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Texas to execute 300th inmate
Associated Press ^ | March 12, 2003 | Associated Press Staff

Posted on 03/12/2003 8:42:21 AM PST by MeekOneGOP


Texas to execute 300th inmate

03/12/2003

Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - In the 22 years since convicted killer Delma Banks arrived on Texas death row, he's watched 299 prisoners be taken away for execution. Barring a U.S. Supreme Court reprieve, he'll be No. 300 Wednesday night.

"You're talking to men, one day they move them out and they don't return," Banks, 44, condemned for a fatal shooting near Texarkana, recently told the Houston Chronicle.

In spending more than half of his life awaiting lethal injection, Banks has been on death row longer than the 16-year-old victim in his case, Richard Wayne Whitehead, was alive.

Also Online

Texas Executions: Coverage from TXCN.com

Offender profile: Delma Banks

Related links

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Scheduled executions

Offenders on death row

"I'm terribly upset it's gone on for this long period of time," says Larry Whitehead, whose son was gunned down and had his car stolen in 1980. "It's very frustrating and very hard on us and has been for the fact this keeps coming back up."

The 299th execution since Texas resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982 -- and 10th this year -- occurred Tuesday night when Bobby Glen Cook received lethal injection for killing Edwin Holder, 42, a fisherman who was robbed and shot in the head Feb. 6, 1993, while he slept along the Trinity River in Anderson County in East Texas.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals earlier this week refused to block Banks' execution and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles dismissed a petition for commutation and reprieve because it was filed too late.

"Texas is more concerned with compiling execution statistics than pursuing justice," said Rick Halperin, president of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Texas accounts for more than one-third of the 835 executions in the United States since 1976, when the death penalty resumed under a Supreme Court ruling. No other state is even close. Virginia is second with 87.

"We are confident that the United States Supreme Court will intervene and prevent Mr. Banks' execution," said one of Banks' lawyers, George Kendall, whose appeal has drawn support of three former federal judges, including William Sessions, a former FBI director.

Banks' lawyers argued his trial attorney did a lousy job, prosecutors improperly disqualified blacks from his jury and two witnesses against Banks were shaky in a case where Banks should have been found innocent.

"Mr. Banks' case is fraught with the kind of unreliability that we know leads to wrongful convictions," said Kendall, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

In an accompanying brief to the high court, Sessions complained of "uncured constitutional errors in the process through which (Banks) was convicted and sentenced."

The 16-year-old Whitehead, from Wake Village, just west of Texarkana, knew Banks. Both worked together at a restaurant. The night of April 11, 1980, Banks ran into Whitehead and his girlfriend after a high school dance and asked for a ride home. Banks, then 21, bought some beer and the trio went to a park in nearby Nash.

They took the girl home about 11 p.m., then returned to the park, where Whitehead was shot in the head "for the hell of it," Banks said, according to testimony at his trial.

Evidence showed he drove Whitehead's car to Dallas where he dumped it, gave away the pistol and returned home by bus. The car never was found but the .25-caliber pistol was recovered and tied to the slaying. Whitehead's body was found two days later. Banks was arrested in Dallas, where he returned about 10 days later to get a gun so he and two other men could commit some robberies, he said at his trial.

"I have no doubt at all, none at all that he is the murderer," replied James Elliott, a prosecutor at Banks' 1980 trial. "I take absolute and full responsiblity for my part in this case in placing him on death row. That is exactly where he needs to be, in my opinion."

Elliott said Banks, a black man, was left with an all-white trial jury because blacks in the jury pool had to be excused for knowing Banks or his family, that Banks' trial lawyer was the former district attorney in the county and was competent to handle the case, and other witnesses tied Banks to the crime besides one who has submitted an affidavit for Banks' attorneys recanting his trial testimony.

"They want to do all this theatrical stuff but they don't want to talk about the facts of the case," Elliott said of the efforts to spare Banks.

Banks, who dropped out of school in the 11th grade, had no previous criminal record. His father testified at the trial that Banks was a "nice son" who had fallen in with "the wrong bunch."


