Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Melvin White

Melvin White
Melvin White
Executed on 3 November 2005

Melvin Wayne White, 55, was executed by lethal injection on 3 November 2005 in Huntsville, Texas for the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of a 9-year-old girl.

On 4 August 1997, White, then 47, was attending a neighborhood barbecue in Ozona. He consumed several alcoholic drinks, then went home between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. Around this time, Jennifer Gravell, who lived two houses away and was also at the party, came over to his house. White then abducted Gravell and drove her in his truck to a roadside rest area north of town. There, he took her behind a water tower, bound her hands behind her back with electrical tape, stuffed a sock in her mouth, and sexually assaulted her with an object - believed by investigators to be a screwdriver - and with his finger. He then hit her on the head six or seven times with a tire tool, crushing her skull.

Witnesses reported seeing White driving a truck with a young blonde girl in the passenger's seat shortly before midnight, and returning home alone after 1:00 a.m. White was arrested, and he confessed. He told police where they could find Gravell's body.

Shoe prints found at the crime scene matched shoes found in White's home. Blood on the shoes matched the victim's DNA. Blood on White's pickup also matched her DNA. Underwear and sandals belonging to the victim were found in a trash container inside White's house, along with a ball of electrical tape that had numerous blonde hairs stuck to it.

A jury convicted White of capital murder in June 1999 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in January 2001. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.

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