Miguel A. "Silky" Richardson, 46, was executed by lethal injection on 26 June in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a motel security guard.
In March 1979, a motel desk clerk in San Antonio received a complaint from a guest that someone was trying to break into her room. The clerk sent two security guards, John Ebbert and Howard Powers, to investigate. A few minutes later, the guest called the clerk again to say that she thought she heard gunshots. Less than an hour later, the bodies of Ebbert and Powers were found in a stairwell. They had been shot, and one of their empty wallets was found nearby.
A few days after the murders, Miguel Richardson, then 24, was apprehended in Denver, Colorado with two underage prostitutes. Richardson fought extradition to Texas for more than two years.
At Richardson's trial, the two prostitutes, and a third underage prostitute that was with Richardson on the night of the killings, testified. They said that the four of them were staying at the Holiday Inn across the hall from the woman who reported the break-in attempt. They said that Richardson had commented on the expensive jewelry she appeared to be wearing. One of them testified that Richardson told her that he had disguised himself in a woman's wig and clothing and was trying to break into the woman's room when he was interrupted by the two security guards. The guards were escorting him from the front desk when his .38-caliber pistol fell from his waistband to the floor. Richardson grabbed the gun, handcuffed one of the guards, took their money, shot and killed both of them, and returned to his room. At Richardson's request, one of his prostitutes went back to the scene and wiped fingerprints away with a towel, then returned to the room and disposed of the spent cartridges by flushing them down the toilet. Another of the prostitutes testified that Richardson had boasted to her about killing the guards after he took their money.
Richardson had previously served three years of a six-year sentence in a federal reformatory for possession of stolen mail. He was paroled in March 1976.
Richardson also attacked a jailer in April 1980 in Denver, while he was pending extradition to Texas. In June 1980, he stabbed a deputy sheriff in the neck with a homemade shank, tried to shoot him, and attempted to escape.
A jury convicted Richardson of the capital murder of John G. Ebbert in September 1981, and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in October 1987. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated his conviction twice, first in July 1989 and again in September 1994. Each time, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction upon review. In June 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case again. Richardson filed eight more appeals in state and federal courts over the next five years, all of which were denied.
Richardson's appeals centered around his competency at the time of the crime and his competency to be executed. He claimed that he suffered from a bipolar disorder at the time of the killings. He also claimed that the state of Texas was medicating him in order to keep him mentally competent so that he could be executed.
In May 1997, Richardson and several other inmates attempted to escape while being transported.
In June 2001, Richardson filed seven more appeals in state and federal courts. All of these appeals were denied. He also filed a clemency request with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, which was rejected.
At his execution, Richardson spoke for nearly eight minutes, speaking repeatedly of love. "I go out loving everyone and everything ... I shed tears of love - may they nourish everyone." He also said, "I am a minister of love." As the lethal drugs began flowing, he said that it was a "good day to die. Take me, God." He was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m.
After the execution, John Ebbert's wife noted that Richardson did not apologize for the murders, nor did he ask for forgiveness. However, she did say that justice had been served. "It was a promise I made to my husband 22 years ago when he was lying in his coffin that I was going to see this through to the end. This is the end."
Of the 455 offenders currently on Texas' death row, 16 are there for crimes committed in the 1970's.
By David Carson. Posted on 28 June 2001.
Sources: Texas Attorney General's Office, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Associated Press, Huntsville Item.