WHITEHOUSE, Texas — For 18 years, East Texas native Tracy Beatty has sat on death row waiting, which could come to an end this week.
On Wednesday, he’s scheduled to receive the lethal injection for the 2003 strangling death of his mother.
His execution date has changed multiple times, including in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even just two days away, Beatty is attempting to delay the execution date again, claiming juror misconduct at his 2004 trial.
A federal court recently dismissed Beatty’s claims of the state prison system jeopardizing his constitutional rights of proving he may have an intellectual disability. A 2002 Supreme Court decision stated those who have an intellectual disability cannot be executed.
But despite these efforts, nearly a month before his scheduled execution, Beatty, now 61, said he’s come to terms with death.
“I'm not worried about it. And I've already made my peace with the Man. So I know where I'm going,” Beatty said in an Oct. 12 interview with CBS19 at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston. “I’ll be in a lot better place than this.”
Beatty, of Whitehouse, was sentenced in August 2004 for the capital murder of his mother Carolyn “Callie” Ruth Click, who he strangled and later buried in the backyard in Whitehouse on Nov. 25, 2003.
In recalling what led to her death, Beatty said he was “heartbroken” because she was his mom, and he said it was an accident.
“That's why I've made my peace with the man upstairs. I know I'll see her again,” he said.
To him, having a death date scheduled is “no big deal” as it’s something he’s known would happen for quite some time.
“I've got an advantage over most people in the world. I mean, you don't know when you're going to die,” Beatty said. “I know when I'm going to die. Now, and I've known that I was going to die since I've been here.”
Since serving his prison sentence, he’s made plans to be baptized and married a woman from Israel in an Oct. 25 ceremony.
Beatty said their relationship began when she became his pen pal, which led to her visiting.
“She wants to get married. She says she loves me. If I don't get a stay then she'll just deal with it,” he said. “She flew over here when I found out I had (an execution) date.”
Otherwise, Beatty called prison a really “boring, boring place.” He said he gets to spend two hours for recreation but the rest of the time is spent in his cell. Beatty has five kids, who he said he writes and gets mail from them often.
A FATAL ARGUMENT
Beatty typically had a tumultuous relationship with his mother over the years.
In October 2003, he began staying with her while on parole after serving a prison sentence for intentionally injuring his 18-month-old niece, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Witnesses said Click had forgiven him when he came to her home in October, the Morning Telegraph reported.
He said they got along for a little while.
But on Nov. 25, 2003, an argument between Beatty and Click began that would ultimately lead to Click’s death.
Beatty said he was drinking all day and he came into the house drunk.
“She just started talking trash and raising hell and telling me I wouldn't be staying out,” he said.
He said he tried to leave but Click grabbed him by his hair, which according to him she knew that would make him angry.
“I told her if she didn't let me go I was gonna beat her ... And she knew I would. So instead of letting me go she grabbed me by the other side of your hair. (She said), ‘If I have to pull you by the hair on your head to make you listen, that's what I'm going to do,’” Beatty said. “I just grabbed her by her throat and the back of her neck, and picked her up and threw her back toward her recliner.”
She fell down between the table and the recliner chair. He thought he just simply knocked her out, Beatty said.
He went into the room he was staying in and placed a lamp in front of the door. He also got a gun ready from underneath the dresser, Beatty explained.
“If she opened the door, it would knock the lamp over and wake me up. I knew she had a .38 in the house somewhere. I wasn't going to let her shoot my (expletive) while I'm asleep,” Beatty said.
When the morning came, he walked down the hallway to see her legs still sticking out of the recliner. He thought “this ain’t right” and when he felt her skin, he could tell she was “gone.”
Once he realized she died, Beatty said he picked her up, undressed her and placed her in the bathtub to wash blood off her face and head.
She laid in a pool of water for three days until he realized he had to do “something.”
“So I just dug a grave in the backyard and put her in it. She always said she wanted to be buried there on top of the hill anyways,” he said.
Beatty said he didn’t call the authorities because he was on parole.
“They were gonna make it a murder case anyway,” he said. “They wouldn't want to hear why it was just an accident.”
He didn’t get caught until a month later.
According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph report in 2003, Beatty was arrested in Henderson County on auto and theft charges and he told inmates he killed his mother. He asked investigators to let him guide them to Click's body to “get her out of the hole before Christmas."
Just two days before Christmas, cadaver dogs found her nude, contorted body in a small, shallow grave behind her pale yellow trailer in Whitehouse.
Beatty buried her with mothballs and garlic, covered her with cat litter and lumber, and tied panty hose over her neck and face, the Tyler Paper’s previous report read.
In addition to strangling his mother, police found Beatty beat her badly, broke her bones and injured her head. He burned her items, stole her car and used credit cards to buy drugs and alcohol, according to court records obtained by the Tyler Paper.
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION
Almost two decades later, Beatty disputes the reason he was charged with capital murder. According to the state law, a person is charged with capital murder if they kill someone while committing another felony like a burglary.
Beatty said there was no burglary involved, and that’s why he pleaded not guilty to capital murder.
“I was guilty of murder. I wasn't guilty of capital murder. They made my case a capital murder case. Her credit cards were never used until the week after the murder,” he said. “They wanted to try me for capital murder simply because of the fact it's East Texas they're full of Southern Baptists and the victim was my mother.”
Prosecutors said evidence showed there were several items taken out of the house, which Beatty agreed saying he allowed some women to take anything he didn’t want.
“I didn't have any use for the stuff. So I told a couple of the girls that I was seeing and running around with, 'if you want anything out of here just go ahead and take it,” Beatty said.
EFFORTS TO POSTPONE DEATH
New documents reveal an appeals court recently denied his latest federal lawsuit appeal for a stay of execution. It's a move criminal defense lawyer Matt Bingham said is very common this close to the execution date.
“His lawyers will be doing everything they can to try to prevent the death penalty from being assessed. It's lawful, it's legal to do that,” Bingham said.
Bingham was the Smith County district attorney during Beatty's trial, which was one of the first capital murder cases he tried as DA.
“I do believe that he should have that appellate review. And there should be scrutiny on the case, to make sure that what the jury assessed was the right decision,” Bingham said.
With appeals still pending, Beatty remains scheduled to get the lethal injection this Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Huntsville State Penitentiary.
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