Gerald Dwight Casey, 47, was executed by lethal injection on 18 April in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a woman during a home robbery.
On 10 July 1989, Gerald Casey, then 34, and Carla Smith, 36, drove to the residence of Daryl Pennington and his girlfriend, Sonya Howell, 29. Casey and Smith were acquainted with Pennington and Howell and had been to their trailer home several times in the past. On this particular morning, Pennington was at work, so Howell was home alone. Smith called Howell and told her that she and Casey were coming over to do some "partying."
Howell was beaten on the head with a telephone receiver and shot nine times with a .22-caliber pistol. The pair drove off with several guns, two watches, some jewelry, and a water jug containing loose change -- all taken from the trailer -- in the back seat of their car.
Casey and Smith returned to their motel room first, then to the bank to obtain some coin wrappers, then back to their room. After a while, they went to a local bar, where Casey tried to sell the stolen guns to employees and patrons. They then went to a remote area and discarded a bloody shirt, several other items that were stained with blood, some spent ammunition cartridges, and a can of WD-40.
Daryl Pennington discovered his girlfriend's body that evening. Hair matching Gerald Casey's was found on her body. The blood on the discarded items matched Sonya Howell. When police searched the motel room, they found several of the stolen items, including the gold ring, two watches, and assorted rolled coins. Pennington identified these items as those that were stolen from his home.
At Casey's trial, four individuals testified that Gerald Casey sold them or tried to sell them guns on or shortly after 10 July 1989. One of the guns that Casey sold, a .22-caliber Ruger pistol, was determined by ballistics testing to be the source of some or all of the shots that killed Sonya Howell.
Carla Smith testified against Casey in a plea bargain. She testified that she and Casey needed money to move from Texas to Florida. They had been to Pennington's home several times and noticed his gun collection. They began planning to steal the guns and sell them for cash. They decided that they would go to the residence when Howell was alone, knock her unconscious, kidnap her, and steal the guns. They would then leave Howell in the woods so that Pennington would believe she was the one who stole the guns.
Smith said that on the morning of the murder, she dropped Casey off at the trailer and then drove to a nearby convenience store and waited by the pay phone. A while later, Casey called from the trailer, she came and picked him up, and they drove away with the stolen goods.
Casey testified that he and Smith were together with Howell. He said that the two women got into an argument, which he tried to break up, but Smith beat Howell with a telephone and then shot her.
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