"Death Watch: Chester to die June 12," is by Jordan Smith for the Austin Chronicle.
In all, Elroy Chester is responsible for at least five murders – including the February 1998 murder of a well-regarded Port Arthur fireman, Willie Ryman III, whom Chester shot after Ryman surprised him during a home invasion; Chester had also raped two of Ryman's nieces. For that crime he was sentenced to die.
Indeed, there is no doubt that Chester is a brutal killer, who terrorized Port Arthur during a crime wave that lasted 11 months – in addition to Ryman, he shot and killed at least four other people. What remains in question, however, is whether Chester is mentally retarded. To date, the courts have declared that he is not, meaning he has been cleared to be executed, scheduled now for June 12. He would become the 499th Texas inmate executed since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.
5th Circuit Judge Edith Jones reportedly discussed Chester's case at her UPenn Law appearance, which has resulted in an ethics complaint being filed against her. Chester's attorneys have filed a motion for a stay, citing her comments, in the New Orleans based federal appeals court.
Earlier coverage of the ethics complaint begins at the link. Earlier coverage of Elroy Chester's case and Texas' mental retardation evaluation standards is also available. Related posts are in the mental retardation category index.
Mental retardation is now generally referred to as a developmental or intellectual disability. Because MR has a specific meaning with respect to capital cases, I continue to use the older term at this website. More on Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court's 2002 ruling banning the execution of those with mental retardation, is via Oyez.
If Elroy is executed, it would be Texas' seventh execution of 2013; the 499th post-Furman Texas execution since 1982, To date, there have been 13 executions in American death penalty states this year; a total of 1,333 post-Furman executions since 1977.
Euro News posts, "Support for death penalty stable in US as Texas approaches 500th execution," by Dr. Stefan Grobe.
Texas is moving closer to an unflattering jubilee: the 500th execution since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 – barring any last-minute stays or reprieves. This Wednesday, June 12, Texas will execute its 499th person, and execution no. 500 is scheduled for June 26. Texas uses the death penalty more than any other state, and the competition does not even come close.
No. 2 on the execution list is Virginia, which has killed 110 people – and only five since 2010. Texas has executed more people than the next six states (Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, Alabama and Georgia) combined. It wasn’t always so. Texas executed fewer than 10 people a year until 1992, when executions spiked under then-Governor Ann Richards. They peaked under George W. Bush, who sent 37 people to the death chamber in 1997 and 40 in 2000.
According to TDCJ, eight additional Texas execution dates have been set for 2013.