Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: William Chappell

William Chappell
William Chappell
Executed on 20 November 2002

William Wesley Chappell, 66, was executed by lethal injection on 20 November 2002 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of three people.

William Chappell was 45 when he met Jane Sitton. She was 17, had an 18-month old daughter, Elizabeth, and was working as a waitress at a restaurant across the street from Chappell's boat shop. They dated for about two years. One evening in May 1984, Sitton's half-brother, Geoffrey Lindsey, and Elizabeth, then 3, were watching TV together when a kissing scene came on. "That's what me and Bill do," Elizabeth blurted out. Geoffrey told his mother, Martha Lindsey, who contacted authorities.

Chappell was put on trial in May 1987 for indecency with a child. Sitton testified that Chappell used to beat her and threatened to kill her unless she allowed him to molest Elizabeth. Geoffrey and Martha Lindsey and other family members also testified against him. Chappell was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, but was released on bond pending appeal.

After the trial, Chappell confronted the Sitton/Lindsey family outside the courtroom. He told Martha, "This is not over yet," and that he would "get her for that." Chappell also told his wife, Sally Hayes, that he did not molest Jane's daughter and that he wanted to "do away" with that family.

In January 1988, Chappell and Hayes drove to the home where Martha Lindsey resided with her husband, Elbert Sitton, and Jane. Chappell brought some jugs of gasoline. Hayes let Chappell out and drove around for about 15 minutes, then picked him up after he signaled with his flashlight. Chappell told Hayes that he set fire to the house. The house, however, suffered little damage and none of the occupants were injured.

After the fire, Jane Sitton decided to move out of the home. Alexandra Heath, her half-sister and Martha Lindsey's daughter, took her room.

In February 1988, Chappell and Hayes purchased some gun equipment, including some materials for fashioning a silencer. They bought a pair of walkie-talkies in March.

On 3 May 1988, Chappell, then 51, and Hayes drove to the Sitton home. Chappell was wearing dark clothes, a ski mask, and gloves. He carried a bag containing two guns, the silencer, clips of ammunition, a crowbar, wire cutters, and one of the walkie-talkies. He got out of the van and Hayes drove around. Chappell then entered the Sitton home and shot Martha Lindsey, 50, Elbert Sitton, 71, and Alexandra Heath, 27, multiple times with a 9mm pistol. About 15 to 20 minutes later, Chappell contacted Hayes by walkie-talkie and she picked him up. He told her that he "shot Jane, her mother, and her daddy." He also said that he took some money to make it look like a robbery.

Believing her to be Jane, Chappell shot Heath several times while she lay in bed. She died at the scene. Martha Lindsey died two days later. Elbert Sitton died after two months in the hospital. He told the emergency room doctor that his attacker was the same man who raped his granddaughter.

While Chappell was in jail awaiting trial for capital murder, he arranged bond for another inmate and hired him to kill his wife/accomplice, Sally Hayes. Instead of carrying out the plan, however, the inmate reported the plot to authorities. Hayes testified against Chappell in exchange for a probated sentence.

An acquaintance of Chappell's testified that he and Chappell had been involved together in a fraud scheme whereby he left his van in a parking lot, gave Chappell the keys, and reported the van as stolen. This was the van that was used in the murders. The man testified that it reappeared at his property on the day of the murders, and he believed that Chappell was trying to frame him for the crime.

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