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A jury convicted Clark of capital murder in the death of Shari Crews in April 1994 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in October 1996. His subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied, and he was scheduled to be executed in November 2002. Clark then raised a claim that he was mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for execution under the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Atkins v. Virginia. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution so that the trial court could hold an evidentiary hearing on Clark's retardation claim. The trial court found that Clark was not retarded. The TCCA affirmed and allowed the trial court to set a new execution date. That date was stayed in April 2004 by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals so that the federal courts could consider Clark's retardation claim. A federal district court denied that claim in July 2006, and thereafter all of Clark's appeals were denied.
James Richard Brown was convicted of robbery and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He remains in custody as of this writing. His sentence will be completed in June 2013.
While awaiting execution, Clark declined requests for interviews.
At his execution, when the warden asked if he had a last statement to make, Clark replied, "I don't know," chuckling. "I don't know what to say." The lethal injection was then started. Clark then noticed witnesses watching through a window and blurted out, "Oh, I didn't know anybody was there. Howdy." He then lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 12 April 2007.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, Associated Press, court documents.