(last update: August, 20, 2002)
Today Texas killed my beloved husband Gary. At 6:22 PM he was pronounced dead. They may have killed his beautiful body, but they can't kill the spirit and love.
Gary's last words were:
Yes, sir. To the victim's family, I'm sorry for what was taken from you. I hope you find peace. To my sweet Claudia, I love you. Stay strong, keep building, and be careful. Be careful. I love you. I'm through. I hope this brings closure to the victims family and everybody. I feel it burning. I'm getting really dizzy now.
(July, 11, 2002)
THE NEW JUDGE DID NOT WASTE ANY TIME. THEY SET A NEW EXECUTION DATE FOR GARY AND SCHEDULED HIM TO DIE FOR AUGUST 20, 2002.
(July, 10, 2002)
Court lifts stay of execution for Etheridge
ANGLETON: Prosecutors will ask a retired district court judge to set another execution date for Gary Wayne Etheridge, now that the state appeals court has lifted a procedural barrier.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has lifted the stay of execution it imposed days before Etheridge was scheduled to die for the 1990 murder of Richwood teen-ager Christie Chauviere, who was stabbed repeatedly and left for dead during a robbery of her home.
The court vacated the stay late last month, just after District Judge J. Ray Gayle III removed himself from any further involvement in the Death Row inmate's case.
Etheridge had been scheduled for lethal injection on June 27, but won a reprieve from the state appeals court after his attorneys complained Gayle was biased because he had called Etheridge a "piece of trash" when he was sentenced to death almost 12 years ago.
Gayle recused himself and asked that another judge be assigned, in order to expedite Etheridge?s execution.
With Gayle off the case, the appellate court removed its objection to the execution.
District Attorney Jeri Yenne heard the news this week and said her office will request another execution date. She could not estimate how long that could take.
Assistant District Attorney David Bosserman said he will contact the attorney general's office to determine available execution dates.
Retired District Judge Ogden Bass, appointed after Gayle removed himself from the case, must sign the order at least 31 days before an execution date.
Etheridge's attorney, Jim Marcus, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Marcus has said he will file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court on Etheridge's behalf. That appeal will allege jurors deciding his fate should have heard evidence of abuse Etheridge suffered as a child.
A jury chose death for Etheridge after convicting him of the 1990 murder in Christie Chauviere's death. Christie's mother Gail was stabbed repeatedly in the robbery attempt that killed her daughter, but she survived to identify Etheridge as the assailant. Gail Chauviere died three years ago from complications of injuries suffered in the attack.
Last month's delay was the second time Etheridge won a reprieve within days of execution. In November 2000, Etheridge was two days away from lethal injection when the state Court of Criminal Appeals granted an indefinite stay, to allow time to consider competency of an attorney who represented Etheridge at a critical point in his appeal.
(source: The Facts)
(June 25, 2002)
TEXAS:---stay of execution Etheridge execution on hold
The state appeals court on Monday delayed Gary Wayne Etheridge's execution based on claims the judge who once called him a piece of trash should not have signed the execution order.
Etheridge was scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday for the 1990 murder of Richwood teen-ager Christie Chauviere.
It is the second time Etheridge has won a reprieve within days of a scheduled execution. The first was in November 2000.
The court stopped the execution this time based on an argument filed last week by Etheridge attorney Jim Marcus. The filing claims District Judge J. Ray Gayle III had no right to set the date because he had recused himself from part of the case before and had another defense recusal request pending.
The state Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday delayed the execution to have time to hear the argument. However, a footnote to the order explains that it does not prevent Gayle from "taking any appropriate action" to recuse himself.
Marcus claims Gayle is biased against Etheridge because when he accepted a jury's recommendation and sentenced Etheridge to death in 1990, Gayle called him a "piece of trash" and "blight on society."
Gayle later removed himself from hearing evidence in an appellate hearing but said that should not have prevented him from signing the death warrant.
Gayle would not say Monday whether he will recuse himself now, but said he will make a decision today.
If Gayle does remove himself from the case, the county's administrative judge would appoint another judge who would sign the death warrant.
"I believe it's a technicality," said District Attorney Jeri Yenne.
Yenne said it is unclear how long it will take to set another execution date, but her office will request one soon.
Marcus said the court would have to remove the stay before another execution date could be set.
"This case is very clear-cut," said Marcus, who is with the non-profit Texas Defender Service. "Judge Gayle clearly didn't have any authority to do what he did."
