Jeffery Eugene Tucker, 41, was executed by lethal injection on 14 November in Huntsville, Texas for the robbery and murder of a man whose classified ad he answered.
In July 1988, Tucker, then 28, answered a newspaper ad for a pickup truck and travel trailer for sale. Using the alias J.D. Travis, Tucker went to see the owner of the vehicle, Wilton B. Humphreys, 65, and his wife, Peggy. After test driving the vehicle, Tucker told Mr. and Mrs. Humphreys he would buy the pickup and trailer and pay the $18,000 asking price in cash. Mr. Humphreys said he would accompany Tucker to the bank so he could deposit the money once the paperwork was completed.
Once the two men were in the truck alone, Tucker pulled a pistol from a paper sack he had been carrying and told Humphreys he was stealing the truck and trailer. They turned onto a rural road. Tucker told Humphreys to get out, so he could tie him to a fence post. While both men were out of the truck, Humphreys tried to get back in and lock Tucker out. A struggle ensued, and Tucker shot Humphreys three times in the chest and face. He then shoved him out of the truck and ran over his legs while driving off. Humphreys' body was found by a passing motorist later that day.
Tucker was arrested in New Mexico three days later, after he robbed a service station of $800. He confessed the Humphreys murder to police. He also confessed other crimes committed over a four-day span, including an armed robbery of a motel clerk the day after Humphreys' murder. He said that he wanted the truck and travel trailer to use to roam the country while committing robberies.
Tucker had been in prison three times over the previous eight years for forgery, possession of marijuana, and felony theft. He served 22 months of a 4-year sentence from 1980-82, 12 months of a 4-year sentence from 1982-83, and 3½ years of a 7-year sentence from 1984-88. During this prison term, Tucker stabbed his cellmate in the head with a homemade weapon and received another five-year sentence for aggravated assault. He was paroled in June 1988, one month before murdering Wilton Humphreys. (At the time, parole was easily obtained in Texas because of strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.)
Continued on Page 2