"Death row cellphone smuggling figure seeks to end appeals," is by Mike Ward in the Austin American-Statesman.
Richard Tabler, whose threatening calls from a smuggled cellphone prompted an unprecedented lockdown of the Texas prison system five years ago, is asking to end his court appeals and be executed.
“My victim’s family members are being denied the justice they deserve” Tabler, 34, said in a letter to the American-Statesman received Tuesday. The letter parallels an Aug. 13 request he made to the federal court that is handling his appeal in a Killeen double murder case.
So far, his lawyer is opposing Tabler’s request to drop his appeals.
Tabler faces execution for the fatal shootings of Mohammed-Amine Rahmouni, 28, and Haitham Zayed, 25, in 2004 in a remote area of Killeen. Evidence showed Rahmouni was the manager of a strip club who banned Tabler from his place and Zayed was a friend of Rahmouni.
Tabler also has acknowledged killing two dancers from the club. He was charged with those slayings, but was never tried.
He made headlines in October 2008 when he was busted in his death row cell for using a smuggled cellphone to call several people, including state Sen. John Whitmire, who heads the committee that monitors prisons. Those calls prompted a lockdown of the entire prison system that turned up hundreds of contraband cellphones and prompted the installation of security checkpoints and electronic screening equipment at many of Texas’ state prisons.
His appellate attorney, Marcia Widder of Atlanta, referred the Statesman to filings she recently made to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Mr. Tabler previously sought on multiple occasions to waive proceedings in the district court so that he could be executed,” Widder said in a Sept. 6 filing. Based on previous court rulings denying his request, she noted, Tabler’s latest request “should be denied and this case should continue to move forward.”
No execution date has been scheduled for Tabler, whose appeals likely still have years to run. In past court filings, his lawyers have raised questions about whether he is mentally competent to make such a decision.
Earlier coverage of Richard Tabler begins at the link.