Man on death row becomes first man to be executed in 2017

Convicted murderer Christopher Wilkins, 48, was the first person executed in the United States in 2017. He was injected with the barbiturate drug pentobarbital on Wednesday, January 12 at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville in Walker County.

When asked during his trial if he would rather spend his lifetime in prison or be executed on death row, Wilkins reportedly said, “I haven’t been good to anybody for the last 20 years and I won’t be for the next 20 or the 20 after that.” An appeal made before the United States Supreme Court to stay his execution was denied hours before Wilkins’ execution.

In an interview with the Tribune, Hilary Sheard, Wilkins’ current attorney, said, “The real issue in the case is that he was represented in a critical stage of the process by an attorney who failed to investigate the case and who had agreed to go to work for the District Attorney’s Office, the same office who put Mr. Wilkins on death row.”

Texas had killed 539 people on death row since 1976, the year when the ban on the death penalty was lifted.

If you are charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or another area in Texas, you have a higher chance of getting your sentence reduced or your case dropped completely if you contact our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter by calling 214-845-7007 today.

Houston’s murder tally stable despite rise in early 2016

According to Houston police data, the total murder tally in the area in 2016 was 302 murders, which is one less than in 2015. However, the statistic is still higher than the five-year average.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, in a press statement released on Wednesday, January 4, said the Houston Police Department transferred 175 police officers to patrol duties from administrative duties.

Art Acevedo said he will make it a point to thoroughly conduct investigations on felonies to crack down on murders this year. The new police chief plans to focus more on felonies than minor drug offenses. Acevedo noted “When people are shooting people, we need to treat that as if it were a murder, because the person that commits an aggravated assault today is the same person that’s going to commit a murder.”

He will partner with Harris County’s newly installed criminal justice leaders, District Attorney Kim Ogg and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, on a cite-and-release program for low-level drug offenses.

Our lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, who provide quality legal representation for our clients in Dallas and other areas in Texas, handle criminal defense for cases that involve domestic abuse, assault, and murder, among others. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Houston man convicted of killing his pregnant wife exonerated

After long proceedings in which 30 witnesses testified and over 200 pieces of evidence were examined, District Judge Larry Gist ruled the murder conviction of 48-year-old Houston, Texas resident David Mark Temple be overturned. Temple is currently serving a life sentence for allegedly killing his pregnant wife, a high school teacher who was seven months pregnant, back in 2009.

Five of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ nine judges affirmed Gist’s findings, while three dissented, and one abstained. Temple’s legal counsel, Dick DeGuerin, welcomed the development, amid his growing concerns about the speed of the case. DeGuerin said “I was still concerned because it had taken so long. It’s been a year.” He said he will try to get Temple released on bond and that Temple is “extremely happy and relieved and hopeful that he can be home by at least Christmas.”

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or another area in Texas, you should protect your life and reputation by hiring the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter. Contact us at 214-845-7007 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team as soon as you can.

Convicted child sex offender kills wife in Baytown

El Ray Gonzalez, 39, is facing murder charges in relation to the death of his estranged wife, Elva Gonzalez, 41, on the front lawn of her house in Baytown, Texas last Sunday, October 30.

According to preliminary investigations, the Gonzalez’ children – aged 16 and 21 – were able to call the police when El Ray first arrived in Elva’s house. When police arrived at the house in the 1900 block of Mississippi Street, El Ray was walking Elva outside the house at gunpoint. He then shot her several times before receiving a wounding shot from a police officer. El Ray received medical attention for his wound and was immediately arrested. The victim’s children were not hurt during the incident.

Supposedly, Elva filed a restraining order against her estranged husband days before the shooting happened, but the Baytown Police Department could not confirm this report. Department of Public Safety records show that El Ray received a conviction for the sexual assault of a three-year-old back in 2005.

Being charged with a criminal offense can have damaging consequences on your life. Contact the legal services of our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, who provide legal services to clients who live in Dallas by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

6th Street shooter kills bystander

Police responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting that happened on Sunday, July 31 at around 2:15 a.m. in the 200 block of E. Sixth Street in Austin, Texas. The shooter killed 30-year-old Teqnika Marie Moultrie, an innocent bystander.

According to police investigations, 24-year-old Endicott McCray got into an altercation with his brother-in-law, so he took a gun from the waistband of his jeans and tried to shoot his brother-in-law. He then shot at the ground and fired four more gunshots in the air. Moultrie’s wife, Sabrina, said they had just exited Voodoo Doughnuts at 212 E. Sixth Street when the gunshots were fired. Sabrina said she dived to the ground when the gunshots rang out, but then she saw Moultrie sustained a gunshot wound to the head. Moultrie died at the scene of the incident. Four other people sustained gunshot wounds and were transported to the University Medical Center Brackenridge.

If you are arrested or charged with a crime in Dallas or another area of Texas, do not hesitate to consult with our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter. Call our offices at (214) 845-7007 so we can start planning strategies for your criminal defense.

