Tonight’s Execution: Ronnie Threadgill, Texas

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Editor’s note: I’m traveling at the moment, with intermittent internet access, so updates might be a bit slower than usual. For more up-to-date information, see the Twitter feed for this blog, at

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.”

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal though and the execution went forward as planned. Threadgill’s time of death was 6:39 p.m. CDT, 25 minutes after the injection began.

“To my loved ones and my dear friends, I love y’all and appreciate y’all for being there,” Threadgill said. “I am going to a better place. To all the guys back on the row, keep your heads up, keep fighting. I’m ready. Let’s go.”

Texas has 10 more executions scheduled through July.

Related Reading:

Ronnie Threadgill Files Last Appeal to Supremes

Texas Man Convicted in Carjack Slaying Set to Die

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14 thoughts on “Tonight’s Execution: Ronnie Threadgill, Texas

  1. Gary says:

    It is hard to imagine what a person goes through having the realization of being executed in a matter of hours.

  2. Anton Bouchette says:

    It’s more relevant what the minds of the victims family went through when they found out their young relative was shot through the chest by a piece of the worlds worthless scum.

  3. Gary says:

    Apparently, there were so many witnesses, that there is zero question that he committed the crime. Even his own attorney said that there was “no wiggle-room” for reasonable doubt, and that the only possible victory was to avoid the death penalty, whicc of course he didn’t.

    • bree says:

      The doubt is that the witness that was in the car could not identify him and said his skin was lighter that is huge doubt.

  4. Johnny B Shoes says:

    if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

  5. We says:

    Im from a small country town and the Threadgill family whome I became close friends with moved there for a few years from Dallas. I was best friends with Ronnies sister Theresa who I lost contact with years ago and recently found out she died -not violent- in 2005. That was my girl I tell you. Me and T was always fighting someone for some reason. T liked to scrap but I would only fight to defend myself or my pride which was stupid and too often but we grew up from all of that. We were young 13/14 yrs old and luckly I didnt get any police records -misdemeanor nor felonies during those crazy years…. I will not speak bad of anyone but I will tell you guys this. We are all responsible for our actions and the Lord will judge us according to our own actions BUT our rearing plays a big role in it as well. When me and Theresa was going around doing all that fighting, Ronnie was totally oppisite. He was so quiet and timid. He would hardly leave the house. He did not like confrontation at all. We called him a wuss. Im not speaking ill of their mother, I liked her but you could tell that they were rough people especially to a country bumpkin like myself…. so if a kid is always around a hostile environment its a good chance that they are going to go wrong somewhere in the equation. No father figure, low income….probably looking up to the wrong kind of male figure. Ronnie could have chosen a different path but if thats all you know its kinda hard to see other options unless your removed from that environment and have the opportunity to see life in a different way. Im just sad because I know Ronnie was not a bad person. Wuda, cuda, shuda will not bring back that child who lost his life and it is not ok what Ronnie did but everyone loses here. Ronnie was a quiet and calm soul coming up. What happened! My prayers go out to both families. To the Threadgills for having to say goodbye to their loved one -my God this has to be hard on them- and the the McDonald family who have to re-live this tragedy all over again. It has to be tortue on them to have to remember that terrible day in 2001 -not that the pain ever went away for them but this is like tearing open a wound all over again. God please be with these families.

    • Clay says:

      Let me just say this…the defense of fatherless or poor is total BS! I grew up in a very rough neighborhood (Gary,Indiana), my father left when I was 13 months old, my single mother of 4 kids had no choice but to be on welfare. But I never killed anyone! I have never so much as recieveda traffic ticket! None of my siblings have either. 2 of my brothers are local cops, my sister is an elected official. Myself, im a career Army man. So to say if you’re born “rough” you will always be “rough” is nonsense and a typical excuse used to defend people who commit horrible crimes.

      • Rob says:

        Nobody could have said it better; and thanks for serving. I spent 25 years as a regular army soldier(now long retired) and it would have been my honor to have served with you.

      • We says:

        Clay, I understand your comment. We are both right. I wasnt defending Ronnie. He could have chose a different path. Im just speaking reality. A lot of kids that grow up in that kind of atmosphere do follow the path that they lived in. We see it everyday so theres not debate there. Like I said I will not speak ill of anyone but if you read the history, his mother had major issues as well and I never saw a father figure around back in the day so if both parents are…….need I say more? A child cant raise his/ herself properly. Its like a domestic animal that wasnt trained or never had a home. Its ends up wild. Everyone is not as strong minded as others. Sometimes parents set their kids up for failure and not even realize it because thats how they were raised.

  6. Brooklyn says:

    Well said.

  7. Clay says:

    Too bad Texas got rid of “old sparky”…this scum deserved to “feel” his death, not simply be put to sleep!

  8. j.b says:

    Regardless of what anyone thinks. Only GOD CAN JUDGE anyone.. But opions are understood..

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