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews/stories/031303dntexexecute.512f0938.html


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: execution; murder; texas
Delma Banks
AP
Delma Banks

Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice



1 posted on 03/12/2003 8:42:21 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
Yep, another great day down here in Tx. Highs in the mid-70's and partly cloudy. Tomorrow looks to be even better; and the weather looks pretty good too.
2 posted on 03/12/2003 8:45:59 AM PST by Hodar (American's first. .... help the others, after we have helped our own.)
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To: MeeknMing
Does he get a special discount for being the 300th customer?
3 posted on 03/12/2003 8:47:00 AM PST by The_Victor
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To: Sparta; luckodeirish; archy; Houmatt; BJClinton; SpookBrat; bonehead4freedom; ...
Delma Banks
AP
Delma Banks

Texas to execute 300th inmate

Excerpt:

"We are confident that the United States Supreme Court will intervene and prevent Mr. Banks' execution," said one of Banks' lawyers, George Kendall, whose appeal has drawn support of three former federal judges, including William Sessions, a former FBI director.

Banks' lawyers argued his trial attorney did a lousy job, prosecutors improperly disqualified blacks from his jury and two witnesses against Banks were shaky in a case where Banks should have been found innocent.

"Mr. Banks' case is fraught with the kind of unreliability that we know leads to wrongful convictions," said Kendall, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

< snip >

"I have no doubt at all, none at all that he is the murderer," replied James Elliott, a prosecutor at Banks' 1980 trial. "I take absolute and full responsiblity for my part in this case in placing him on death row. That is exactly where he needs to be, in my opinion."

Elliott said Banks, a black man, was left with an all-white trial jury because blacks in the jury pool had to be excused for knowing Banks or his family, that Banks' trial lawyer was the former district attorney in the county and was competent to handle the case, and other witnesses tied Banks to the crime besides one who has submitted an affidavit for Banks' attorneys recanting his trial testimony.

"They want to do all this theatrical stuff but they don't want to talk about the facts of the case," Elliott said of the efforts to spare Banks.




Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my Texas Executions ping list!. . .don't be shy.


4 posted on 03/12/2003 8:47:13 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: The_Victor
Good question! I'm wondering if there'll be balloons and confetti dropping from the ceiling at "check out."
5 posted on 03/12/2003 8:49:16 AM PST by MarineDad
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To: MeeknMing
Most murderers are multiple murderers, but I can say this with assurance: none of those murderers executed by the state of Texas will ever kill anyone again.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason:
http://palaceofreason.com

6 posted on 03/12/2003 8:51:10 AM PST by fporretto (Curmudgeon Emeritus, Palace of Reason)
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To: fporretto
Yup, the recidivism rate of Capital Punishment criminals is exactly ZERO!
7 posted on 03/12/2003 8:52:47 AM PST by keithtoo
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To: yall
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/Pending/03/mar03.htm

Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 12, 2003  Texas  Richard Wayne Whitehead  Delma Banks  pending
Not long before his death, Wayne had bought a 1969 Ford Mustang, which was his pride and joy. He left his parent's home on the night of April 11, 1980 to attend a high school dance. Wayne's body was found on the morning of April 15, 1980. He had been shot three times, twice in the head and once in the upper back. One shot had been fired at a maximum distance of 18 to 24 inches. Several empty beer cans and two spent shell casings were found near the scene. A female friend of Wayne's testified that she was with him during the evening of April 11, 1980. That evening, Wayne was driving his automobile, a 1969 Mustang with a light green colored body. Later, the pair ran into Banks at the local bowling center, and at his suggestion they purchased some beer. Wayne worked with Banks at the local Bonanza Steak House. The three went to the park near Nash, Texas and drank the beer. At approximately 11:00 or 11:15 p.m. Whitehead took the girl home. Another friend testified that Banks and Whitehead visited her at her house around 11:30 p.m. on April 11. They stayed for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. A man who lived about 100 yards from the park in Nash testified that at approximately 4:00 a.m. on April 12, he heard two gun shots. Charles Cook testified that he met Banks on the morning of April 12 in Dallas. Banks was driving a vehicle which had the same description as Whitehead's. Cook and his wife befriended Banks and allowed him to stay with them at Cook's grandfather's home. Cook had noticed a sprinkle of blood on Banks' pants and asked Banks about it. Banks told him that he "shot a white boy." Later that evening, Banks told Cook that he had killed someone. Banks told him he had been riding around with a "white boy" and his girlfriend, and after they took the girl home, he and the boy went to the woods together and drank beer. Banks decided to kill the person "for the hell of it" and take his automobile to Dallas. Cook eventually obtained a pistol and the automobile from Banks. Cook sold the pistol to his neighbor and left the automobile in West Dallas. It was never recovered. The pistol was recovered from the neighbor and was identified through ballistic testing as the murder weapon. Cook's wife and sister testified that they saw Banks driving a green Mustang on April 12. Cook's grandfather stated that Banks stayed at his house for a night or two. Additionally, telephone records reveal that Banks made a collect call home to Texarkana from Cook's grandfather's house during the course of the weekend. Cook's neighbor also testified that he met Banks during the same time. Banks told him he had a little misunderstanding with someone and had broken his jaw or "something like that." Banks did not testify and did not present any evidence during the guilt phase of his trial. At the time of Banks' 1980 capital murder trial, he did not have any previous felony convictions. However, during the punishment phase of trial, the prosecution offered evidence that Banks had pistol-whipped and threatened to kill a man only a few days before Whitehead's death. The State also presented evidence that Banks later attempted to recover the murder weapon so that it could be used in future armed robberies. Banks confirmed both incidents when he testified in his own defense during sentencing proceedings. Banks' sentence had been overturned by a federal judge, but was reinstated by the 5th Circuit court. Bowie County First Assistant District Attorney James Elliott prosecuted Banks in the original trial with then-Bowie County District Attorney Louis Raffaelli. Elliott was prepared to battle the Banks/Whitehead case in Bowie County had the appellate court upheld Folsom's ruling, which ordered a new sentencing trial for Banks. "I entertained a possibility that it would have to be tried over again, both the guilt/innocence phase and the punishment, due to our federal court's ruling. But the thing that makes me most happy about this case is not Delma Banks' death but that the Whiteheads' long nightmare may come to an end in part because of this. I'm sure it has been a long nightmare for them," Elliott said. Larry Whitehead said he and his wife, Jackie, had real fears that Banks would be tried again. He called Folsom's ruling a low point in their family's life. "After 20 years of this battle going for them to overrule it that way, when you try to start to get these people and witnesses together after all these years, it's tough. We actually started to try to track people down," Larry Whitehead said. "I respect a reasonable time to review a case, but 23 years is too long." Elliott said that his investigator on the case is dead. One of two key witnesses is dead. The surviving witness has had numerous felony convictions, which could be problematic for prosecutors. "It would have been difficult but not impossible," Elliott said. He had been with the prosecutor's office for a year and Banks' case was his 1st murder trial. During that trial Elliott handled the technical aspects of the case but has remained involved with it for the past 22 years. "I retired with 23 years of service and this lasted 22," Elliott said. "I did not want to leave this office with this one unresolved. This is almost like a permission slip to let my breath out after 22 years." The Whiteheads have remained in contact with Elliott throughout the years and shared with him their belief that the death sentence would be reinstated after they heard Banks' and the state's arguments before the 5th Circuit in March. "I actually felt pretty good after the hearing in March. My wife and I went to the hearing in March and sat through it. I felt pretty good about the questions that the judges were asking and what was going on at that time. I felt like we would get a favorable decision," Larry Whitehead said. But he says it is still a waiting game as the appeals are not yet exhausted. Larry Whitehead called the 5th Circuit's ruling a major hurdle to overcome. "Getting that overturned and sent back was a big step. We kind of feel now that we're on the downhill of this climb," Larry Whitehead said. Elliott said in all likelihood, Banks' execution will be set for early 2003. Larry Whitehead said he understands the need to set an execution date up to 150 days away to accommodate the time necessary for Banks' final appeals to clear. Elliott said based on the lengthy 5th Circuit ruling, he does not think the court will reverse itself. He and Whitehead also doubt Banks will have any success with the U.S. Supreme Court. Banks has 90 days to petition the nation's high court once the 5th Circuit's ruling becomes final. For the Whiteheads, the appellate ruling does not yet seem real. "We've been disappointed so many times in the past, it's hard to take anything solid anymore. You just kind of wonder what's going to happen. I never expected that it would come up for retrial after 20 years like it did," Larry Whitehead said. He and his wife plan to attend the execution if it is carried out. But that will not totally ease the pain that he says they suffer daily since losing their son 22 years ago. "Of course, nothing will bring our son back, but we do feel that justice needs to be served," Larry Whitehead said. Through the various court battles over the years, Elliott says he has no personal hatred for Banks. "I hate what he did, but I don't hate him," Elliott said. He does not believe the killing was so Banks could steal Whitehead's car. The car was ditched in Dallas. "He says he killed a white kid for the hell of it. I have no idea how Delma Banks felt about white people," Elliott said. But he believes it was cold-blooded since Banks had worked with Whitehead at Bonanza the summer before the murder. Whitehead was giving Banks a ride home on a rainy Friday night after the 2 saw each other at an area bowling alley. It is the victim in the case that makes it personal for Elliott. "I still remember Wayne Whitehead's face and how he looked at death," Elliott said.

