Jessie Joe Patrick, 44, was executed by lethal injection on 17 September in Huntsville, Texas for the burglary and murder of an 80-year-old woman.
In the early morning of 8 July 1989, Jessie Joe Patrick, then 31, broke into the home of Nina Rutherford Redd. Redd lived two doors down from Patrick, and she had previously given money and food to him and his live-in teenage girlfriend. She had also let them inside her house to use the telephone in the past. Patrick pried the window screen loose from a bathroom window and went inside. He beat Redd, 80, and attempted to rape her. He then slashed her throat with a butcher knife and ransacked the house.
Patrick called police later that morning to report that his house had been burglarized. When police arrived to investigate, no one was home. They noticed that the back door was kicked in, and a large rock, covered in blood, was on the side of the house. After Redd's body was discovered, police searched Patrick's house. They found a man's blood-soaked sock, some stained blue jeans, and some bloody, wadded toilet tissues. The sock and tissues were DNA tested, and the blood matched the victim's. A partial handprint from outside Redd's bathroom window was matched to Patrick. Furthermore, hairs found at the murder scene matched Patrick, as did teeth marks on the victim's body. Patrick's girlfriend identified the rusty butcher knife used to kill Redd as belonging to him. Patrick was arrested two weeks later at his sister's home in Mississippi. When officers arrived, he was hiding under a bed.
In his written confession, Patrick stated that had been drinking before the killing. He wrote that he broke into the house and tried unsuccessfully to have sex with Redd. He wrote that he slit her throat with the knife, then added, "I don't really remember cutting her throat." Although sperm was found on the victim's body, it was not tested and Patrick was not charged with rape.
Patrick had a previous conviction for aggravated assault and was sentenced to four years in prison. (It was his second time to be charged with aggravated assault; the charges were dropped the first time.) He served four months from September 1985 to January 1986 and then was released on "shock probation." He was returned on a probation violation in July 1986. He was released again on parole 5½ months later. (At the time, early release was common in Texas due to strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.) In May 1987, Patrick received another sentence of one year's probation for a DWI conviction.
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