Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Tracy Beatty

Tracy Beatty
Tracy Beatty
Executed on 9 November 2022

Tracy Lane Beatty, 61, was executed by lethal injection on 9 November 2022 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of his mother in her home.

In September 2003, Beatty, then 42, was paroled from prison after serving a 15-year sentence for automobile theft. Early in October, he moved in with his mother, Carolyn Click, 62, who lived in a trailer in Whitehouse, near Tyler. Betty McCarty, Click's next-door neighbor and close friend, testified that Click had initially been excited that her son was moving in with her, even though he had assaulted her several times in the past. Sometime in October, however, she asked him to leave. "I put up with all I'm going to put up with," she told McCarty.

Lienna Wilkerson lived across the road from Click. Like Betty McCarty, Wilkerson testified that Click was excited that Beatty was coming to live with her, even though he had assaulted her several times in the past, including one occasion where he beat her "so severely that he had left her for dead." Wilkerson stated that Click hoped that she and Beatty could mend their relationship. After he moved in, Wilkerson hired Beatty, who was unemployed, to do odd jobs for her. He also came over to her house when he and Click argued, which was daily.

In late October and early November, Beatty house-sat for Wilkerson while she was out of town for several days. Wilkerson testified that she extended this offer to Beatty because she was worried about he and Click fighting and thought it would be good to give them a chance to separate from each other. When Wilkerson returned home, Beatty's suitcase was in the living room. Beatty told her that his mother had packed his things and brought them over. Nevertheless, Beatty went back to live with Click.

According to Wilkerson, Beatty and Click fought daily in November. In mid-November, Beatty told her that he had missed a job interview that he was very excited about because he did not have a driver's license and Click wouldn't drive him to the interview because "she just didn't feel like it." She also would not let him borrow her car. It was around this time that Beatty told her about a fight he had with Click while he was underpinning the house and holding a hammer, and "all I could think about was hitting her in the head with it." He then told Wilkerson, "Well, I couldn't do it. If I shoved her under there, she would have just started stinking."

"I just thought he was joking," Wilkerson testified, but she also stated that Beatty had told her several times "that he just wanted to choke her and shut her up" over their fights.

On 25 November, two days before Thanksgiving, Betty McCarty came over to visit Click at around 4:00 p.m. She found Click "stressed out and crying." McCarty stated that Click told her she asked her son again to leave the house.

Stacy Killough, Beatty's cousin, testified that Beatty arrived at her house between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. He was driving Click's car. Killough testified that she knew Click was "very protective" of her car and never let anyone else drive it, including Beatty. Killough stated that Beatty smelled of alcohol, but was not intoxicated. When she asked him where his mother was, he told her that she was out of town with a friend, and would not return for a few weeks. He stayed at Killough's house for only five to ten minutes. Killough stated that the drive from Click's house to hers took about 45 minutes.

Lienna Wilkerson testified that around 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., Beatty came over to her house and ate dinner. He stayed until around 10:00 p.m., then went home. The next day, he gave her a turkey. He told her that he had bought it for Thanksgiving, but that Click had decided to go out of town with a man named "Junior," so they would not need it.

Beatty used Click's credit cards and bank accounts until they were maxed out and depleted, spending most of the funds on drugs and alcohol. He was subsequently jailed in neighboring Henderson County on theft charges. There, he began telling fellow inmates about murdering his mother. He also requested to speak to investigators so that he could lead them to her body and "get her out of the hole before Christmas."

On 23 December, cadaver dogs found Click's nude, contorted body in a small, shallow grave behind her home. Her body was covered with cat litter in which Beatty had placed mothballs and garlic to help disguise the smell. Her face and neck were wrapped in panty hose. She had been strangled and badly beaten, with broken bones and head trauma.

Beatty gave numerous, conflicting accounts of his mother's death. At times, he stated that "Junior" killed his mother, and that he stabbed Junior, disposed of his body in a lake, and buried his mother. At other times, he claimed that he hired "a friend" to kill his mother, and that he then killed the friend. He also said that he choked his mother because she pulled a gun on him. He told Wilkerson versions of these stories, but she testified that the last story he told her was that after he left her house on the 25th, he went back home and had a fight with his mother. He then choked her until she fell on the floor. He said that he did not realize she was dead until he woke up the next morning and saw her lying in the same place on the floor.

Beatty had a previous conviction for injury to a child. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 1987. He was paroled after serving 8 months of his sentence. He was returned to prison in 1988 with a new 15-year prison sentence for automobile theft. He was paroled again in 1991. (At the time, early release was common in Texas due to strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.) He subsequently had his parole revoked and was returned to prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence. He was paroled in September 2003, three months before the completion of his sentence. Beatty also had a conviction for aggravated assault on a correctional officer, plus misdemeanor convictions for unlawfully carrying a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. He had a total of 21 arrests.

Under Texas law, for a first-degree murder to qualify as capital murder, one or more aggravating factors must be present. One of the statutorily enumerated aggravating factors is the concurrent commission of certain felonies, including burglary. The prosecution asserted that Betty McCarty's testimony showed that Click told Beatty to leave her home on the day she was murdered, meaning he entered her home without her consent for the purpose of committing a crime, meeting the definition of burglary.

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