Lee Andrew Taylor, 32, was executed by lethal injection on 16 June 2011 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a fellow prison inmate.
In November 1995, Taylor, then 16, beat an elderly man and woman during a robbery of their home. The man, 79-year-old John Hampton, subsequently died in the hospital. Taylor was convicted of aggravated robbery and sentenced to life in prison.
On 31 March 1999, in the Telford state prison in Bowie County, some property was stolen from the cell of inmate Daniel Richbourg, 29. Inmate Donta Greene participated in the theft.
On 1 April, as some inmates were leaving their cells to go to breakfast, Taylor, then 20, walked past Greene, then turned around and struck him with his fist. Taylor then grabbed Greene and held him in a headlock, then stabbed him in the chest thirteen times with an 8" home-made weapon. Meanwhile, Richbourg brandished his own blade made from plexiglass to keep other inmates from coming to Greene's aid. Greene was unarmed. After the stabbing, Taylor shouted, "That's what you get for stealing ..."
The prosecution asserted that, in addition to the theft incident, Greene's killing was the product of racial tension. Taylor was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, while Greene was black.
A jury convicted Taylor of capital murder in February 2000 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in December 2002. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
At the time of the killing, Daniel Joseph Richbourg Jr. was serving a 12-year sentence for burglary of a building. He was convicted of murder in Greene's case and was given a 48-year sentence. If he serves his term to completion, he will be 80 when he is discharged.
On a web site operated by opponents of the death penalty, Taylor admitted killing Greene, but stated that the killing was done in self-defense. "... on April 1st 1999 I fought off 8 black men with a shank," he wrote. "Defending myself against 8 men older and stronger, fighting for my life against a premeditated attack, I defended myself ... the result - I killed one of them."
Taylor began his last statement at his execution by protesting the Texas death penalty. "There are 300 people on death row, and not every one of them is a monster," he said. "The state of Texas is carrying out a very inhuman and unjust situation. It's not right to kill anybody, not the way I did it, or the way it's being done to me. Everyone changes, right? Life is about experience, and people change."
The condemned man then looked to the victim's family. "For all you people," he said, "I defended myself when I killed your family member. Prison is a bad place. I didn't set out to kill him. But he would not have been in prison if he was a saint. I hope y'all understand that." While Taylor continued talking to the victim's family, the lethal injection was started. As the drug was taking effect, he said, "I'm ready to teleport". He was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 17 June 2011.
(Sources: Texas Attorney General's office, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, court documents, Huntsville Item, Reuters, deathrow-usa.com.)