William E. Wyatt Jr., 41, was executed by lethal injection on 3 August 2006 in Huntsville, Texas for the sexual assault and murder of a 3-year-old boy.
On 4 February 1997, Wyatt, then 32, took his live-in girlfriend, Renee Porter, to work. While Porter was at work, Wyatt babysat her son, Damien Willis. At about 6:00 p.m., Texarkana police received a 911 call from Wyatt, who asked for an ambulance for a victim who accidentally drowned in the bathtub. When emergency personnel arrived, Damien had no pulse and was not breathing. He was taken to a hospital, where he pronounced dead at about 7:30 p.m.
The attending physician at the hospital noted that the temperature of Damien's body was 84 degrees Farenheit, when approximately 96 degrees would have been expected if the child had died around 6:00 p.m. He also found bruises on Damien's forehead and thighs, and both fresh and healed injuries to his rectum. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicidal violence, including smothering. Investigators also found that the bathtub in the house was dry.
Wyatt was arrested the evening of the child's death. In his first statement to police, he said that he found Damien in the tub, underwater. After attempting CPR, he called 911. The next day, he admitted sodomizing the boy before putting him in the tub. Then, on his third day in custody, Wyatt gave a third statement. He said that while he was sitting with Damien, he saw something on television that "made me feel like having sex." He sodomized the boy, then left the room. When he returned, it appeared to him that Damien had lodged something in a light socket, so he whipped him with a belt five or six times. He stated that Damien began screaming, so he placed a plastic bag over his face to get him to stop. Damien then jerked back, trying to get away, and hit his head on the bathtub. Wyatt then left to get ice to put on the boy's forehead. When he returned, Damien wasn't breathing. He attempted to perform CPR, then called 911.
At Wyatt's trial, Renee Porter testified that once after leaving Damien with Wyatt, she came home to find her son naked and having had a bowel movement in bed, and that he seemed afraid of Wyatt. She also testified that when bathing Damien, she noticed a scratch on him. When she asked what happened, he looked at Wyatt. Porter also testified that the day before the murder, she accused Wyatt of abusing her son.
Wyatt had no prior criminal record. Porter, however, testified that he raped her in June 1996.
Wyatt did not testify, either at his trial of guilt or innocence, or at his punishment hearing.
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