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Tony Neyshea CHAMBERS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Torture
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 19, 1990
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: December 20, 1967
Victim profile: Carenthia Marie Bailey (female, 11)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Smith County, Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on November 15, 2000


11 year old Carenthia Marie Bailey disappeared after attending a Middle School basketball game.

Her body was found two days later in a nearby woods, raped, strangled and with 20 or more puncture wounds in her abdomen.

Chambers made oral, written and videotaped confessions, which he later tried to recant.

Several witnesses saw Chambers leave the basketball game with her.


Texas Attorney General

Friday, November 10, 2000

MEDIA ADVISORY - Tony Chambers Scheduled To Be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Tony Chambers who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 15th.

Chambers was convicted and sentenced to death for the November 1990 rape and murder of 11 year-old Carenthia Bailey in Tyler, Texas.

Chambers was seen leaving a school basketball game with Carenthia Bailey. She never returned home. Carenthia's body was found two days later in the woods near Dogan Middle School.

It was determined that she had been strangled. There was also evidence that Bailey had been raped and there were twenty or more puncture wounds to her abdomen. The same day Carenthia's body was found, Chambers admitted to police that he had met up with her at the basketball game, then walked with her into the woods where he had sex with Carenthia and strangled her.

Chambers made oral, written and videotaped confessions.

In a taped statement to police, the day Carenthia Bailey's body was found, Chambers admitted to having sex with Carenthia and strangling her.

A jailer overheard Chambers tell another inmate "You know that little girl that was killed; that was me."

When police told Chambers that Carenthia's body had been found, Chambers replied, "Oh no. Oh, my. I didn't mean to hurt her."

Four people who attended the basketball game that Carenthia attended, saw Chambers with her the night she disappeared.

Two witnesses saw Chambers after Carenthia's disappearance and he told them that he had killed her.


  • October 27, 1993 - Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Chambers' conviction.

  • December 8, 1993 - Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied rehearing

  • May 16, 1994 - U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review.

  • March 18, 1998 - Court of Criminal Appeals denied Chambers' application for writ of state habeas corpus.

  • May 6, 1999 - A federal magistrate judge issued a report and recommended that Chambers' petition be denied, based on a second federal habeas petition Chambers filed in November 1998.

  • June 29, 1999 - District court adopted the magistrate's report and recommendation and denied habeas relief.

  • August 10, 1999 - District court denied permission to appeal.

  • June 20, 2000 - Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied permission to appeal.

  • July 24, 2000 - Court of Appeals denied rehearing.

  • October 24, 2000 - Chambers filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court which is pending.


Chambers' girlfriend Juanita Benson testified at trial that while she and Chambers lived together, she frequently called police due to fights they had.

Benson also testified that after she broke up with Chambers, he would come by and throw rocks at her house, pulled the phone cord out of the wall and set a bottle on fire and threw it into a window in her house. Benson also said that Chambers threatened to shoot her in front of police if they came to arrest him.

Chambers had been previously arrested for public intoxication, evading detention, traffic tickets, burglary and assault/retaliation.

Tony Chambers was convicted and sentenced to die for the November 19, 1990 abduction and murder of 11 year old Carenthia Marie Bailey in Tyler, Texas.

Carenthia disappeared after attending a middle-school basketball game and was last seen leaving the school with Chambers.

Her body was found dumped near a road and she had been sexually assaulted and strangled. Chambers called police and told them he had taken Carenthia but later denied involvement.

After her body was found, he gave both a written and verbal confession and has confessed at least 5 times.


State Carries Out 37th Execution, Set For 38th

Amarillo Globe-News

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - Tony Chambers was executed Wednesday night for the abduction, rape and strangulation of an 11-year-old Tyler girl. Chambers, 32, was the 37th inmate to be put to death in Texas this year, tying the record number of executions carried out by the state in 1997. The execution of Johnny Paul Penry is set for tonight.

Chambers was convicted in the murder of Carenthia Marie Bailey, who disappeared after attending a middle school basketball game 10 years ago in Tyler. Chambers was seen leaving the basketball game with the girl Nov. 19, 1990.

Her body was found two days later in a wooded area near Tyler's Dogan Middle School. On it were some 20 etchings carved into her stomach. Prosecutors said Chambers carved those marks in her body, using a scalpel and protractor.

In a brief statement, he expressed love to his family and his friends present. "Mom, I just want y'all to know that I love you," he said. "No matter what in life, I want you to stay strong."

