Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: James Clark

James Clark
James Clark
Executed on 11 April 2007

James Lee Clark, 38, was executed by lethal injection on 11 April 2007 in Huntsville, Texas for the robbery and murder of two teenagers.

Early in the morning of 7 June 1993, Clark, then 25, and James Brown, 21, arrived at a gas station in Denton and asked the store clerk to call an ambulance for Brown, who had been shot. Clark and Brown told police officers who responded to the call that they had been fishing at the Three Rivers Bridge in Denton County when Brown was accosted by a robber and shot in the leg. Brown was then taken to a hospital. When Clark led police to the location of the alleged shooting, there was no sign that the men had been there fishing or that anyone had been shot.

The next day, police pulled the body of Shari Catherine "Cari" Crews, 17, from the creek. She was killed by a shotgun blast to the back of her head. She was nude, with her shorts around her neck and her bra tied around her wrist. She had also been bound and raped. Police questioned Clark and Brown, who were both on parole. They gave conflicting statements. Police then returned to the creek to look for a second body and two weapons. Another body was found. Jesus Garza, 16, was killed by a shotgun blast at very close range to his chin. A 12-gague double-barrel shotgun with a cracked stock and a .22-caliber rifle with a shortened stock were also found in the creek. Police found the sawn-off portion of the rifle stock while searching Clark's trailer. Tennis shoes splattered with the blood of Brown, Crews, and Garza were also found. Further investigation showed that the shotgun and rifle were burglarized from cars three days earlier. DNA evidence showed that Clark raped the female victim. Further investigation showed that her rings and car keys were stolen.

During interrogation, Clark and Brown blamed each other for both killings. According to their accounts, Brown was shot accidentally when the shotgun was being used to bludgeon the victims.

Clark had a prior conviction for burglary of a building. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was paroled in May 1992 after serving less than a year of his sentence. (At the time, early release was common in Texas due to strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.) He had been on parole for about a week when the murders were committed. Clark also had a conviction for theft by check, and had once been arrested for auto theft.

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