Arthur Brown Jr., 52, was executed by lethal injection on 9 March 2023 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of four people during a drug buy.
Rachel Tovar and her husband, Jose, were drug dealers in Houston. They supplied marijuana and cocaine to other drug dealers, including Brown and his associates, who were from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In the early morning of Saturday, 20 June 1992, Brown, then 21, Marion Dudley, 20, Antonia Dunson, 19 and Maliek Travis arrived from Tuscaloosa at the residence of Brown's sister, Grace. They then went to the Tovars to buy 3 kilograms of cocaine. When they arrived, the Tovars told them they didn't have that much, but they could get more. After a few hours, the men returned, but were told again that it would take more time for them to get the quantity they wanted.
Brown, Dudley, and Dunson returned around dusk. Armed with pistols, they rounded up Jose Tovar, 32; Rachel's son, Frank Farias, 17; Jessica Quinones, 19, the common-law wife of another of the Tovars' sons; and neighbor Audrey Brown, 21. Rachel Tovar then entered the home and was met by Dunson, who led her in at gunpoint with the other victims. The men then began using strips of bedsheets to tie up their victims. Alexander Camarillo, also known as Nico Cortez, stopped by for a visit and was also tied up and robbed. The victims were tied with their hands behind their backs and nooses around their necks and placed in separate rooms. All six were then shot in the head. Jose Tovar and Farias were killed. Rachel Tovar and Cortez regained consciousness after a while and found Quinones and Brown still alive. Tovar crawled to a neighbor's house for help and called police. Quinones, who was seven months pregnant, died before they arrived. Audrey Brown died later at a hospital.
Both Tovar and Cortez identified Brown and Dudley as the shooters. Tovar knew them from previous drug deals as "Squirt" and "Red," respectively. At Dudley's trial, Tovar testified that he said, "You stupid Mexican, I never did like you" to her husband.
After the killings, Brown quickly left Houston on a plane and paid his sisters $1,000 to drive his van back to Alabama.
The killers evaded capture for several months. Dudley and Dunson were arrested on 12 August 1992 in North Carolina while hiding in a mobile home. Brown was arrested later in Tuscaloosa.
At Brown's trial, a firearms expert, Charlie E. Anderson, testified unequivocally that the murders were committed with a Charter Arms .38 revolver and a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver that were recovered from Alabama. The Charter Arms revolver was used to shoot Farias, Quinones, and Audrey Brown. The state presented witness testimony and forensic evidence that this was the weapon Arthur Brown used.
One of Brown's sisters, Carolyn Momoh, was called to testify. She initially refused, despite having been granted immunity. After being held in contempt of court, she testified that she owned a snub-nosed Charter Arms .38 revolver that went missing after Brown made his trip to Houston. She stated that Brown admitted to her that he "shot six Mexicans."* The revolver was found next to a homicide victim in Alabama.
On cross-examination, Momoh recanted her statement about Brown shooting six victims. "I was told I had to testify to that statement," she said, according to an appeals brief filed by her attorney. She said that the police threatened to take her kids away if she did not testify in the way they instructed her. Momoh was later prosecuted for perjury for changing her testimony.
Brown had a previous conviction for armed robbery in Tuscaloosa in 1988. The state also presented evidence that he assaulted a deputy at the Harris County jail.
The defense claimed that Momoh and Nico Cortez were intimidated and coerced into giving false testimony. At his punishment hearing, Brown's lawyers presented evidence that he had a low IQ and suffered from a learning disability.
*Or, according to some accounts, "killed six Mexicans" or "shot and killed six Mexicans."
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