8 posted on 03/12/2003 8:54:07 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: MeeknMing
"Race of Victim(s): Unknown"

Odd. How hard would it be to determine that?

9 posted on 03/12/2003 8:56:20 AM PST by Middle Man
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To: MeeknMing
See ya scum-bag............NEXT, number 301 in on deck!
10 posted on 03/12/2003 8:56:23 AM PST by Teetop (democrats....... socialist.........whats the difference?)
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To: MeeknMing
Another day of SCUM protesting for SCUM
that get what they deserve.
To bad old SPARKY is in a museum.
I think they should bring back public
hangings instead of lethal injections.
11 posted on 03/12/2003 9:01:38 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (chIRAQ & sadDAM are bedfellows & clinton is a raping traitor!)
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To: MeeknMing
I listened to NPR yesterday going home from work and they had an article about this case. They played voices from the mother of the perp. and both the victim's parents. It did not mention that the reason was "just for the hell of it." But they did say that Mr. Banks never denied doing it. They want to get him off death row on technicalities. He has been on death row for a murder 22 years go. What kind of a person is it that would kill a friend who was just hanging around? His mother said he was a nice guy and she couldn't see him doing something this. Just a nice guy who would blow away somebody "just for the hell of it?"

What's wrong with this picture?
12 posted on 03/12/2003 9:07:22 AM PST by Only1choice____Freedom
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To: MeeknMing
Texas accounts for more than one-third of the 835 executions in the United States since 1976, when the death penalty resumed under a Supreme Court ruling. No other state is even close. Virginia is second with 87.

Texas has executed 299 with a population of 20,900,000

Virginia has executed 87 with a population of 7,078,000

So Texas has executed 1.43 people per 100,000, while Virginia has executed 1.23 people per 100,000. Sounds pretty close to me.

Sloppy math annoys me.

13 posted on 03/12/2003 9:08:01 AM PST by gridlock (This tag line printed with soy-based electrons on 100% post-consumer ether.)
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To: MeeknMing
Go!, Go!, Go!, Go!.......
14 posted on 03/12/2003 9:10:15 AM PST by brazos.357
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To: Only1choice____Freedom
It was not convincing to me to let this guy live.

He has gone before the courts five times now and he is still on death row.

It also did not show the characterization in the one article above. I think I could have gotten a better idea oand formed a better opinion on the situation with ALL the story instead of the parts they wanted to tell and the parts they had to tell to appear objective.

Image over substance again.

15 posted on 03/12/2003 9:14:34 AM PST by Only1choice____Freedom
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To: gridlock
Yep. Thank you Virginia !

It only stands to reason that a state with the 3rd largest population that ENFORCES its murder laws would have a higher total than other states.