Carolyn Barrett, Christie Chauviere's sister, was discouraged but not surprised at news the execution was delayed again. She would not lay odds on when another date will be set.
"It has taken us two years to get another one, so I really don't know," Barrett said. "It questions your faith in the Texas justice system."
Barrett questions the importance of Gayle's comments after Etheridge's sentencing. Comments Etheridge made to Gail Chauviere as he left the courtroom that same day are more important, Barrett said.
"Gary looked at my mother and said 'We are all going to die someday,'" Barrett said. "I know because I was sitting at her right side holding her hand. My mother held his stare until he looked away and walked out.
"I think it's very ironic that people will quote Judge Gayle and what Judge Gayle said and ignore what Gary said to my mother," Barrett said. "He can do and say what he wants and nobody cares." *
Marcus notified Etheridge's mother that the execution was delayed, but he was not allowed to speak to Etheridge. Prison officials may have notified him, Marcus said.
"That would be the humane thing to do," Marcus said. "I know there's not a lot of sympathy for people on Death Row and their families but it's very difficult for the Etheridge family to be put through this, as I'm sure it's very, very difficult for the victim's family."
Canceled execution dates are a consequence of premature scheduling, Marcus said. If judges waited until appeals had run their course to set execution dates, there would not be so many canceled dates, Marcus said.
"In 2000, Mr. Etheridge came within two days of being executed and this time he came within three days," Marcus said.
But Yenne said Etheridge has had 12 years worth of appeals. His case is a model for how safeguards in the legal system should work, Yenne said.
"The Gary Etheridge case should be a stellar example of due process," Yenne said. "When people complain and moan about the death penalty I want them to look at the Gary Etheridge case and see how many bites at the apple he has had.
"It would have been nice if Christie Chauviere had had as much due process as Gary Etheridge is afforded before he executed the death warrant on her," Yenne said.
In November 2000, Etheridge was two days away from lethal injection when the state Court of Criminal Appeals granted an indefinite stay, to allow time to consider competency of an attorney who represented Etheridge at a critical point in his appeal.
Earlier this year, the court removed the stay and, in May, Gayle set the execution date.
Since then, Etheridge attorneys unsuccessfully sued the Court of Criminal Appeals, accusing the court of violating the constitutional rights of condemned killers by appointing incompetent lawyers to handle their appeals.
Last week, Marcus wrote a letter asking Gov. Rick Perry to recuse himself from consideration of Etheridge's pending clemency request. Marcus claims Perry could be biased since Etheridge was the focus of a 1998 political ad blasting Perry as soft on crime.
(source: The Facts)
* The statement of Christie's sister is not true. On November 9, 1990, the day after Gary was sentenced to die, you could read the following in the news:"'I've handled you since you were a kid and you've really graduated to the big league', Gayle told Etheridge, who stood before a crowded courtroom. 'Your attorney, Jim Coate, said it would not accomplish anything by giving you the death penalty - but we're going to clean up a piece of garbage. You're nothing but a blight on society - and you are going to die, young man, sooner or later, by lethal injection'.
Close to 100 observers began applauding as Etheridge was led from the courtroom, smirking. 'We all gotta die sometime', he said under his breath.'"
This clearly was Gary's answer to judge Gayle's hateful comments. Gary had no reason to say this to Gail Chauviere. When you know the context and judge Gayle's previous comments, you see that it simply was Gary's reaction and no mean comment to Gail Chauviere. Gary had no reason at all to be mean to Mrs. Chauviere.
(source: The Facts & Claudia Etheridge)
(June 24, 2002)
GARY GOT A STAY! TEXAS WILL NOT KILL HIM ON JUNE 27th, 2002!!!
(April 24, 2002)
Gary just got a new execution date. If no miracle happens the great State of Texas will kill him on June 27, 2002. He would be happy to get lots of letters before his execution date. Although he's in a desperate situation he will be happy to know that people does not forget about him. So please write as many letters to him as possible.
(April 17, 2002)
Today the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Gary's request for a new State Habeas Corpus.
In a new State Habeas Corpus it would have been possible for Gary to proof with a DNA test that the blood that was found on the victim's shirt is not his. Gary's court appointed lawyer who had no experience in handling a death penalty case at all missed to raise these claims and missed to proof that Gary did not kill anyone.
Again the state of Texas is so ignorant and think it is enough to get a court appointed lawyer, no matter if this lawyer is inexperienced or not.
With todays decision the court vacated the stay of execution which they granted on November 6th, 2000. Unfortunately we expect a new execution date pretty soon.