State News

May 16, 2013 9:09 AM

Texas Executes Man For Fatal Shooting Of Officer

HUNTSVILLE - A Houston man condemned for the slaying of a police officer shot while trying to handcuff him during a car theft arrest 14 years ago was put to death Wednesday evening.

Jeffrey Demond Williams, 37, received lethal injection just over an hour after his last-day appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed.

Asked to make a final statement, Williams spoke quickly and angrily, beginning with "You clown police," and accused them of "killing innocent kids, murdering young kids."

"Y'all are getting away with murder all the time," he continued. "When I kill one or pop one, y'all want to kill me."

He ended his brief tirade by saying: "God has a plan for everything. ... I love everyone that loves me, I ain't got no love for anyone that don't love me."

He briefly picked up his head as the lethal drug took effect, then took several deep breaths and began gently snoring.

Williams was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. CDT, 26 minutes after lethal drug began, making him the sixth Texas inmate executed this year.

Williams' lawyers had appealed to the nation's highest court to block the punishment after lower courts rejected their arguments that Williams was failed by his previous attorneys.

Williams was convicted of fatally shooting 39-year-old Houston officer Troy Blando while Blando was handcuffing him on May 19, 1999. Williams shot Blando with a gun he had tucked under his shirt. Blando was watching a motel where car thefts were suspected when he saw Williams drive up in a Lexus that was reported stolen in a carjacking nine days earlier.

Prosecutors say that after shooting Blando, Williams fled the scene but only made it about a block before he was captured. Blando's cuffs were hanging from one of his wrists.

"I have no sympathy for him," Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, said after standing outside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit with a couple dozen officers and supporters, several on roaring motorcycles, while the execution was carried out inside.

"Continuing to the very end ridiculing the police just shows what kind of thug he is."

In their appeal, Williams' attorneys contended his execution should be postponed so that the courts can further review their claims that he received substandard legal help at his trial that influenced the jury's decision to sentence him to death. They also said he received "grossly deficient" counsel early on in the appeals process because his attorneys then didn't address the poor job his trial attorneys had done.

Attorneys for the state opposed any delay, contending Williams' arguments were rejected by the courts, including the Supreme Court, in earlier appeals.

Williams' fingerprints were found on the Lexus and also on Blando's vehicle, evidence showed. When arrested, Williams was carrying the 9 mm pistol determined to be the murder weapon.

At his trial, his lawyers tried to show Williams was unintelligent, had emotional problems and didn't deserve to die.

Evidence showed Williams gave investigators five taped confessions the day he was arrested. Williams said he fired in self-defense, feared Blando could have been a carjacker and didn't know Blando was an officer. In another confession, he acknowledged knowing he was shooting a policeman.

Court records show Blando, although in plain clothes, was carrying his badge around his neck.

"Troy was a great investigator," said Jim Woods, who worked with Blando in the police auto theft division. "He had a great wealth of knowledge, was very dedicated. He'd take on the hard cases as well as the easy ones.

"He loved to go out and chase car thieves. Unfortunately, that was probably his demise."

Testimony and confessions also linked Williams to four robberies, another shooting and an attempted robbery.

Williams became the 498th Texas prisoner put to death since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. At least eight others have executions scheduled in the coming months.

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