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LIST: 3 East Texans scheduled for execution in 2020, 18 sit on death row

Eighteen East Texas natives are currently awaiting execution.

The Smith County District Attorney's Office has announced they will seek the death penalty against a former Tyler nurse charged with murdering and injuring patients.

William George Davis, 35, is accused of killing three patients and seriously injuring five others from June 2017-January 2018.

Davis will appear in court for his next hearing on April 24.

RELATED: Prosecutors to seek death penalty against former Tyler nurse accused of murdering, injuring patients

Currently, three East Texas men are set to be put to death by the State of Texas in 2020.

Those individuals include:


Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

In July 2003, Tracy Beatty killed his 62-year-old mother and buried her in the backyard. He then stole her car, used her credit cards and drained her bank accounts to buy drugs.

"He had been to the penitentiary and was out at one point in time, then he brutally assaulted her, his parole was revoked, and he was sent back to the penitentiary," Smith County Sheriff's Office Major Mike Lusk said at the time. "We have some indication that was part of his motive."

Beatty was convicted in December 2003 and sentenced to death.


Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

In June 1993, Billy Wardlow and Tonya Fulfer entered the home of 82-year-old Carl Cole intending to rob him. Wardlow shot Cole in the head, killing him. 


Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

On May 21, 2007, Randall Mays man gunned down three Henderson County Sheriff's Office deputies, marking one of the most tragic days in Henderson County law enforcement history. 

Deputy Paul Hablet, Deputy Sheriff Tony Ogburn and Deputy Kevin Harris were responding to a domestic violence call in Payne Springs when Randall Mays opened fire on the trio with a "high-powered rifle." Hablet and Ogburn died as a result of their injuries, while Harris suffered a broken leg. 

Mays was convicted of capital murder of a peace officer and sentenced to death in May 2008. 

Harris retired from the HCSO in January 2009.

Other executions currently scheduled to be carried out in 2020 are as follows:

  • March 18 - John Hummel (Tarrant County)
  • April 23 - Fabian Hernandez (El Paso County)
  • May 6 - Edward Busby (Tarrant County)
  • June 3 - Carlos Trevino (Bexar County)


In addition to Beatty, Wardlow and Mays, other East Texans who currently sit on death row include:

Cargill is one of six women awaiting execution. 

RELATED: Whitehouse woman on Texas death row loses appeal

Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice


Kimberly Cargill was convicted and sentenced to death in 2012 for the 2010 murder of 39-year-old Cherry Walker, who was developmentally disabled. Walker was set to be subpoenaed to testify against Cargill in a Child Protective Services case regarding Cargill's son, whom Walker babysat. An autopsy revealed Cargill asphyxiated Walker before dumping her body on the side of a road in Smith County. She then doused Walker with lighter fluid and set her on fire.


Death row was located in the East Building of the Huntsville Unit from 1928 to 1952. From 1952 until 1965, the electric chair was located in a building by the East Wall of the Huntsville Unit.

Those on death row were moved from the Huntsville Unit to the Ellis Unit in 1965. Death row remained at the Ellis Unit until 1999. In 1999, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice moved death row to the Polunsky Unit. The Polunsky Unit houses death row offenders separately in single-person cells, with each cell having a window. Death row offenders are also recreated individually. Offenders on death row receive a regular diet, and have access to reading, writing and legal materials. Depending upon their custody level, some death row offenders are allowed to have a radio. The women on death row are housed at the Mountain View Unit. Offenders on death row do not have regular TDCJ-ID numbers; they have special death row numbers.

Hanging was means of execution from 1819 to 1923.

The State of Texas authorized the use of the electric chair in 1923, and ordered all executions to be carried out in Huntsville. Prior to 1923, Texas counties were responsible for their own executions.

The State of Texas executed Charles Reynolds, of Red River County, the first offender by electrocution, on February 8, 1924. The same day, four additional offenders, Ewell Morris, George Washington, Mack Matthews and Melvin Johnson, were executed.

The State of Texas has executed brothers on six occasions:

  • Frank and Lorenzo Noel - Electrocuted on July 3, 1925
  • S.A. and Forest Robins - Electrocuted on April 6, 1926
  • Oscar and Mack Brown - Electrocuted on July 1, 1936
  • Roscoe and Henderson Brown - Electrocuted on May 6, 1938
  • Curtis and Danny Harris - Lethal injection on July 1, 1993, and July 30, 1993, respectively
  • Jessie and Jose Gutierrez - Lethal injection on September 16, 1994, and November 18, 1999, respectively

One of the most notorious offenders to be executed was Raymond Hamilton, a member of the "Bonnie and Clyde" gang. He was sentenced to death for the crime of murder by Walker County. Hamilton and another man had escaped from death row, only to be captured and returned. He was executed on May 10, 1935, just 11 days before his 22nd birthday.

