July 30



TEXAS----impending execution

Killer in Amarillo robbery to die Thursday


Larry Donnell Davis doesn't deny that less than 4 months after he was
released from prison he was at an Amarillo home participating in a robbery
and beating of the man who lived there.

But Davis insists he wasn't responsible for 26-year-old Michael Barrow's
death, a killing 13 years ago that has left him scheduled for a trip
Thursday evening to the Texas death chamber in Huntsville.

"I'm getting railroaded," Davis, 40, said from a visiting cage outside
death row. "Life (sentence) for robbery, I can accept that. But the dude
wasn't dead. He was stabbing at me and I was kicking him."

Davis said some companions who took a plea deal for lesser sentences
killed Barrow.

"I've been set up the whole time," he said, disagreeing with prosecutors
in Amarillo who said he orchestrated and helped carry out the murder so
his friends could earn a gang tattoo: a teardrop on their faces.

Pat Murphy, an assistant Potter County district attorney who prosecuted
the case, said Davis provided the weapons, showed the accomplices what to
do and took an active role in the killing.

"I kind of referred to him as the coach-killer," Murphy said this week.

Davis would be the 4th Texas inmate executed this year and the 2nd in as
many weeks. Executions were on hold in Texas and around the country for
more than 7 months until the U.S. Supreme Court in April rejected an
appeal from 2 Kentucky prisoners who argued lethal injection was
unconstitutionally cruel.

Texas resumed carrying out executions last month and Davis is among at
least 15 with death dates in the coming months, including 6 in August.

No late appeals were filed to try to stop the execution.

The prosecution case was bolstered by Davis' detailed 14-page confession.

"Certainly he painted himself as a party," said Warren Clark, one of
Davis' trial lawyers. "The state's evidence suggested he acted more than
just a party and took a role in killing.

"It was a brutal homicide - very, very difficult to defend."

According to his confession, Davis told police Barrow's death was a plot
by two friends, brothers Raydon and Donald Drew, who needed money so they
could get the teardrop tattoos, a gang symbol that can represent
involvement in a killing or loss of a loved one in a slaying.

Davis, who has such a tattoo by his eye, supplied the knife and an ice
pick used by Raydon Drew to kill Barrow, the confession said. Davis also
said he held down the victim while Raydon Drew hit Barrow with a pipe,
then ran to the kitchen to get a butcher knife to supply yet another
weapon and instructed Raydon to stand on Barrow's neck to ensure the man
was dead.

"I signed," Davis said of the confession. "I wasn't in my right mind."

Davis' trial lawyers tried to show he was only a passive participant, may
have been guilty of aggravated robbery or murder but not capital murder.
Jurors disagreed.

4 others charged in the case, including the Drew brothers, accepted lesser
sentences, which Clark called "sweetheart deals."

"You have to question why does Larry have to pay the supreme price," Clark
said.

Davis and his accomplices all apparently knew Barrow, whose body was found
by his parents. Police recovered items stolen from the home, mostly
electronics and some jewelry, at pawn shops.

Davis said Barrow had been tied up and worked himself free as he and his
buddies were robbing the place.

"The dude came at me with a knife," he said from death row. "I kicked
wildly. You panic when somebody comes at you.

"They killed the dude," he said of his friends. "They finished him. ... I
don't mind being punished for something I did - not for something I didn't
do."

Davis said he'd lived at a church-run children's home beginning in the
seventh grade and dropped out of school in the 9th grade. The father of 2
boys and 2 girls is divorced. His ex-wife testified against him at his
capital murder trial and told jurors of how he abused her.

Davis 1st went to prison in 1992 with a 2-year term for a weapons and
theft conviction, was released after 5 months, then was returned about a
year later as a parole violator. In May 1994, he was released again, but
was back in prison 6 weeks later after violating parole and picking up a
new 4-year term for theft. He was released on mandatory supervision after
10 months. The Barrow slaying occurred less than 4 months later.

He was accused but never tried for another murder in Dallas, where
authorities said the victim was fatally beaten with the top of a toilet
tank.

2 more executions are set for next week, beginning with Jose Medellin, set
to die Tuesday for his participation in the gang rape and beating deaths
of 2 Houston girls.

(source: Associated Press)

***************

Larry Donell Davis Execution Set for Thursday


An Amarillo man, convicted of murder, will be executed in 2 days.

The State of Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied all appeals from
Larry Donell Davis.

It was back in August of 1995 when Davis murdered Michael Barrow in his
Amarillo home in the 1400 hundred block of Trigg Street.

Davis' execution is set for Thursday at 6 in the evening.

(source: KFDA News)

*************************

Robert Jean has been given an execution date of November 20; it should be
considered serious.

