Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Charles Nealy

Charles Nealy
Charles Nealy
Executed on 20 March 2007

Charles Anthony Nealy, 42, was executed by lethal injection on 20 March 2007 in Huntsville, Texas for the robbery and murder of a convenience store owner.

On 20 August 1997, two men - one armed with a shotgun, and the other with a pistol - entered a Dallas convenience store. They ordered employees Vijay Patel and Satishbhi "Sam" Bhakta - who was the owner's brother - to lie on the floor. The man with the shotgun then went into the back office, where owner Jiten Bhakta was taking a nap. Jiten called out, then was killed by a shotgun blast to the heart. The man with the pistol then shot Patel in the head. The man with the shotgun then came out of the back office with a briefcase containing $4,000 in cash. The man with the pistol then ordered Sam Bhakta to open the cash register. The man with the shotgun then took money from the register. Both robbers took wine and beer before leaving the store. Vijay Patel died a few days later.

Four video cameras in the store recorded the robbery. They showed a man in a dark hat, carrying a shotgun, and a man in a light hat. Neither of the murders were recorded, but the tape did show both men stealing money from the cash register.

Sam Bhakta testified that man with the shotgun was wearing a light hat, white t-shirt, and jeans. After he came out of the office, he said, "I got the man in the office." The man with the pistol, who he described as short, balding, having a gold tooth with a star, and wearing a dark hat, white t-shirt, and jeans, said, "I got the one over here, too." After viewing the videotape in court, Bhatka changed his testimony on cross-examination. He stated that the man with the shotgun was wearing the dark hat. He identified the man with the shotgun as Charles Nealy.

Memphis Nealy testified that on the evening of the robbery, he was riding with Charles Nealy, who was his uncle, and that when they passed the convenience store, Charles stated, "I'm going to come back and get 'em." Memphis testified that Charles didn't want him to join him because he did not have a criminal record. He identified the man on the videotape with the dark hat and shotgun as his uncle, and the man with the light hat and handgun as his brother, Claude.

Reginald Mitchell testified that on the night of the robbery, he joined Charles and Claude Nealy in Charles's car and went to the convenience store. He stated that Charles was wearing a dark hat and had a shotgun, and that Claude was wearing a light hat and was carrying a pistol. He heard a shotgun blast, then a gunshot, and that the Nealys then came out of the store and got into the car. Mitchell testified that Charles said, "in a little old happy tone," that "this is the way the Nealys do it." When they got back to Charles's house, Charles said that they committed the crime because "the bitches wouldn't sell him no blackie mounds" - referring to Black and Milds, a brand of cigar. Mitchell identified Charles Nealy as the man on the videotape with the shotgun and dark hat and testified that he threatened to kill him if he told anyone about the crime.

The defense argued that Sam Bhatka gave conflicting testimony in identifying the men. They also argued that the quality of the videotape was too poor to make a positive identification, and that all of the witnesses were led by the state into identifying the man with the shotgun as Charles Nealy.

Nealy had three prior convictions for aggravated robbery. He also had an extensive record as a juvenile offender. In addition, Nealy assaulted another jail inmate following his arrest for capital murder.

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