Too bad some of the other high population/high crime rate states don't do that.

16 posted on 03/12/2003 9:17:14 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: MeeknMing
22 years (almost 23) is too long to wait for justice. He did this crime so long ago that back then Saddam Hussein was considered America's ally!
17 posted on 03/12/2003 9:19:10 AM PST by Tall_Texan (Where liberals lead, misery follows.)
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To: MeeknMing
"Texas is more concerned with compiling execution statistics than pursuing justice," said Rick Halperin, president of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

No, I believe that Texas is one of too few states interested in seeing justice fulfilled.

If they would turn their eye like the pious Halperin, Texas would be guilty of "justicide."

18 posted on 03/12/2003 9:22:39 AM PST by A2J (Those who truly understand peace know that its father is war.)
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To: Only1choice____Freedom
I've listened to NPR before. Having done so, I can assure you from reading your posts about their story that their BiaS was showing again . . .
19 posted on 03/12/2003 9:23:41 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: MeeknMing
Wow. The 300th.

Does he get a special prize or something?
20 posted on 03/12/2003 9:24:20 AM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: Poohbah
A box of Cracker Jacks?: "...Peanuts, get a prize".
21 posted on 03/12/2003 9:27:34 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: MeeknMing
Bye Bye Delma!..
22 posted on 03/12/2003 9:30:58 AM PST by arly
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To: Poohbah
I'm picturing the "Titan Man" bit from Amazon Women on the Moon.
23 posted on 03/12/2003 9:34:09 AM PST by Redcloak (All work and no FReep makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no FReep make s Jack a dul boy. Allwork an)
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To: yall
Some folks have told me they are interested in seeing these . . .

Death Row Inmates Final Meal Requests

24 posted on 03/12/2003 9:34:20 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Only1choice____Freedom
His mother said he was a nice guy and she couldn't see him doing something this

Bet he was an 'honors' student before he dropped out too.
25 posted on 03/12/2003 9:35:12 AM PST by johnb838 (ROLL not STROLL. Liberate Iraq. Bomb Saddam, Crap Chiraq)
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To: Redcloak
Same idea here :o)

Sarah Jessica Parker...before we knew she was a complete airhead.
26 posted on 03/12/2003 9:42:11 AM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: MeeknMing
Here's a previous thread I posted on Saturday.

Texas set for 300th execution since revival of death penalty

27 posted on 03/12/2003 10:02:55 AM PST by Paleo Conservative (This space left intentionally blank.)
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To: Paleo Conservative
What I don't get is the racial composition of the jury. I'm white. Does this mean I would judge a black man by different standards versus a white man being charged for the same crime? How ridiculous.
28 posted on 03/12/2003 10:42:54 AM PST by technochick99 (Self defense is a basic human right. http://www.2ASisters.org)
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To: MeeknMing
>>"I've listened to NPR before. Having done so, I can assure you from reading your posts about their story that their BiaS was showing again . . ."

I was amazed that they even gave the opposing opinion this time. They have, in the past, not even mentioned the crime circumstances before. I guess this time it would be impossible with all the press the victim's side has already gotten to ignore it again. I don't like to listen to National Propaganda Reprograming but I want to know what they are saying on all sides. I just can't agree with giving only part of the story.

Before I found the "right wing" news services, I got the impression every day that I was missing something. Now I know what I was missing. And I'm pissed that my tax money goes to these communist orginazations.
29 posted on 03/12/2003 11:51:35 AM PST by Only1choice____Freedom
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To: yall

Supreme Court stays Banks' execution

03/12/2003

Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - The U.S. Supreme Court, acting on appeals that raised questions about the legitimacy of his conviction, granted a last-minute reprieve Wednesday to keep condemned killer Delma Banks from becoming the 300th prisoner executed in Texas.

"I just thank the Lord," Banks said when informed by prison officials about 10 minutes before he could have been moved to the death chamber gurney. "Give Jesus all the credit."

Family members waiting outside the prison Wednesday night jumped joyously and hugged as word spread.

