Toronto Markkey Patterson, 24, was executed by lethal injection on 28 August in Huntsville, Texas for killing his cousin and her two children in their home.
In June 1995, someone entered the home of Evelyn Stiff and shot three people to death. Kimberly Brewer, Stiff's 25-year-old daughter, was shot in the living room as she was lying on a recliner. Brewer's six-year-old daughter, Jennifer, was shot on the floor of her bedroom. Brewer's other daughter, Ollie, 3, was shot in her bed in the same room as Jennifer. All three victims were shot in the head with a .38-caliber weapon. Ollie, who died with her hands covering her ears, was also shot in the hand and neck. Three chrome and gold wheel rims were also stolen from a BMW stored in Stiff's garage.
Toronto Patterson, 17, had been dealing drugs since he was 15. He was known for wearing expensive jewelry and clothing and driving expensive cars. He once owned a car with expensive gold and chrome wheel rims, but in April, it was stolen. He knew that his cousin, Vernon Stiff, owned a BMW with expensive wheels. He also knew that Stiff was serving time in the penitentiary, and he was storing his car in his mother's garage.
On the morning of the murders, Patterson left his live-in girlfriend's house and told her that he was going to receive physical therapy for a back injury. About four hours later, Patterson returned home. He changed his clothes and told his girlfriend that he had shot someone and stolen their wheel rims. That afternoon, he took the wheels from Vernon Stiff's car, which were worth around $2,000, to a dealer, but did not sell them. Later that day, when police and news crews were at the murder scene, Patterson and his girlfriend went there to observe what was going on.
Patterson was arrested that evening. The next day, he gave two written confessions to police. In the fist confession, he admitted stealing the wheels, but claimed that he gave them to Jamaican drug dealers, who committed the murders. When Patterson was informed that the stolen rims were found at his girlfriend's house, he gave another confession, in which he also admitted to the murders.
At his trial, Patterson pleaded not guilty. He testified that he had nothing to do with the murders, which he said were committed by Jamaican drug dealers. He testified that his confessions were coerced by police. As evidence, prosecutors presented the wheel rims, which had Patterson's fingerprints on them, and the clothing found at his girlfriend's house, which had spots of blood from the victims on it. Prosecutors also showed a video of the television news coverage when the bodies were being removed from the house. Patterson and his girlfriend are seen in the background, watching.
Prosecutors also presented evidence that Patterson belonged to a gang in high school, and that he once threatened to kill school authorities when they confiscated his beeper. He dropped out of high school during his sophomore year. In 1994, at age 16, he was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, a loaded 9mm handgun that was found in his car during a routine traffic stop. He also once sold cocaine to an undercover FBI informant.
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