Credit: City of Lewisville

The last offender executed by electrocution in Texas was Joseph Johnson, of Harris County, on July 30, 1964.

Altogether, a total of 361 inmates were put to death via electrocution in Texas.

When capital punishment was declared "cruel and unusual punishment" by the United States Supreme Court on June 29, 1972, there were 45 men on death row in Texas and seven in county jails with a death sentence. All of the sentences were commuted to life sentences by the governor and death row was clear by March 1973.

In 1973, revisions to the Texas Penal Code once again allowed assessment of the death penalty and paved the way for executions to resume effective January 1, 1974. Under the new statute, John Devries was the first man placed on death row on February 15, 1974. Devries committed suicide on July 1, 1974, by hanging himself with bed sheets.

The State of Texas adopted lethal injection as means of execution in 1977 and executed the first offender, Charlie Brooks, of Tarrant County, with the new method on December 7, 1982. Brooks was put to death for the kidnapping and murder of a Fort Worth auto mechanic.

The lethal injection is a single-drug method of Pentobarbital.

Effective January 12, 1996, close relatives and friends of the deceased victim were allowed to witness executions.


Pursuant to Texas Penal Code Section 19.03, the following crimes are considered capital murder in Texas and punishable by death:

  • Murder of a peace officer or firefighter who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or firefighter
  • Murder during the commission or attempted commission of a kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction/retaliation or terroristic threat
  • Murder for remuneration or promise of remuneration or employs another to commit murder for remuneration or promise of remuneration
  • Murder during escape or attempted escape from a penal institution
  • Murder, while incarcerated in a penal institution, of a correctional employee or with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination
  • Murder while incarcerated in a penal institution for a conviction of murder or capital murder
  • Murder while incarcerated in a penal institution serving a life sentence or a 99-year sentence for a conviction of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault or aggravated robbery
  • Murder of more than one person during the same criminal transaction or during different criminal transactions, but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct
  • Murder of an individual under 10 years of age
  • Murder in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court or a municipal court


The death penalty is currently authorized by 30 states, the Federal Government and the U.S. Military. While Maryland and New Mexico no longer have death penalty statutes, they do currently incarcerate death-sentenced offenders. The law abolishing the death penalty in these states was not retroactive, it only applies to offenders sentenced after the law was passed. 

Texas leads the nation in the number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

California, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania have the largest death row populations, according to the TDCJ.

As of 2018, 2,743 offenders were on death row in the United States, reports the Death Penalty Information Center

There are five methods of execution in the United States: lethal injection, electrocution, lethal gas, hanging and firing squad.

For more on capital punishment in the United States, visit the Bureau of Justice Statistics-Capital Punishment.


The average time for an inmate to be on death row in Texas prior to their execution is 10.87 years.

Joe Gonzales, Jr., of Potter County, and Steven Renfro, of Harrison County, spent the shortest time on death row prior to being put to death. Gonzales was on death row for 252 days before being executed on September 18, 1966. Renfro served 263 days on death row before his execution on February 8, 1998.

David Powell, of Travis County, and Lester Brower, of Grayson County, are reported as spending the longest amount of time on death row prior to execution. Powell and Bower spent 31 years on death row before their execution dates of June 15, 2010, and June 3, 2015, respectively.

The average ages of executed offenders in Texas is 39.

The youngest offenders who have been put to death were; Jay Pinkerton, of Nueces County, Jesse De La Rosa, of Bexar County, and Toronto Patterson, of Dallas County. The men were all 24-years-old at the time of their executions.

De La Rosa died on May 15, 1985. Exactly a year later, Pinkerton met his fate. Patterson was executed on August 28, 2002.

The oldest individuals to have been executed in the state were; Lester Bower, 67, of Grayson County, William Chappell, 66, of Tarrant County, and Wiliam Rayford, 64, of Dallas County.

Chappel was put to death on November 20, 2002. On June 3, 2015, Bower was executed. Rayford received the lethal injection on January 30, 2018.