Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Dale Scheanette

Dale Scheanette
Dale Scheanette
Executed on 10 February 2009

Dale Devon Scheanette, 35, was executed by lethal injection on 10 February 2009 in Huntsville, Texas for the rape and murder of a woman in her apartment.

On 17 September 1996, the body of Christine Vu, 26, was found lying face down in a half-filled bathtub in her Arlington apartment. Her hands, ankles, and neck were wrapped with duct tape. An autopsy showed that she had been raped, strangled, and drowned. A fingerprint was found in her apartment, and a DNA sample was collected during the autopsy, but this evidence did not lead to any suspects.

On 24 December 1996, Norman and Brenda Norwood became worried when their 20-year-old niece, Wendie Prescott, failed to show up for a planned shopping trip with her sister. At around 11:00 p.m., Mr. Norwood went to Prescott's apartment, which was in the same apartment complex where Vu's body was found three months earlier. Norwood found his niece's body lying face down in the bathtub. Her neck, wrists, and ankles were wrapped in duct tape and were all connected together with a band of duct tape down her back. An autopsy showed that she had been sexually assaulted and bound in this fashion prior to her death, which was caused by manual strangulation. The medical examiner was uncertain as to whether her immersion in the bathtub contributed to her death. Investigators recovered a high-quality fingerprint from a television stand in Prescott's apartment, and sperm samples were recovered, but no matches were returned from law enforcement data bases.

The killings, which the media dubbed the work of the "Bathtub Killer", remained unsolved for years.

In May 1999, Dale Scheanette was arrested in Dallas County for criminal mischief. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 months in jail.

In the summer of 2000, Arlington police resubmitted the fingerprint from the Prescott murder to the FBI computer system. An FBI analyst found a conclusive match with Scheanette's fingerprints, which entered the system in 1999. Scheanette was arrested and a saliva sample was taken from him. The DNA from Scheanette's saliva was matched to the DNA from the sperm sample extracted from Prescott's corpse with a statistical certainty of 1 in 763 million. Scheanette's fingerprint and DNA evidence were also matched to the samples taken from Vu's murder.

After his arrest, Scheanette was also connected to the sexual assaults of four other women in their apartments the Dallas-Fort Worth area from September 1998 to October 1999.

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