He did not acknowledge the presence of the mother of his victim, who watched through a window a few feet away. As the drugs were to about to be administered, however, he addressed his father. "Dad, I want you to stay strong."

He coughed six times, then sputtered once, the breathed a long sigh. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., six minutes after the drugs began flowing into his arms.

Tonight, Johnny Paul Penry, a mentally retarded inmate, is set to die for the 1979 rape-slaying of Pamela Moseley Carpenter, a Livingston housewife.

After 21 years in prison, two competency trials and two murder trials, Penry, 44, is set to die today for the 1979 rape and murder of Pamela Moseley Carpenter of Livingston.

The Texas board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a plea Tuesday for a reprieve. An appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court was pending.


Texas Execution Information Center

Tony Neyshea Chambers, 32, was executed by lethal injection on 15 November in Huntsville, Texas for the murder an 11-year-old girl.

Chambers was convicted in the November 1990 abduction and murder of 11-year-old Carenthia Marie Bailey in Tyler. Bailey disappeared after attending a middle school basketball game. She was last seen leaving the school with Chambers.

When police found her body two days later, she had been raped and strangled. Her stomach had also been cut or etched more than 20 times with a scalpel and a protractor.

When two people who saw Chambers leave with Bailey confronted him after she failed to return home, Chambers responded with a vulgarity about her and fled.

He then called police to tell him the witnesses, who he said were her cousins, were trying to harm him. Later, he confessed to police, describing how he raped the girl, tied her to a tree with her shoelaces, and choked her for about 3 mintues.

Then he untied her and carved on her stomach. Authorities said his descriptions of the carvings contained details only the killer would know. He also told police, "I didn't mean to hurt her."

Chambers had no prior prison record, but had a history of arrests for public intoxication, burglary, and assault. His former girlfriend testified that after they broke up, he threw rocks at her house, ripped out the phone lines, and tossed a Molotov cocktail through a window.

Chambers later recanted his confessions and tried to blame the slaying on an acquaintance. He declined to be interviewed by reporters on death row.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Chambers' appeal in June. The U.S. Supreme Court and Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied his appeals and requests for clemency in November.

At his execution, Chambers expressed love for his parents. After the lethal dose began, he coughed six times, sputtered once, then breathed a long sigh. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m.


218 F.3d 360

TONY NEYSHEA CHAMBERS, Petitioner-Appellant,

For the Fifth Circuit

June 20, 2000

As Modified on Denial of Rehearing July 24, 2000

Appeal From the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Texas


W. EUGENE DAVIS, Circuit Judge:

Tony Neyshea Chambers ("Chambers") was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death by the State of Texas. In 1995, Chambers filed an application for a federal writ of habeas corpus, but it was dismissed without prejudice for him to exhaust available state remedies. After his state habeas petition was denied in 1998, Chambers again filed a petition for federal habeas relief.

In accordance with a magistrate judge's recommendation, the district court denied Chambers's petition. Thereafter, the district court also denied Chambers's application for a Certificate of Appealability ("COA") to authorize an appeal, and Chambers is now seeking a COA from this Court. For the reasons stated below, we deny this request.

* In 1990, Chambers attended a middle school basketball game, and several witnesses saw him leave with an eleven year old girl, Carenthia Bailey ("Bailey"). When Bailey did not return home that evening, two of these witnesses reported last seeing her with Chambers. Later that evening, these witnesses saw Chambers and inquired about Bailey. Chambers responded that he had "got the little bitch" and then ran away. The witnesses attempted to catch him, but he was able to elude capture. Chambers called the police and told them that unknown persons were trying to harm him. When the police arrived, Chambers denied even knowing Bailey.

After learning that he was wanted for questioning in Bailey's disappearance, Chambers left a telephone message with an officer at the police station, stating that he "did not want to get in trouble if this girl came up hurt." He later told the officer heading the investigation that he had only briefly spoken with Bailey on his way out of the basketball game. Chambers repeated this story in a later telephoneconversation and in an informal meeting with the officer at a restaurant. Shortly after this meeting, Chambers admitted leaving the area of the gym in the same direction as Bailey, but claimed that their paths diverged soon after leaving the game.

The following day, Bailey's body was discovered in a wooded area near the middle school gym. The crime scene showed evidence of a sexual assault, and an autopsy uncovered abdominal wounds and evidence of sexual assault prior to death. The police discovered Bailey's body while Chambers was being voluntarily questioned at the local police station. When confronted with news of the body's discovery, Chambers became emotional and stated his remorse for killing Bailey. Chambers gave an extensive videotaped confession after the police advised him of his Miranda rights.

