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A jury convicted Dickson of capital murder in December 1997 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in April 2000. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Dickson was also tried for Marie Surace's murder. A jury convicted him in September 2002 and gave him the death sentence for that killing. The TCCA upheld that conviction and sentence in October 2004.
Dane Dickson acknowledged being in the store when Carmelo Surace was shot, but gave conflicting statements about whether he witnessed Marie's murder. He testified against his brother and pleaded guilty to two capital murder charges, receiving a 15-year sentence. That sentence will be completed in November 2009.
In an interview from death row prior to his execution, Dickson blamed Carmelo Surace for confronting him. "I didn't go in there and pull a gun and start shooting people," he said. "Nobody would have gotten shot. I would have grabbed some beer and ran out. They would have been out about twenty dollars and we'd be at home getting drunk. That's what would have happened." Dickson insisted that Marie Surace was shot by accident as she reached under the counter for a gun.
Rebecca King, the former Potter County district attorney who prosecuted Dickson, said that Marie Surace was on her knees when she was shot, and that she had a telephone in her hand.
No witnesses from either Dickson's family or his victims' family attended the execution. Only TDCJ personnel and news reporters were present. "I do apologize to the Surace family," Dickson said rapidly in his last statement. "I am responsible for them losing their mother, their father, and their grandmother. I never meant for them to be taken. I am sorry for what I did, and I take responsibility for what I did." Dickson also said that he loved his relatives. The lethal injection was then started. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 27 April 2007.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, Associated Press, Huntsville Item, court documents.