Arts » Arts Etc.

TEXAS' KILLING MACHINE

by

During the 2001 legislative session, Governor Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have banned the execution of mentally retarded offenders, claiming that there were adequate legal safeguards to protect them. The bill would have allowed a jury to determine if a defendant is mentally retarded and if so, the sentence would be life in prison.

Under the new Supreme Court decision, Texas courts will decide whether an inmate is retarded; since the June ruling, no offenders have been scheduled to be taken off death row due to mental retardation.

Yet in the past 11 years, Texas has killed five men whose IQs indicated they were mentally impaired:

1991 — Ignacio Cuevas, IQ of 61. He was convicted twice of murder and sentenced both times to death. He killed two hostages while trying to escape the Huntsville Prison library.

1995 — Mario Marquez' IQ ranged from 62-66. The jury was not made aware of his mental deficiency. Marquez had a sixth-grade education. He had been convicted of capital murder in Bexar County.

1997 — Terry Washington, who had an IQ between 58-69, stabbed a restaurant manager 85 times and stole $628 from the diner's safe and cash register. He left high school before the 10th grade.

1999 — Charles Boyd, IQ of 64. He strangled and drowned a woman in her bathtub and then stole her 1984 Cadillac. Before he was executed, he said, "I want you all to know I did not do this crime. I wanted to wait for a 30-day stay for a DNA test so you know you who did the crime."

2000 — John Satterwhite had an IQ of 74, which qualifies as a borderline score for mental retardation; he was also schizophrenic. He was convicted of the robbery and slaying of a clerk at the Lone Star Ice and Food Store in San Antonio.

 
feature_cuevas_smalljpg
Ignacio Cuevas: "I'm going to a beautiful place. O.K., Warden, roll 'em." May 23, 1991.

Mario Marquez (photo not available): "Thank you for being my Lord Jesus and Savior and I am ready to come home. Amen." January 17, 1995.

 
feature_washntonjpg
Terry Washington: No last words documented. May 6, 1997

 
feature_boydjpg
Charles Boyd: "I want you all to know I did not do this crime. I wanted to wait for a 30-day stay for a DNA test so you know who did the crime." August 5, 1999

 
feature_satwhitejpg
John Satterwhite: This offender declined to make a last statement. August 16, 2000

comment