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April 26, 2018

Texas completes its fifth execution of 2018

As reported in this AP piece, a "prisoner on Texas death row for killing a 5-year-old girl and her grandmother in a gang-related shooting at a child's birthday party in Fort Worth a decade ago was executed Wednesday evening." Here are a few more details about the execution and the defendant's crimes:

Erick Davila received lethal injection for using a laser-sighted semi-automatic rifle to spray bullets at about 20 people — more than a dozen of them children. Annette Stevenson, 48, and her granddaughter, Queshawn Stevenson, were killed and four others were wounded, including the girl who was celebrating her 9th birthday.

Davila, 31, belted to a gurney in the Texas death chamber, offered no apologies. He appeared almost cocky as several relatives of his victims entered the witness area of the death chamber, raising his head off the gurney and acknowledging some that he appeared to know. "I may have lost the fight but I'm still a soldier," he said when asked by the warden if he wanted to make a statement. "Take it as it is. To my supporters and family, y'all hold it down. Ten toes down. That's all I got to say."

He was pronounced dead at 6:31 p.m. CDT, 14 minutes after the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital was administered. Davila was the ninth prisoner executed in the U.S. this year, five of them in Texas.

Authorities said the April 6, 2008, attack was in apparent retaliation for a previous run-in Davila had with the slain girl's father, who was attending the party.  The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Davila's lawyers about 30 minutes before the punishment was carried out....

Defense lawyers at Davila's trial tried to show he didn't intend to kill multiple people, a criterion for the capital murder charge.  They argued he instead only intended to kill Jerry Stevenson, whose daughter and mother were shot to death. Authorities said Stevenson belonged to a rival gang and that Davila believed members of that gang shot him in 2005. Stevenson denied belonging to the gang.

Davila was accused but not tried in another fatal shooting just days before the birthday party slayings. While awaiting trial for capital murder, he also attacked Tarrant County jailers and maintenance workers during an escape attempt.  He previously served prison time for a 2004 burglary in Tarrant County and was released after about a year.

April 26, 2018 at 08:42 AM | Permalink

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