Tag Archives: Texas Executions

Today in Texas History – December 7

From the Annals of the Death House –   In 1982, Texas became the first state to use lethal injection to execute prisoners. The lethal dose was an intravenous injection of sodium pentathol – a barbiturate that is known as a “truth serum” when administered in lesser doses. Texas adopted the lethal injection procedure as a supposedly more humane method of executing those convicted of capital crimes.  Over the next few years, 32 other states, the federal government, and the U.S. military all began using various forms of lethal injection to execute prisoners.

Charlie Brooks Jr., convicted for the murder of David Gregory, was the first prisoner in the U.S. to be executed by injection at the Walls Unit in Huntsville.  Gregory, an auto mechanic at a used car lot, accompanied Brooks on a supposed test drive of a car.  However, Brooks took Gregory back to a motel where he was hanging out and shooting heroin with Woody Lourdes and his girlfriend Marlene Smith after engaging in a shoplifting spree.  Brooks shot and killed Gregory in an almost absurdly amateurish manner.  Lourdes had informed the hotel manager that they had a man in the room who was bound and gagged and that they were going to have to kill him while pointing a revolver at the manager and telling her that he would kill her too if she talked.  As such, the crime was easily discovered and solved.  Brooks was sentenced to death.  Lourdes was also sentenced to death but his conviction was reversed and he reached a plea deal to serve 40 years.   David Gregory left behind a wife and young son.

Is Texas Still Executing the Innocent?

This month Texas executed 67 year-old Lester Bower after 31 years on Death Row.  Bower, a devout Baptist, husband and father of two  daughters had never been in the slightest bit of legal trouble when he was arrested, tried and convicted for allegedly killing 4 men in an aircraft hangar on a ranch near Sherman.  The prosecution’s theory was that he killed the men to cover up his theft of a $3000 ultralight aircraft.  Bower appears to have been in the wrong place shortly before the wrong time and compounded his problem by foolishly attempting to keep his wife from learning about buying the aircraft. Many now think that there is no way that Bower would have been convicted if the current evidence had been available at trial. Several witnesses have came forward to implicate four other men for the killings which probably occurred as a result of a drug deal gone bad.  But without clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence, Bower was out of luck and on the wrong side of the legal system.   Politico reports on the most recent execution of another possibly innocent man.