He also signed a written statement acknowledging that he had been given his Miranda warnings and admitting to leaving the basketball game with Bailey, having sex with her in the woods near the gym, and choking her for about three minutes. He claimed, however, that he left her alive. Later that night, Chambers gave a more complete statement after again acknowledging he had received and understood his Miranda warnings.

In this statement, Chambers admitted to choking Bailey during intercourse, tying her to a tree with her shoe laces, choking her while tied, untying her, and puncturing her stomach with a scalpel and protractor. This confession contained details, such as the cut design left on Bailey's abdomen, that were not publicly known. Thereafter, Chambers told detectives where he had disposed of the scalpel and protractor, and the detectives, with Chambers's help, were able to recover both items. Possibly due to a recent rain, the police found no fingerprints or blood on these weapons.

Chambers soon partially recanted his confession, and stated that it was made while he was frightened and nervous. Chambers asserted that he did not believe he had killed Bailey and claimed for the first time that an acquaintance known as "Duck," later identified as Bryan Brooks ("Brooks"), had been watching Chambers and Bailey have sex.

According to Chambers, Brooks later passed a scalpel to Chambers through an intermediary, William Pannell ("Pannell"), for Chambers to throw away. Chambers then stated that he had choked Bailey, but left her alive in the woods and theorized that Brooks had actually killed her. Following this statement, Brooks was interviewed and gave a written statement claiming that he was not around the middle school on the day of the murder. Soon thereafter, a jailor overheard Chambers tell another inmate that "you know that little girl that was killed; that was me."

At his 1991 trial, Chambers's numerous statements were presented to the jury. In addition, the State's medical examiner and numerous other witnesses gave testimony supporting Chambers's original murder confessions. Moreover, Chambers's friend, Brooks, testified consistent with his statement to the police--that he had been elsewhere during the crime. This testimony was corroborated by other witnesses.


This Court may issue a COA only if Chambers has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. See 28 U.S.C. 2253(c)(2) (2000). Such a showing requires the petitioner to demonstrate that the issues are debatable among jurists of reason, that a court could resolve the issues in a different manner, or that the questions are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further. See Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 893, 103 S. Ct. 3383, 3394 (1983); Tucker v. Johnson, 115 F.3d 276 (5th Cir. 1997), as corrected on reh'g, (July 2, 1997).

The applicable standard for reviewing the merits of Chambers's 2254 claims is set forth in the 1996 Antiterrorismand Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA")1. Chambers argues that because he filed a habeas petition in 1995, which was later dismissed for failure to exhaust state court remedies, we should follow the law as it existed in 1995. We disagree. Chambers's petition is considered under the law that was in effect at the time of his 1998 filing. We do not consider an action that has been dismissed without prejudice as a pending case. See Graham v. Johnson, 168 F.3d 762, 776-780 (5th Cir. 1999).

Chambers's appeal challenges the district court's denial of a single claim that the State of Texas ("State") knowingly used his materially false or involuntary confessions to obtain a conviction in violation of his due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. According to the statutory standard, Chambers must make a substantial showing that the state court's decision to admit his confessions was an "unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States." 28 U.S.C. 2254(d)(1).

The Supreme Court has recently stated that a decision is contrary to clearly established federal law "if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme Court] on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than [the] Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts." Williams v. Taylor, ___ U.S. ___, 120 S. Ct. 1495, 1523, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000).

The Court stated that 2254(d) (1)'s unreasonable application standard, allows a writ to issue "if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the] Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case." Williams, 120 S. Ct at 1523. Moreover, factual findings are presumed to be correct, see 28 U.S.C. 2254(e)(1), and we will give deference to the state court's findings unless they were "based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding." Id. 2254(d)(2); see also, Hill v. Johnson, 210 F.3d 481, 485 (5th Cir. 2000). Because Chambers's claims fail to meet either of these standards, we agree with the district court that Chambers has failed to make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, and, accordingly, we deny issuance of a COA.


Chambers argues that the district court erred in rejecting his claim that the state knowingly introduced false testimony. More particularly, he contends the prosecution should have known his confessions were involuntary and false because they were obtained through the use of coercive tactics. He contends further that the prosecution's knowledge of the falsity of his confession was made even more apparent by the inconsistency between the confession and the physical evidence.

The trial court's review of the record led it to conclude that Chambers had not introduced sufficient evidence to support his claim that the prosecution knowingly introduced false testimony. The district court held that the state trial court's findings were not unreasonable and were fully supported by the record.