"I wish we could have brought it to a conclusion today," said James Elliott, a prosecutor who helped win Banks' conviction in 1980. "But I've been here 23 years and I'm prepared to stay here to see it through.

Also Online
Texas Talkback: What changes should the state of Texas make to assure that the death penalty is applied fairly?
|
Texas Executions: Coverage from TXCN.com
Offender profile: Delma Banks Jr.
Related links
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Scheduled executions
Offenders on death row
"The Supreme Court needs more time. You really can't draw any conclusion from the granting of a stay."

Banks already had his last meal of two double-meat cheeseburgers and two orders of french fries when the stay came. "It was good," he said before officers returned him the nearly 50 miles east to the Polunsky Unit near Livingston, home of Texas death row.

With the reprieve, condemned murderer Keith Clay now becomes the potential No. 300 with his scheduled March 20 execution.

The court issued Banks' stay, without comment, for the 1980 murder of 16-year-old Richard Wayne Whitehead, a co-worker at a restaurant. Banks shot Whitehead "for the hell of it" after a night of drinking, according to a witness at Banks' trial.

The stay in Banks case will remain in effect until the high court decides whether to review his case. No justices noted objections to the reprieve.

Bank's attorney, George Kendall, drew support of three former federal judges, including William Sessions, a former FBI director, in his appeal.

Texas accounts for more than one-third of the 835 executions in the United States since 1976, when the death penalty resumed under a Supreme Court ruling. Virginia is second with 87.

Convicted murderer Bobby Glen Cook became No. 299 Tuesday night when he was put to death for killing and robbing an East Texas fisherman 10 years ago. It was the 10th execution this year in the state, which is on a pace to top the record 40 injections carried out in 2000.

In spending more than half of his life awaiting lethal injection, Banks was on death row longer than the 16-year-old victim in his case was alive.

"There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that he is guilty," Larry Whitehead, whose son was gunned down at a park near his Texarkana-area home and had his car stolen, said earlier this week. "All these articles about poor Delma, poor Delma and how much of a raw deal he got.

"Stopping a youngster's life at 16 years old is a raw deal."

The Whitehead family was in the prison to witness the execution when the reprieve was granted. They declined to comment.

Banks' lawyers argued his trial attorney did a poor job, prosecutors improperly disqualified blacks from his jury and testimony from two witnesses against Banks was shaky in a case where Banks should have been found innocent.

"Mr. Banks' case is fraught with the kind of unreliability that we know leads to wrongful convictions," said Kendall, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Sessions, in an accompanying brief to the high court, alleged "uncured constitutional errors in the process through which (Banks) was convicted and sentenced."

More than 20 state lawmakers, including Sen. Rodney Ellis, Sen. Jeff Wentworth and Reps. Sylvester Turner and Ron Wilson, had called on Wednesday for Gov. Rick Perry to give Banks a 30-day reprieve.

In two letters to Perry, the lawmakers pointed to problems during Banks' trial and a letter from a group of state representatives said there was perjured testimony in the case.

"We have a moral responsibility to ensure that the death penalty is assessed judiciously," the letter from a several state senators said. "The circumstances surrounding this situation cannot guarantee us a clear conscience."

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals earlier this week refused to block Banks' execution and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles dismissed a petition for commutation and reprieve because it was filed too late.

"Texas is more concerned with compiling execution statistics than pursuing justice," said Rick Halperin, president of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

The 16-year-old Whitehead, from Wake Village, just west of Texarkana, had worked with Banks at a restaurant. The night of April 11, 1980, Banks ran into Whitehead and his girlfriend after a high school dance and asked for a ride home. Banks, then 21, bought some beer and the trio went to a park in nearby Nash.

They took the girl home about 11 p.m., then returned to the park, where Whitehead was shot in the head "for the hell of it," Banks told a witness who testified at his trial.

Evidence showed he drove Whitehead's car to Dallas where he dumped it, gave away the pistol and returned home by bus. Whitehead's body was found two days later. Banks was arrested in Dallas, where he returned about 10 days later to get a gun so he and two other men could commit some robberies, he said at his trial.

