This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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Update: Ronnie Threadgill has been executed.
The busiest death chamber in America carried out another lethal injection tonight, in what was its 495th execution since the death penalty was reinstated.
Texas executed Ronnie Threadgill for the 2001 shooting of a 17-year-old boy outside a nightclub. According to the Associated Press, “Dexter McDonald had been in the back seat of a friend’s car in the parking lot of a club south of Corsicana when a bandana-wearing gunman later identified as Threadgill jumped in an open door, started shooting and drove off. McDonald died of a gunshot wound to the chest.”
Threadgill’s attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay, arguing he had inadequate defense at his original trial. From the Austin Chronicle:
“At issue is whether his trial attorney – and then the state habeas attorney – rendered ineffective assistance of counsel on several counts: by failing to ask the court for jurors to be given the option of convicting Threadgill on the lesser charge of felony murder (attempting to commit one crime and engaging in a dangerous act that causes someone to lose life; unlike capital murder, there is no intent to kill in felony murder) and by failing to thoroughly investigate a previous shooting case out of Limestone County. In order to prove Threadgill would remain a future danger unless sentenced to death, prosecutors brought a host of evidence about his past. Indeed, at the time of the McDonald killing, Threadgill, then 29, had spent almost all of his adult life in prison; among the bad acts prosecutors used as evidence against him was an allegation that he had shot a man named Erik Martin in a previous and unrelated incident in another county. What Threadgill’s defense apparently did not find out was that those Limestone County charges had been dropped after prosecutors found that there was ‘conflicting evidence’ in the case.
“Threadgill’s claims were ultimately shot down, however, because they had not been raised in his first appeal. And on April 3, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his most recent appeal, which argued that the state habeas attorney was also ineffective for not calling into question the efficacy of the trial counsel. Whether these specific types of appeals can be made in Texas is actually the subject of a pending case before the U.S. Supreme Court, styled Trevino v. Thaler. The Fifth Circuit last week declined to stay Threadgill’s execution, however, arguing that regardless of the outcome of the Trevino case, Threadgill is procedurally barred from having his claim heard. Threadgill’s attorney, Lydia Brandt, is appealing that decision to the Supremes.”
Texas has 10 more executions scheduled through July.