To obtain relief on his claim that the state knowingly introduced false testimony, Chambers bears the burden of establishing that the evidence was false, that the false testimony was material, and that the prosecution offered the testimonyknowing it to be false. Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 153-154 (1963); Schlang v. Heard, 691 F.2d 796, 799 (5th Cir. 1982).

Chambers challenged the voluntariness and truthfulness of his confessions in state court at a lengthy pretrial suppression hearing, on direct appeal, and in an application for state habeas relief. After the suppression hearing, the trial court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law that Chambers's confessions were knowingly and voluntarily made.

On direct appeal, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals gave a detailed explanation of the circumstances of Chambers's confession and its basis for rejecting Chambers's arguments that his confessions were involuntary and false. Furthermore, the state habeas trial court entered detailed findings rejecting these same arguments.2

In support of his state habeas petition, Chambers proffered the affidavits of two forensic pathologists critical of Dr. Gonzalez, the State's medical expert who examined Bailey's body and testified at trial. While these affidavits may generally support a conclusion that Gonzalez did not utilize the most advanced techniques for retrieving, documenting, or preserving forensic evidence, the state habeas court was entitled to find that they were insufficient to cast enough doubt on Chambers's confessions to show they were materially untrue.

The federal district court correctly held that the state courts' rejections of Chambers's claims that his confessions were materially false did not involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law or an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence, 28 U.S.C. 2254(d).

Even if Chambers had shown that his confessions were materially false, he must also prove that Texas prosecutors knew or should have known of their falsity in order to obtain habeas relief from this Court. See Blackmon v. Scott, 22 F.3d 560, 565 (5th Cir. 1994).

The facts surrounding Bailey's disappearance -- which are largely undisputed -- belie this claim: (1) Chambers had last been seen with Bailey before her disappearance; (2) Chambers contacted police and stated that if Bailey "came up hurt," he was not involved; (3) when a police investigator informed him that Bailey had been found dead, he blurted out that he did not mean to hurt her; (4) after Chambers gave the second written statement, he took the police officers to the location where he disposed of the scalpel; (5) until that time,the police knew neither what instrument was used in the murder nor where it was located; (6) Chambers never denied going into the woods where Bailey's body was found and having intercourse with her; (7) after Chambers had given at least two statements in which he did not mention that anyone else was in the woods with him and Bailey, he came up with a different version; and (8) this version was contrary to witness accounts concerning the whereabouts of Brooks, Chambers's friend who he attempted to implicate in the crime. Because the prosecutors were aware of these facts, Chambers's claim that they knew or should have known that his confessions were untrue is very dubious.

In support of this claim, Chambers argues that investigators purposefully used an interrogator, Officer Alexander, and interrogation tactics that had recently been shown to elicit a false confession from another suspect. In addition, he argues that another false confession Officer Alexander obtained several years before he questioned Chambers should have put the officers on heightened notice that Chambers's confessions were materially untrue.

However, as previously noted, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that Officer Alexander had minimal involvement in questioning Chambers. Moreover, as stated above, the state courts have found that the officers used no coercive tactics in questioning Chambers. See generally Pemberton v. Collins, 991 F.2d 1218, 1225 (5th Cir.1993). These state court rulings are not unreasonable in light of the evidence.


For the above reasons, we conclude that Chambers has failed to make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. We therefore deny Chambers's motion for a Certificate of Appealability.



The revised section 2254(d) states that writs of habeas corpus should not be granted in these cases unless the adjudication of the claim "(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. 2254(d) (2000).


The state habeas trial court entered the following findings of fact and conclusions of law relevant to these allegations:


3. [Chambers] was not under arrest when he gave his first statement to police.

4. [Chambers's] confessions given after his arrest were freely, intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily given.

5. [Chambers's] confessions after he was given his Miranda and statutory warning were (sic) not tainted by any prior statement and were freely, intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily given.

7. There is no credible evidence that the legally obtained confessions were obtained by a police "penchant" for illegal confessions.

8. There is no credible evidence that the police interrogation induced a false confession.

9. The confessions['] admissibility was considered and found to be voluntarily given on direct appeal.


2. The police interrogation techniques did not render [Chambers's] voluntary statement involuntary.

5. [Chambers]'s confessions were freely, intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily made by [Chambers's] after a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of his rights.

6. [Chambers]'s confessions were legally obtained after a free, knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of [Chambers]'s rights.

7. The police activity in prior cases was not a cause-in-fact of any of [Chambers]'s confessions.



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