Judge rejects inmate’s request to speak with doctor

Nineteenth State District Judge Ralph Strother denied a request by death row inmate Carnell Petetan, Jr. last Tuesday, July 19. Petetan wanted to speak to state expert Dr. Randy Price, a neuropsychologist in Dallas. McLennan County prosecutors said Petetan’s attorneys were on a “fishing expedition,” but that they had already released all evidence favorable to the defense.

Price offered his expert opinion to McLennan County prosecutors in Petetan’s capital murder case but did not give his testimony during Petetan’s trial. However, Price did attend Petetan’s trial and heard defense expert witnesses say that Petetan suffered from an intellectual disability that should disqualify him from receiving the death penalty. Petetan received his execution sentence in 2014 after the shooting death of his estranged wife, Kimberly Farr Petetan, in 2012.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter are prepared to give your criminal defense case the dedicated attention that it requires. If you are charged with a murder, assault, or any other crime in Dallas, we may be able to lessen your sentence. Call our offices today at 214-845-7007 to discuss your legal options.

U.S. Supreme Court to re-evaluate two Texas death row cases

The United States Supreme Court announced last Monday, June 6 that it will place two Texas death penalty cases under review.

Duane Buck says that his sentence is improper because it was based on a psychologist’s finding that he was more dangerous to society because he is African-American. Though it was proved in trial that Buck was undoubtedly guilty for shooting his ex-girlfriend and her male friend, his stepsister, and a fourth individual in Houston in 1995, his punishment is being questioned because of a race-related testimony. Psychologist Walter Quijano told a prosecutor that Buck’s being black might increase his future danger when asked.

The second case, that of Bobby James Moore, is contentious because courts are unsure of whether he is intellectually disabled – a condition which would make him exempt from the death penalty – or not. Moore’s legal counsels said the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals used outdated standards – which were developed in 1992 – to measure intellectual ability.

A well-structured legal defense can make the difference between being incarcerated or being a free man, so if you were charged with a crime in Dallas or another area of Texas, seek the assistance of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter by calling 214-845-7007.

Suspect in shooting death of Iraqi national sentenced to 38 years in jail

A Dallas jury deliberated for approximately two hours last Tuesday, May 24 before sentencing 18-year-old Nykerion Nealon to 38 years in prison for the murder of Iraqi national Ahmed Al-Jumaili.  Al-Jumaili was shot outside his apartment complex in Dallas on March 4, 2015 as he was taking pictures of the snow with his wife and brother. He reportedly left his country to escape violence and to be with his wife.

Russell Wilson, Nealon’s legal counsel, argued that even though Nealon was at the scene of the crime, it was another person who did the actual killing. Wilson criticized the sentence that was given to Nealon, comparing it with the sentence that was given to Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old boy who killed four people in a 2013 drunk-driving accident.

Wilson argued that Couch was sentenced to only two years – 180 days for each person killed in the accident – and that Nealon should be afforded the same kind of consideration, noting, “Here this young man in an accidental, unintentional situation was charged with one death and he gets 38 years. We’re in shock and it challenges your confidence in the criminal justice system.”

If you are facing criminal charges in Dallas, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter will make sure that you are never unprepared for your day in court. Get in touch with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices at 214-845-7007.

Judge amends East Texas mass murder gag order, allows news sources to report

State District Judge Deborah Oaks Evans has amended the gag order she placed on the East Texas mass murder case in a motion she filed with the Anderson County District Court on Tuesday, December 1 just before 5:00 p.m. to allow news coverage of the trial. The order still prohibits attorneys and police officers from speaking with reporters.

The newly-amended gag order allows members of the media and the public to attend pre-trial hearings and print “any information they have already obtained or may obtain in the future”.

The case under discussion is that of 33-year-old William Hudson, who is accused of killing 77-year-old Carl Johnson; 40-year-old Hannah Johnson, Carl’s daughter; six-year-old Kade Johnson, Hannah’s son; 46-year-old Thomas Kamp; and Austin and Nathan Kamp, 21 and 24, respectively, who are Kamp’s sons from a previous marriage.

The victims were allegedly killed on Monday, November 14 at a campsite next to Hudson’s property in the town of Tennessee Colony, located southeast of Dallas.

Hudson is facing six counts of capital murder, meaning he would get the death penalty if convicted of his crimes.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter provide legal services for our clients who have been charged with criminal offenses in Dallas or other areas within the state of Texas. To receive legal advice and assistance regarding your criminal charges or if you want to hire us to legally represent you, do not hesitate to contact us by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Austin lawyer arrested for trying to hire a hitman

Austin attorney James Walker, 62, was arrested on Friday, Sept. 18 on charges of felony solicitation of murder for allegedly trying to hire a hit man.

According to arrest documents, a man identified as “Joshua” came to police saying that when he met with Walker to purchase heroin, Walker asked him to kill a third party. Walker allegedly told Joshua that he would receive a gun to commit the murder along with $1,000.

The Austin Police Department worked with Joshua to conduct a controlled narcotics buy that was being recorded by detectives. The two met for a small sale and discussed the potential murder. After APD confirmed the drug as heroin and identified the intended victim, Walker was arrested one day later.

If you are facing criminal charges in the Dallas area, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance. At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, a Dallas attorney can help you ensure that your future is not wrongfully compromised by these Call our offices at 214-845-7007 today.

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