon “Killer” Keller and the "ridiculous" idea that she doesn't care about defendants or indigent defense.

An Interview With Judge Sharon Keller

The soft-spoken and — until now — media-shy presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals sat down with The Texas Tribune last week to talk about capital punishment in Texas, what she was doing on the afternoon she closed her office at 5 p.m. to a last-minute death row appeal, the flaws in the way the state sanctions judges, what it's like to be known as Sharon “Killer” Keller and the "ridiculous" idea that she doesn't care about defendants or indigent defense.

Supreme Court Hears Texas Death Penalty DNA Case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard testimony Wednesday in a case that could have far-reaching ramifications for criminal justice nationally. Lawyers for Henry “Hank” Skinner maintain that the Texas death row inmate has a civil right to access DNA evidence that could exonerate him in the 1993 murders of his live-in girlfriend and her two sons. Lawyers for the state argue that Skinner exhausted his opportunity to analyze potentially exculpatory evidence when his defense team declined to request testing at his original trial, fearing that the results might be incriminating.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/20/10

Aguilar on Mexican journalists in grave danger, Galbraith on the continuing saga of Texas vs. the EPA, Ramshaw on whether a broken hospital bed constitutes medical malpractice, M. Smith on the latest delay in the Cameron Todd Willingham case, Hamilton interviews a Sarah Palin-approved GOP candidate for Congress, Stiles goes all interactive in chronicling the massive increase in legislative filings in the last 20 years, Grissom talks about the criminalization of mental illness with an author who knows the subject first-hand, Philpott on closing the budget gap without federal stimulus money, Ramsey on everyone ignoring down-ballot candidates, Hu on the mysterious lack of Rick Perry yard signs and yours truly sits down with the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor: The best of our best from September 20 to 24, 2010.