Michael Durwood Griffith, 56, was executed by lethal injection on 6 June 2007 in Huntsville, Texas for the sexual assault, murder, and robbery of a flower shop operator.
Deborah McCormick, 44, and her mother, Mary Ringer, operated the Always and Forever Flower Florist Shop and Wedding Chapel in Houston. The two women followed a policy that if only one of them was in the store, the door would be locked, and no one unfamiliar would be admitted.
On the morning of 10 October, Ringer left McCormick in the shop alone and locked the door on her way out. While she was gone, Griffith, then 44, came to the store. Griffith had purchased flowers at the store at least three times, so McCormick let him in. He purchased six long-stemmed roses. He then ordered McCormick into a room where he forced her to perform sex acts. He then used a butcher knife to stab her eleven times. Ringer returned about thirty minutes after she left and found her daughter's body in a pool of blood, naked from the waist up. Some credit cards and an envelope containing about $400 in cash were missing from her purse.
On 14 October, Griffith robbed a savings and loan in Harris County. He made the lone employee walk to the restroom in the back of the building, then shot her in the back of the head. That victim survived.
Griffith also robbed a bridal salon and sexually assaulted the salesperson on 28 October.
Griffith was arrested in a motel room about three weeks after the murder. He had Mary Ringer's stolen credit cards, a knife, and an envelope containing cash in his posession. A receipt from the Always and Forever shop, bearing the date of the murder, was in his car.
At Griffith's trial, the medical examiner testified that the knife found in Griffith's motel room was consistent with the wounds inflicted on McCormick's body. DNA testing indicated that it had both McCormick's and Griffith's blood on it.
Griffith had no prior criminal convictions, but he had a history of violent acts against women. At his punishment hearing, his first wife, Cheryl Stanley, testified that he hit her very early on in their marriage and once held a gun to her head. When she confronted him about an affair he was having, he broke several of her ribs. She left him when he injured their daughter in a fight.
Another ex-wife testified that Griffith was generous and charming when they were dating, but became violent the day they were married. She testified that he began beating her four or five months into their three-year marriage, and once threatened to kill her for wearing a tight dress. After they separated, he broke down her front door and broke her car windows and took some money she had withdrawn from their bank account.
In October 1992, Griffith, who was a sergeant in the Harris County Sheriff's Department, began dating a co-worker. This woman testified that at first, he was charming and generous and sent flowers frequently, but soon became possessive, jealous, and temperamental. On one occasion, he choked her and threatened her with a gun. He was fired from the sheriff's department in January 1993 after receiving a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence. He had been with the department for ten years. Despondent over losing his job, he held his girlfriend hostage at his apartment for twelve hours, repeatedly threatening to kill her. The girlfriend escaped, and Griffith was arrested for assault.
Hilda Garcia testified that, when they began dating, Griffith gave her flowers, but that he soon became possessive and temperamental. He struck her on two occasions, one time chipping her tooth. On 19 September 1994 - three weeks before the murder - he destroyed some items in Garcia's home and tried to attack her. Garcia filed assault charges.
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