Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Stephen Moody

Stephen Moody
Stephen Moody
Executed on 16 September 2009

On 19 October 1991, Calvin Doby, 29, Lloyd Larrieu, 49, and Melvin Ellis drove to the Houston home of Larrieu's drug supplier, Joseph Hall, 28. After some discussion about robbing Hall, Doby telephoned Moody, then 34. About an hour and a half later, Moody and Doby met at Hall's house. They then forced their way inside and demanded money and drugs from Hall. While Hall pleaded for his life, Moody shot him at close range with a sawed-off shotgun. Moody and Doby then fled with $1,200 in cash. About 45 minutes later, they met at Ellis's house to divide the money.

The murder case went unsolved for nearly a year until a relative of Doby give police a tip. Hall's girlfriend, Rene McKeage, who witnessed the murder, then identified Moody from a photo lineup. By that time, Moody was already in prison, serving a 40-year sentence for robbing a Houston bank in December 1991.

At Moody's trial, McKeage testified that on the evening of the murder, she and Hall were returning home from dinner when she noticed two unknown men walking on the street, away from their house. Later, McKeage was in the bathroom when she heard someone rush into the house. She heard Hall yell out her name, and then heard another man's voice screaming "Where is the money?" Knowing that there were drugs in the house, McKeage said she initially thought the men may be police. She then heard Hall say, "You're not the cops. Let me see your badges." A moment later, Moody walked into the bathroom pointing a sawed-off shotgun at her. He said, "Stay there. Don't move."

Moody then left the bathroom. McKeage heard him ask Hall again, "Where is the money?" Hall answered that the money was in his pocket, and said, "Please don't shoot me." Moody then returned to the bathroom and ordered McKeage to stay there. "Okay, I won't move," she answered. Moody shut the bathroom door as he left. McKeage then jumped out of the window and made her way to the next-door neighbor's house. While she was fleeing, she heard a gunshot come from inside her house. She called 911 at the neighbor's house.

Melvin Ellis testified that he was with Doby and Larrieu in September when Doby asked Larrieu the name and whereabouts of the person who supplied his drugs, so he could rob him. He also stated that on the day of the murder, when the three of them went to Hall's house, Larrieu explained to Doby where Hall kept his money and described his car to him, so Doby could know whether Hall was home. Ellis further testified that after the murder, Moody and Doby came to his residence and both of them told him about the crime. Ellis testified that Moody said, "I shot him right in the heart." Ellis also said that he noticed a shotgun in the vehicle that Moody and Doby were driving.

When Ellis testified in court that Moody and Doby left $100 of the stolen money at his house, Moody blurted out, "He's a lying son of a bitch. He got $900."

Moody had three prior felony convictions, in addition to the December 1991 bank robbery. In 1978, he was convicted of burglary of a habitation and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He was paroled in 1981. Before the end of the year, he was back in prison with a new 6-year sentence for auto theft. He was released in 1984. In 1985, he was sentenced to 14 years for burglary of a vehicle. He served 3½ years of that of sentence before being paroled again in 1988. (At the time, early release was common in Texas due to strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.)

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