The car never was found but Banks led police to the .25-caliber pistol tied to the slaying.

"I have no doubt at all, none at all that he is the murderer," replied Elliott. "I take absolute and full responsibility for my part in this case in placing him on death row. That is exactly where he needs to be, in my opinion."

Elliott said Banks, a black man, was left with an all-white trial jury because blacks in the jury pool had to be excused for knowing Banks or his family, that Banks' trial lawyer was a skilled former district attorney, and other witnesses tied Banks to the crime besides one who has submitted an affidavit for Banks' attorneys recanting his trial testimony.

"The fact of the matter is Delma led police to the murder weapon in Dallas," Elliott said. "Three independent witnesses at the house said that the car was there and Banks was there.

"They (appeals lawyers) want to do all this theatrical stuff but they don't want to talk about the facts of the case."

Banks, who dropped out of school in the 11th grade, had no previous criminal record. His father, testifying at the trial, called him a "nice son" who had fallen in with "the wrong bunch."


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews/stories/031303dntexexecution_stay.15c27.html

30 posted on 03/12/2003 6:48:20 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Sparta; luckodeirish; archy; Houmatt; BJClinton; SpookBrat; bonehead4freedom; ...
Well, stop the presses. #300 will have to wait . . .

Full text on #30.

Supreme Court stays Banks' execution

03/12/2003

Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - The U.S. Supreme Court, acting on appeals that raised questions about the legitimacy of his conviction, granted a last-minute reprieve Wednesday to keep condemned killer Delma Banks from becoming the 300th prisoner executed in Texas.

"I just thank the Lord," Banks said when informed by prison officials about 10 minutes before he could have been moved to the death chamber gurney. "Give Jesus all the credit."

Family members waiting outside the prison Wednesday night jumped joyously and hugged as word spread.

"I wish we could have brought it to a conclusion today," said James Elliott, a prosecutor who helped win Banks' conviction in 1980. "But I've been here 23 years and I'm prepared to stay here to see it through.

Also Online
Texas Talkback: What changes should the state of Texas make to assure that the death penalty is applied fairly?
|
Texas Executions: Coverage from TXCN.com
Offender profile: Delma Banks Jr.
Related links
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Scheduled executions
Offenders on death row
"The Supreme Court needs more time. You really can't draw any conclusion from the granting of a stay."

Banks already had his last meal of two double-meat cheeseburgers and two orders of french fries when the stay came. "It was good," he said before officers returned him the nearly 50 miles east to the Polunsky Unit near Livingston, home of Texas death row.

With the reprieve, condemned murderer Keith Clay now becomes the potential No. 300 with his scheduled March 20 execution.

The court issued Banks' stay, without comment, for the 1980 murder of 16-year-old Richard Wayne Whitehead, a co-worker at a restaurant. Banks shot Whitehead "for the hell of it" after a night of drinking, according to a witness at Banks' trial.

31 posted on 03/12/2003 6:53:52 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: MeeknMing
The man deserves to die, and he deserved it a long time ago. The facts are not in dispute.
32 posted on 03/12/2003 7:03:58 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: MeeknMing
Oh well, he'll get the needle just a little later. But, he will eventually get the needle.
33 posted on 03/12/2003 9:13:41 PM PST by Sparta (I like RINO hunting)
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To: MeeknMing
According to our friends at Justice For All, the next scumbag who's up for number 300 is: (drumroll please)
Date of scheduled execution State Victim name Inmate name Status
March 18, 2003   Texas Tom Varughese
Robert Rios, 32
Maria Elda Isabell Rios, 10
Victor Roberto Rios, 11
 
