Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Joshua Maxwell

Joshua Maxwell
Joshua Maxwell
Executed on 11 March 2010

Joshua Maxwell, 31, was executed by lethal injection on 11 March 2010 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a sheriff's deputy.

Rudolfo Lopes, a sergeant with the Bexar County Sheriff's Department, was scheduled to work at the Bexar County Jail from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on 11 October 2000. When his wife saw him leave the house that morning in his gold four-door Chevrolet pickup, he was wearing a gold chain necklace with a cross and anchor pendant. He was also carrying a briefcase and his department-issue Glock pistol. He never reported for work or came home that night.

Shortly after 7 p.m. that evening, someone using Lopes's ATM card made two successful cash withdrawals of $300 and $100 at a San Antonio branch of the Security Service Federal Credit Union. A surveillance camera showed a woman leaning out of the driver's side of a vehicle using the ATM.

At about 9 p.m., Charles Dudley, the owner of a martial arts school in a San Antonio strip center, left for work with this family. They noticed a gold Chevrolet pickup truck driving around to the back of the center. They decided to follow the truck to see what was going on. Dudley saw the truck parked next to a hole in the privacy fence that separated the strip center from the field behind it. He observed a woman with long, bushy hair and glasses sitting in the driver's seat and a man slumped down in the passenger seat. As Dudley drove by, the man and woman stared straight ahead. Thinking it odd, Dudley slowly by them a second time and put his headlights on the truck. The man and woman continued sitting in the truck, staring straight ahead.

Between 9 and 10 p.m., Debra Guzman, who lived in a residential area behind the strip center, was watching the Presidential Debate with her husband. She heard one loud gunshot some time during the debate.

A young girl discovered Lopes's body in the field behind the strip center on 12 October. Lopes was blindfolded and was lying face down with his arms inside his shirt and his hands bound together with a clear telephone cord. A white cotton cord was tied around one of his wrists. Police found a 9-mm shell casing on the ground near his body. He died from a single gunshot to the chest.

At 4:15 a.m. on 12 October, a security guard at the Windsor Park Mall in San Antonio ticketed a gray Chevrolet Corsica with Florida license plates for overnight parking. The abandoned Corsica continued to receive parking tickets until it was reported to police on October 15. The police discovered that the vehicle identification number and the license plate did not match and that the vehicle was flagged in reference to a homicide case out of state. Inside the car were letters referring to Joshua Maxwell, then 22, and Tessie McFarland, 20. Police also found a photograph of Maxwell and McFarland, a motel receipt bearing the name Trina Dorris, a package of cigarettes, and a dead lizard.

At 4:40 p.m. on 17 October in San Francisco, California, police officers Joseph Juarez and Jesus Pena observed a gold pickup truck speeding through an intersection, almost hitting a pedestrian. They followed the truck and pulled it over. They approached the truck and ordered the driver to turn off the engine. The male driver instead drove off and led them on a chase through downtown San Francisco. At one point during the chase, the driver fired a shot that struck the officers' windshield. More police joined the chase, and the driver and police exchanged gunfire. The chase ended when the truck became stuck in traffic.

The driver and passenger of the truck were identified as Maxwell and McFarland. Maxwell was wearing a gold necklace when he was arrested. Police searched the truck and found Lopes's badge, credit card, Glock pistol, and briefcase. They also found a Chinese 9-mm pistol and an identification card from the State of Indiana with McFarland's picture and the name Trina Dorris.

Maxwell told police he lured Lopes by placing a personal ad with a telephone dating service, saying he wanted to meet gay or bisexual men who were willing to have sex while his wife watched.

At Maxwell's trial, the medical examiner testified that the victim was killed by a single gunshot to the top of his head. The bullet exited the victim's chin, then re-entered his body through his chest. A firearms expert testified that the Chinese pistol found in the victim's truck was the murder weapon.

Robert Brown testified that prior to Lopes's murder, he met Maxwell and McFarland in San Antonio after responding to their ad on a "dating telephone line" advertised in a magazine. Two or three days after their initial meeting, the couple - who called themselves "Mo" and "Trina" - told him they were in town for a friend's wedding and needed a place to stay overnight. They spent the night at Brown's apartment and gave him a ride to the liquor store the next day. Brown testified that they drove a gray car with Florida license plates, and that there was a container in the car that had a chameleon inside.

Officers Calvin Robinson and Wendell Busby testified that they were working at the Bexar County Jail while Maxwell was awaiting trial. Maxwell became agitated and threatened to kill Robinson, just as he had killed their colleague. Maxwell then mimicked his murder of Lopes and mocked how he begged for his life.

Maxwell and McFarland were wanted for the murder of Robbie Bott in Mooresville, Indiana on 12 September. Bott was abducted and forced to put expensive items on his credit card and to make cash withdrawals for two days before eventually being shot in the torso. His body was placed in the trunk of his car, which was then set on fire.

Maxwell also had a lengthy juvenile and adult criminal record in Indiana, including a felony theft conviction.

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