Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–Less than two weeks after convicted killer Randall Wayne Mays was denied his latest challenge to his conviction by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Carter Tarrance of the 392nd District Court set his execution date for March 18, 2015. Tarrance, who presided over the trial, signed the execution order and death warrant on July 10.
Mays was not brought in from death row, nor was there a court hearing. “The law does not require the judge to hold a hearing in order to set an execution date,” District Attorney Scott McKee said. “As soon as notice that the Fifth Circuit refused to grant Mays a Certificate of Appealability (COA), we filed a motion to set an execution date,” he explained. McKee indicated that this was the first available date provided to him from TDCJ through the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
The United States Supreme Court refused to grant a review of Mays’ appeal in October of 2011 and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied his Federal writ of habeas corpus in December of 2013.
Mays’ latest legal challenge involved a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Federal court last December in an attempt to gain what’s known as a Certificate of Appealability (COA) for his case. The suit was partly based on assertions that Mays is mentally handicapped, therefore, the State of Texas should not be allowed to execute him.
The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prior cases establish a precedent that the mentally handicapped do not receive an absolute constitutional protection from death penalty laws. As a result, the judges denied his request for a COA.
This is the second execution date set for Mays. Texas law mandates that a court cannot set an execution date until the convict has exhausted his State Appeals and State writ of habeas corpus. In May 2011, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to set the execution date before Mays filed his Federal writ of habeas corpus. Although his defense team fought the motion, the Court set the date for Aug. 23, 2011.
Mays is convicted of killing Henderson County deputies Paul Habelt and Tony Ogburn, when they responded to Mays’ Payne Springs ranch on a domestic call May 17, 2007.
Posted by : July 17, 2014| On :
Special to The Monitor
Posted by : July 13, 2014| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Briefly Thursday, sheriff’s deputies set up a checkpoint at the entrance of Bonita Point Subdivision for vehicles exiting the housing development.
Henderson County Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse was on scene chasing down a robbery suspect, reported at 1 a.m.
The attendant of a gaming establishment near Eustace on U.S. 175 reported being robbed of a large amount of cash. The description of the couple included a white Chrysler minivan. Deputies were on the lookout for the vehicle and spotted it around 8 a.m. Thursday on Sailfish Road and began surveillance.
At 10 a.m., they attempted to make the arrest.
Erica Gill was safely taken into custody. However, the male suspect identified as Manuel Hernandez crashed through a window and took off running.
Officers began to form a perimeter and called for extra manpower fromo Gun Barrel City Police Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, Texas and Wildlife game wardens, neighboring county sheriff’s offices and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which sent out a dog team.
“We kept a pretty tight perimeter,” Hillhouse said.
Hillhouse also sought assistance from the Henderson County District Attorney’s Office for investigators.
Officers also manned a checkpoint to insure the suspect would not escape in a departing vehicle.
During the robbery, Hernandez alluded to having a weapon.
In addition to searching for Hernandez, investigators learned the suspect had an outstanding drug warrant from Dallas County.
A search warrant was sought and granted for the residence as well as any vehicles on the property for evidence of the robbery.
At around 2:11 p.m. a man was spotted in Cedar Creek Lake in the direction that the suspect had fled.
Around that same time a fishing tour boat from BigCrappie.com was seen in the vicinity, having recently completed a guided tour. The boat operator assisted officers in getting out into the water where the man was and they were able to apprehend the suspect. No bonds had been set by press time.
The robbery is still under investigation. Both suspects were charged with robbery, and Hernandez was also charged with evading arrest.
Posted by : July 10, 2014| On :
Asked Dallas church members for help after being stabbed
Monitor Staff Reports
DALLAS–Linton Daniel Wilgus, 44, of Henderson County, died Monday morning at a Dallas church after claiming to having been stabbed.
Wilgus reportedly drove to Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship asking for help but later became combative and lunged at church members.
Church members called for help around 6 a.m. but Wilgus died before Dallas Police and Fire-Rescue arrived. Police said Wilgus had puncture wounds to his neck.
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Senior Pastor Dr. Tony Evans says Wilgus was not a member of the church.
Records show Wilgus has ties to the Murchison area and arrest records in Cherokee, Henderson, Smith and Ward counties.
Police towed an older-model Ford Mustang, belonging to another Henderson County resident, from the scene.
The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the cause of death.