Keith Clay  pending
A Houston jury deliberated 8 hours before deciding on the death sentence for Keith Bernard Clay, 28, in the murder of Melathethil Tom Varughese. Clay robbed the store in Baytown on Jan. 4, 1994, shot at Varughese 10 times, hitting him 6, then beat him with a pistol, said prosecutor Marie Munier. The jury also heard about an unrelated crime Clay alleged was involved in just a week before the robbery -- the Christmas Eve 1993 murders of a Baytown man and his 2 young children. Clay's co-defendant in that case, Shannon Thomas, is already on death row for those murders. At about 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, 1993, Jose Rios walked into his brother's Baytown home when no one answered his knock on the door. He and his mother, wife and children were visiting the brother's family, bearing Christmas gifts. "I opened the door and saw the Christmas tree with gifts," Rios said. "I opened the door a little more and saw my brother lying on the floor with blood on him." Rios found his brother shot to death on the floor, with a knife in his throat. He called 911, and his wife screamed from upstairs that the children, Maria Elda Isabell Rios, 10, and Victor Roberto Rios, 11, also were dead. Hours before, Thomas, 24, and Clay, 27, burst into the Rios home and bound Roberto Rios with duct tape before stabbing him and shooting him twice in the head. Then the two men went upstairs to the children's bedroom, made them lie face-down on the floor and shot each of them once in the back of the head. Police speculated at the time that that the killings were drug-related. Rios was a drug dealer who mostly sold marijuana. Thomas and Clay apparently had bought drugs from Rios and assumed he would have money in the house. The children probably were killed because they were potential witnesses, according to police. The children's mother was divorced from Rios and lived in Mexico at the time of the killing. The triple murder was unsolved for two years before authorities received a tip after the pair had bragged to friends about the murders. When Thomas and Clay gave statements to police, each admitted having been at the scene but each denied that he was the shooter. Prosecutor Munier said that Thomas did the shooting, but that Clay may have held the children down. In the convenience store robbery and murder, there was witness. Clay went in the store about 8:30 pm. looking more to kill than to rob, Munier said, adding that "it was a vicious, brutal murder, I think not so much for the money, but to prove that he was a killer to his friend." The jury agreed with the prosecution that Clay constituted a future threat to society, and, rejecting the defense's call for a life sentence, returned with a verdict of death.  

34 posted on 03/12/2003 9:16:37 PM PST by Sparta (I like RINO hunting)
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To: MeeknMing
"I just thank the Lord," Banks said when informed by prison officials about 10 minutes before he could have been moved to the death chamber gurney. "Give Jesus all the credit."

Is it me, or is this not blasphemy of the highest order?

35 posted on 03/13/2003 2:46:19 AM PST by Houmatt (Accept no substitutes.)
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To: Sparta
#32-33: Yes, I agree. Justice will be done, just not last night.

Is it just me, or does this seem ironic? We have an appeals process, as well we should. But this guy keeps getting his date with his maker delayed at the last minute. Doesn't that sound like a 'cruel and unusual punishment?' I mean, TWENTY-THREE years since he killed Richard Wayne Whitehead. And NOW this last minute stay. What an emotional roller-coaster that must be for Banks and his family? Seems like an expedited finish would have been more humane to me. But I guess this is the way the LIBS like it? . . .

36 posted on 03/13/2003 5:57:57 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Sparta
Yep. Thanks for the update. The DMN article says March 20th. One week from today . . .

. . .on Dec. 24, 1993, Jose Rios walked into his brother's Baytown home when no one answered his knock on the door. He and his mother, wife and children were visiting the brother's family, bearing Christmas gifts. "I opened the door and saw the Christmas tree with gifts," Rios said. "I opened the door a little more and saw my brother lying on the floor with blood on him." Rios found his brother shot to death on the floor, with a knife in his throat. He called 911, and his wife screamed from upstairs that the children, Maria Elda Isabell Rios, 10, and Victor Roberto Rios, 11, also were dead. Hours before, Thomas, 24, and Clay, 27, burst into the Rios home and bound Roberto Rios with duct tape before stabbing him and shooting him twice in the head. Then the two men went upstairs to the children's bedroom, made them lie face-down on the floor and shot each of them once in the back of the head. . .

You know, every one of these Death Penalty cases that I read are HEINOUS and vicious murders performed by animals. How ANYONE could side with these animals is beyond me. I think that the LIBS that oppose the death penalty either DON'T read about the crimes or don't have a heart . . .
37 posted on 03/13/2003 6:17:14 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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