Skip to comments.Ex-pizza delivery man set to die
Posted on 01/13/2004 3:54:20 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
Ex-pizza delivery man set to die
03:03 PM CST on Tuesday, January 13, 2004
HUNTSVILLE, Texas - It was two weeks before Christmas and the holiday lights were glowing outside the rural home of Richard and Helen Ayers when two young men knocked on the door.
Their car stalled and they needed jumper cables, the men told the couple in the house near Prosper, about 30 miles north of Dallas in Collin County.
After Richard Ayers invited the pair inside to keep warm, two more young men barged into the house, armed with guns. Ayers was ordered to turn over his wallet and his wife forced to surrender her purse. They were herded into a bedroom, told to lie face down on a mattress and were shot.
Helen Ayers, 54, was killed. Her 58-year-old husband was seriously wounded.
One of the four men convicted of the woman's slaying, Kenneth Eugene Bruce, who was 19 at the time of the 1990 attack, faced execution Wednesday night.
Bruce, now 32, would be the second Texas inmate put to death this year.
"It was a very ugly, horrible, senseless crime," says Bryan Clayton, who was an assistant district attorney in Collin County and prosecuted Bruce. "They stole some jewelry and small things like that. Within an hour, they had discarded the items on the side of the road."
The jewelry was inexpensive. The cash stolen amounted to less than $10.
Texas Executions: Coverage from TXCN.com Offender profile: Kenneth Eugene Bruce Related links Texas Department of Criminal Justice Scheduled executions Offenders on death row
"It didn't make much sense," Clayton said.
Richard Ayers, paralyzed after being shot in the back, remained on the floor for some three hours next to his dead wife until their son arrived home from work and found the carnage.
Two of the four, Eric Lynn Moore and Sam Andrews, turned themselves in to authorities within days. Bruce and his cousin, Anthony Quinn Bruce, then 15, were arrested four days after the attack.
Kenneth Bruce and Moore each received the death penalty. The two others got life terms.
Richard Ayers, confined to a wheelchair, testified against each of them at their trials.
"They were out in a car one night and looking for somebody to rob," Clayton said. "There was some testimony at one of the trials that since the house had pretty Christmas lights, the people there must be rich."
Bruce, working as a pizza delivery driver when the crime occurred, declined to speak to reporters from death row. On a Web site where prisoners seek pen pals, he described himself as a song writer and poet interested in sports, reading and music.
His lawyers were seeking a U.S. Supreme Court review of his case. In other appeals, his attorneys raised questions challenging the instructions given to jurors at his trial.
Defense lawyers also were questioning the constitutionality of the drugs used in lethal injection, contending in their appeals the drugs resulted in cruel and unusual punishment when administered to a prisoner.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, refused Tuesday to stop the execution and rejected Bruce's appeal of a lower court's dismissal of the drug suit.
"One thing that makes it hard to figure out what's going on is the issue truly is a procedural issue, not a substantive issue," said David Dow, a University of Houston law professor involved in the Bruce case and two other Texas cases in which the drug question was raised and executions were put off last month.
The 5th Circuit subsequently declined to rule on an appeal refiled in those cases and execution dates for those two inmates were reset.
"None of these guys is challenging the legality of the conviction or sentence," Dow said Tuesday. "They're all saying you can execute me but just can't torture me. The question is how to get a court to address this."
The two inmates who won delays in December would follow Bruce to the Texas death chamber.
Kevin Lee Zimmerman, 42, has a Jan. 21 date for a fatal stabbing during a robbery at a Beaumont hotel in 1987.
Billy Frank Vickers, 58, has a Jan. 28 date for fatally shooting a North Texas grocery store owner during a botched robbery attempt almost 11 years ago.
Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews/stories/011304dntexexecute.10fe8f33.html
Relationship changed. I got married and MeeknMing wasn't appropriate anymore.
MeekOneGOP also decribes me better on this forum. I vote straight ticket GOP ...
Hehe. If I were to follow your lead I might change mine to AAABESt_I'm_not_so_sure_anymore.
hehe ! I think there is a boatload of folks here on FR lately with that feeling. :O)
Hang in there, friend! And thanks.
And don't wet the sponge.
I agree. So why is Sadam being accorded "prisoner of war" status?
The mention of senseless killers brought that to mind. Probably off point but just had to say it.
Here's a true classic -- Anything To Save A Killer.
Thanks for the link. Bumping this so I can come back to it later.
Heading out here shortly for a while today. See ya'll later on ...
A-HA! Someone else is a fan of Stephen King's "The Green Mile" :~D
Man ! Lying and the guy got off ? Sheesh !