(sources: TDCJ & Rick Halperin)

**************************

Showdown over a Texas execution----The state plans to execute a Mexican
national on Aug. 6, despite objections of the World Court.


The United States is fast approaching a showdown over its commitment to
the rule of international law as Texas prepares to carry out the scheduled
Aug. 5 execution of convicted killer and rapist Jose Medellin.

On July 14, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ordered the US
government to "take all measures necessary" to prevent the execution of
Mr. Medellin and four other Mexican nationals awaiting execution dates on
death row in Texas.

But Medellin is in the custody of Texas authorities, not the federal
government, and the Texas governor says he intends to push forward with
the execution next Tuesday.

Congress could take quick action to defuse the international imbroglio,
but legal analysts say intervening in the Medellin case would be
politically risky for national lawmakers in an election year.

The case highlights a heated debate over the relevance of international
legal rulings in the American justice system. It is a flash point in an
ongoing rivalry pitting American law against international law, and the
controversy is playing out in an emotional case involving race, rape,
murder, and capital punishment Texas-style.

"We don't really care where you are from; if you commit a heinous and
despicable crime you are going to face the ultimate penalty under our
laws," says Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).
"No foreign national is going to receive any additional protection than a
Texas citizen would."

US dispute with Mexico

The Medellin case is at the center of a long-running dispute between
Mexico and the United States over the failure of US officials in the past
to notify the Mexican consulate when Mexican citizens are arrested in the
US. Such notification is required under an international treaty, the
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The US government acknowledged the treaty violations and apologized.

But Mexico wanted more. It took its case to the International Court of
Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court. In 2004, the court sided
with Mexico and ordered the US to conduct special hearings in the Medellin
case and 50 other cases involving Mexicans sentenced to death in various
states. The World Court ordered the American courts to determine whether
the lack of consular notification prejudiced the outcome of any trial. If
so, the conviction and death sentence should be overturned, the court
said.

Following the ruling, the governor of Oklahoma commuted the death sentence
of Mexican national Osvaldo Torres. Mr. Torres is now serving a sentence
of life without the possibility of parole.

But in neighboring Texas, officials have taken a different stance. The
Texas courts ruled in the Medellin case that he is not entitled to a new
round of appeals despite the World Court decision.

Medellin has lived in the US since age 3 and speaks fluent English, but
because he never obtained US citizenship he was entitled to be notified of
his right to consult with Mexican consular officials after his arrest. As
part of his original case, a Texas judge ruled that the lack of consular
notification in Medellin's case had not undercut the fairness of his
trial. But the World Court ordered a new hearing anyway.

In an effort to resolve the international dispute, President Bush issued a
memorandum directing the Texas courts to conduct the new hearings. Again,
Texas refused.

The issue went to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in March that both the
World Court decision and the president's memo were not binding on the
Texas courts. That cleared the way for Medellin's execution.

But it didn't absolve the US government from compliance with the Vienna
Convention on Consular Relations and compliance generally with World Court
decisions enforcing the convention.

"There is no doubt that the US has an international obligation here, and
it sure looks like it won't comply with it," says Duncan Hollis, a
professor and international law expert at Temple University's Beasley
School of Law.

Notorious in Texas

The Medellin case is notorious in Texas. Medellin admitted involvement in
the gang rape and murder of two girls. The girls, ages 14 and 16, took a
shortcut home through the woods, where they were spotted by members of a
street gang. Medellin and other gang members chased the girls, raped them,
and then killed them to prevent them from reporting the crime.

The case is becoming notorious for another reason. It threatens to
undercut US standing in the world by suggesting a lack of respect for the
ICJ, analysts say.

Some legal experts warn that the government's posture could endanger
Americans traveling, living, or working overseas.

"Americans who are detained abroad may well lose the critical protection
of ensured access to United States consular officers," wrote Lucy Reed,
president of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), in a recent
letter to leaders in Congress.

Ms. Reed and nine past presidents of ASIL are urging Congress to quickly
pass legislation to create a legal mechanism to enforce the World Court
ruling.

A measure was introduced in Congress, but there has been no effort to pass
the bill, or even debate it. Analysts say the issue is radioactive in an
election year.

"On the one hand this is a story of international law and treaty
obligations that bind the United States of America," says Professor
Hollis. "On the other hand this is the story of a gangbanger in Texas who
raped and killed 2 teenaged girls."

Hollis adds, "Somebody in Congress may see the value of protecting the
treaty obligations and the national interests of the United States and
also be concerned about the political fallout for voting for a statute
that might be used against them [in an election campaign] because you are
perceived as soft on crime."

(source: Christian Science Monitor)




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