Skip to comments.Harris County killer's execution delayed (TX)
Posted on 09/25/2007 6:26:46 PM PDT by Dubya
HUNTSVILLE More than two decades after a mother of seven was attacked and killed inside her Harris County home, the man convicted of her slaying was taken to the Texas death house Tuesday evening for execution.
Michael Richard, 49, who had at least five felony convictions and had been released from his second prison term just eight weeks before the 1986 murder of Marguerite Lucille Dixon, would be the 26th Texas inmate executed this year.
Dixon, 53, who worked as a nurse, had offered Richard a drink of water after he came up to her house and inquired whether a van parked outside was for sale. The vehicle wasn't and Richard left, noticing that two of Dixon's children who were home at the time left shortly after he did. Evidence showed he returned, raped the woman, fatally shot her, then stole two televisions and drove off in the van.
Lawyers for Richard went to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the lethal injection be halted because of claims Richard was mentally retarded but justices rejected the appeal late Tuesday afternoon. Attorneys then filed late motions in state courts to try to stop the punishment and the execution was delayed beyond the 6 p.m. CDT time it could take place. The death warrant remained in effect until midnight.
The legal wrangling came following a Supreme Court decision earlier Tuesday to consider the constitutionality of lethal injection in a Kentucky case. Gov. Rick Perry's office, however, said Richard's execution should go forward as planned.
Richard acknowledged being at Dixon's home in Hockley, in far northwest Harris County, accounting for his fingerprint on a sliding glass door. But he insisted he wasn't responsible for the woman's death.
"I did things in my life I deserved to be locked up for," he said last week from death row. "But I didn't kill anybody.
"I went by that house, true enough, asked to buy a car, and I left."
The van was found abandoned in Houston, about 30 miles to the southeast, and Richard later took officers to where he gave the .25-caliber pistol used in Dixon's death to a friend. Evidence showed he swapped the TVs for some cocaine.
Two of Dixon's children found a sliding glass door open and the house dark and ransacked when they returned and found their mother's body in her bed and covered with paper and clothing. The fingerprint on the glass door led police to Richard, who confessed the shooting was an accident. From prison, he said the confession wasn't his.
"It really surprises me something has not been done in this case to bring some finality," Lee Coffee, who prosecuted Richard in 1987, said. "Either carry out the punishment or some court conclude he should not be subject to the death penalty, but something should have been resolved many years ago.
"This is one of the things why the general public is frustrated with the criminal justice system," said Coffee, who is now a judge in Memphis, Tenn.
Richard was convicted and sentenced to death in 1987. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out his conviction in 1992 because jurors improperly were not allowed to consider evidence that as a child Richard had been abused. In 1995, a second jury convicted him again and again sentenced him to die.
At least one psychological assessment of Richard two years ago put his IQ at 64, well under the 70 considered the threshold of retardation. In March, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed a judge's finding that Richard was not mentally retarded and his execution date.
"I've been here forever," Richard said from death row, where he is known as "Louisiana Red." "I just try to live for every day. Everybody's going to die. I just know the date."
Richard first went to prison in 1978 with a six-year term for burglary. He was paroled about three years later, then returned to prison in 1985 with a five-year sentence for theft and forgery. He was released on mandatory supervision after 17 months. Dixon's slaying occurred eight weeks later.
He was the first of two Texas inmates scheduled to die this week. On Thursday, a Dallas man, Carlton Turner, 28, is set to die for killing his parents in 1998.
Knowing Texas, Im sure the delay will be short.
I never hear about it in Florida any more, so I guess that it just died out. :)
In Texas, they would go through a lot of candles.
‘claims Richard was mentally retarded’
That statement is degrading to mentally handicapped people.
Ever since Dubya was elected President, coverage of Texas executions has declined by about 99.95%. Who knew they even HAD capital punishment in Texas anymore?;)
Knowing Texas, Im sure the >delay will be short.
Got that right. He is dead.
Thrown out because the jury wasn't allowed to consider evidence he was abused as a child? What the heck difference does that make? Does it make the victim any less dead or raped? Does it make her children any less motherless?
And he tried to appeal on the grounds of being mentally retarded? He schemed the whole thing up, staked out the home, waited for the children to leave, raped the victim, shot her, ransacked the home, took property (2 television sets), drove the van away, traded the TVs for cocaine, gave the murder weapon away, and still wants to claim that both he was retarded, and that he didn't do any of it (nor confess)...
The only objection I have is the wimpy method of execution. If only the victim had been shown as much "humane treatment" as those executed now are.
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