Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Keith Thurmond

Keith Thurmond
Keith Thurmond
Executed on 7 March 2012

Keith Steven Thurmond, 51, was executed by lethal injection on 7 March 2012 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of his estranged wife and her boyfriend.

Sharon Thurmond lived in Magnolia, Texas in Montgomery County with her husband, Keith, and their six-year-old son*. In the summer of 2001, she took the child and moved in with Guy Fernandes, who lived across the street.

On 30 August 2001, Keith Thurmond traveled to Sharon's mother's home. He banged on the back glass patio door, demanding to see Sharon, but her mother told him she was not there and told him to leave.

Fifteen minutes later, Thurmond returned and again demanded to see Sharon. Sharon came to the door, but did not open it. According to Sharon's mother, Thurmond told her, Sharon, and Fernandes "that we were all wrong in what we were doing, and that Sharon was going to get hers and that he was going to get Guy."

On 25 September 2001, Montgomery County deputies served Thurmond, then 41, at his trailer home with a protective order placing his son in Sharon's custody and barring him from having contact with her. It was the second court order against him that Sharon had obtained. After the deputies left with his son, Thurmond put on a black karate outfit and paced inside his trailer home with a sword and a .45-caliber handgun. His brother, Tom, and a friend urged him to settle down and let the courts resolve the custody dispute, but Thurmond replied that he was "very mad" and was "going to do something stupid."

Thurmond then went across the street and killed the couple. Sharon, 32, was shot outside the residence. Fernandes, 35, was shot inside the residence. Fernandes had also been beaten on the head. Pieces of the gun were near his body.

The boy ran screaming across the street to his father's home, where his uncle Tom tried to calm him down. When Keith burst in, the boy fled. Keith then grabbed a shotgun and threatened to kill himself.

"I messed up, I messed up!" he cried.

Thurmond then blockaded himself inside his home with at least two firearms, holding police at bay for more than 2 hours before surrendering peacefully.

Thurmond's son told investigators that he, his mother, and Fernandes were in a pickup truck when Thurmond came over with the gun. Thurmond chased Sharon around the yard while Fernandes ran into the mobile home. He saw his father shoot his mother "a couple of times" and then "ran into Guy's mobile home with the gun."

At Thurmond's trial, Tom Thurmond testified that he was on the phone calling their father for help when he heard gunshots. He looked out the door and saw his brother standing over Sharon with a gun in his hand.

The defense attempted to convince jurors that Thurmond was a good father who snapped in a fit of rage triggered by the circumstances of his wife living across the street with another man, and the deputies removing his son from his home.

Thurmond had no prior felony convictions, but at his punishment hearing, the jury heard testimony from a woman who was involved with him from 1975 to 1979. She testified that six months into the relationship, Thurmond became very controlling and began pushing, slapping, and hitting her. She testified that she was afraid to leave him. Eventually, she did, but in February 1979, he came to her home and raped her at knifepoint. A couple of days later, believing that he was returning to do the same thing, she fled to her sister's house. When she returned, she found her lock broken. She called the police, who found Thurmond inside carrying a 12-gauge shotgun. Thurmond kept stalking her until she moved out of state.

The jury also heard testimony from another woman who was Thurmond's common-law wife in a violent relationship from 1981 to 1983. This woman testified that when she told him she was leaving him, Thurmond threw her to the floor, straddled her, and choked her. The woman later obtained a restraining order against him because he kept harassing her.


*Or eight years old, according to some accounts.

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