Archive for October 2017

2 Texas inmates set to die this month lose at Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused appeals from two convicted killers facing execution in Texas this month, including one inmate set to die next week.

The high court, without comment, declined to review appeals from death row inmates Robert Pruett and Anthony Shore.

Pruett, 38, is set to die Oct. 12 for the fatal 1999 stabbing of a corrections officer at a South Texas prison where he already was serving a 99-year sentence for his involvement in another killing. Shore, 55, is scheduled for lethal injection Oct. 18 for the 1992 slaying of a 21-year-old woman in Houston.

Pruett’s attorneys have long questioned the evidence in his case. They have sought additional DNA testing of evidence used to convict him of the December 1999 killing of Daniel Nagle, a 37-year-old officer at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s McConnell Unit near Beeville, about 85 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Pruett was serving 99 years for murder at the prison for participating with his father and a brother in a neighbor’s slaying. Evidence showed the killing of the corrections officer stemmed from a dispute over a peanut butter sandwich that Pruett wanted to take into a prison recreation yard in violation of rules. Pruett testified at his 2002 trial in Corpus Christi that he was innocent in Nagle’s death.

His attorney, David Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston, did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment Monday.

In 2015, Pruett came within hours of execution before his punishment was stopped by a state judge.

Shore, who confessed to killing the 21-year-old woman, two teenage girls and a 9-year-old girl, is known in Houston as the "Tourniquet Killer" because his victims were tortured and strangled with handmade tourniquets.

The slayings connected to Shore went unsolved for years until DNA evidence linked him to the sexual assault of two relatives who were juveniles. He subsequently confessed to the killings and was convicted in 2004 in the slaying of 21-year-old Maria del Carmen Estrada. Her body was found in 1992 in the drive-thru lane of a Dairy Queen.

Shore’s lawyer, Knox Nunnally, had hoped his client’s death sentence could be reduced to life in prison. He has said Shore suffered from traumatic brain injury.

Nunnally didn’t immediately respond to a call for comment on the Supreme Court ruling.

The justices on Monday also refused the appeals of three other Texas death row inmates: Kwame Rockwell of Fort Worth; Jaime Cole, from Ecuador and convicted in Houston; and Garcia White of Houston. None of them has an execution date.

Rockwell, 41, received a death sentence for the 2010 killing of 22-year-old Fort Worth convenience store clerk Daniel Rojas during a robbery. A bread deliveryman also was killed in the holdup.

Cole, 47, was sent to death row for the fatal 2010 shootings of his estranged wife, Melissa Cole, 31, and her 15-year-old daughter, Alecia Castillo, at their apartment in Houston.

White, 54, was convicted in the fatal stabbings of twin 16-year-old sisters, Annette and Bernette Edwards, in 1989 in Houston. He was charged but not tried for killing their mother, and was linked to two other slayings.

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