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Troy Dale FARRIS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Drugs
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 3, 1983
Date of birth: February 26, 1962
Victim profile: Clark Rosenbalm Jr., 28 (Tarrant County Sheriff's Deputy)
Method of murder: Shooting (Magnum .357)
Location: Tarrant County, Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on January 13, 1999
clemency petition


Date of Execution:
January 13, 1999
Troy Dale Farris #831
Last Statement:

First off, to the Rosenbaum family, to Cindy, to Scott, to everyone, I just want to say I have nothing but love for you. And I mean that from the deepest part.

I can only tell you that Clark did not die in vain. I donít mean to offend you by saying that, but what I mean by that is, through his death, he led this man to God.

I have nothing but love for you.

To my family, my soul beloved, youíre so beautiful, for all your love and support is just miraculous, everything that yaíll have done.

Be sure and tell T.D. heís in my heart. I send my love to Jay, to everyone. To Roger Burdge.

I have nothing but love for all of you. Like they say in the song, I guess, I just want to go out like Elijah, on fire with the spirit of God.

I love you. Iím done.

Troy Dale Farris
was convicted of the December 3, 1983, slaying of Tarrant County Sheriff's Deputy Carl Rosenbalm, who interrupted a roadside drug deal.

Rosenbalm, although wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot and killed.  Two men testified about the slaying, according to court records.  They said they drove from Wichita Falls to meet Farris in Fort Worth "to exchange marijuana for amphetamine." 

After the exchange, Rosenbalm drove up on the scene with the lights on his patrol car flashing. 

As the two men drove away, they saw the deputy lying on the ground.  Although he was wearing a protective vest, one of two shots fired at close range went through Rosenbalm's left arm and into his chest. 

One of the men involved in the drug deal testified that Farris "later admitted to shooting Rosenbalm." 

Farris also confessed to his brother-in-law "that he shot a policeman."


Troy Farris

Executed 1/13/99

The New York Times

May 14, 2000

Three weeks before Christmas, a young deputy sheriff, Clark Rosenbalm Jr., was murdered, shot twice with a Magnum .357, when he chanced upon a drug deal, on an isolated road outside Fort Worth. Troy Dale Farris, who was part of the deal, was convicted of the murder, but the manner in which the investigation and trial were conducted left many uneasy, including a remarkable number of members of the parole board.

The crime scene was badly trampled by investigators and onlookers. Sixty-three photographs of the sheriff's patrol car disappeared. So did the plaster casts taken of tire tracks in the area. Marijuana was found on Sheriff Rosenbalm, but an investigator flushed it down the toilet, or so he first claimed.

The investigator was indicted for perjury and planting evidence. Then, after Mr. Farris's trial was over and he was on death row, the indictment of the investigator was dismissed.

The Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that "the circumstantial and forensic evidence offered at trial not only failed to connect" Mr. Farris with the murder, but it "also failed in nearly all material respects to confirm the testimony" of the two key witnesses against Mr. Farris.

Mr. Farris was convicted largely on the testimony of a brother-in-law, Jimmy Daniels, who claimed that Mr. Farris had confessed to him, albeit not until a year after the crime. Mr. Daniels also led police to an area where he said his brother-in-law had once fired his Magnum .357 into a tree. The police recovered slugs, but the markings did not match those of the bullets that killed the sheriff.

Moreover, Mr. Daniels's "credibility was seriously undermined by the fact that" his testimony before the grand jury had been inconsistent with his trial testimony, "and, therefore, inconsistent with" Mr. Farris's guilt, the Court of Criminal Appeals found.

Nevertheless, the court voted to affirm the jury's finding of guilt. As a guiding principle, unless the court concludes that a "rational trier of fact" could not have found the defendant guilty based on all the evidence before it, the court upholds the jury's decision.

The case bothered members of the parole board more than just about any other that has come before them during Mr. Bush's tenure. Seven members voted for some form of clemency, either commutation or a 30-day reprieve.

"I had some questions on the fairness" of the prosecution, explained Daniel Lang, a Bush appointee to the board, who has a National Rifle Association emblem on his desk and signed photographs of himself with Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George Bush on the walls of his office in Angleton.

Mr. Sutton, the criminal adviser to Governor Bush, said that the governor could have granted a reprieve, but that he had "looked at all the facts of the case and chose not to."


Texas executes condemned cop killer

By Michael Graczyk - Associated Press Writer

January 13, 1999

HUNTSVILLE -- Death row inmate Troy Farris was executed Wednesday night for fatally shooting a Tarrant County sheriff's deputy more than 15 years ago.

Farris, 36, was pronounced dead at 7:16 p.m., six minutes after the lethal drugs were released into his arms.

In a brief final statement, he turned to an adjacent witness room and expressed love to four family members of murder victim Clark Rosenbalm Jr.

''I can only tell you Clark did not die in vain,'' Farris said. ''I don't mean to offend you, but through his death, it led this man to God.''

He also expressed love to his family members, several of whom were execution witnesses, and thanked them for their support.

''Like they say in the song, I guess, I just want to go out like Elijah, on fire with the spirit of God,'' Farris said. ''I'm done. Take me, Jesus. Take me, Jesus. I love you.''

As the drugs took effect, Farris gasped a couple times and stopped moving.

''Justice prevailed,'' Rosenbalm's wife, Cindy, said afterward. ''It was very uneventful. I feel he had lots of practice in his last words.''

Outside the prison, about a dozen Tarrant County officers, including Sheriff David Williams, waited in uniform, their badges shining in the darkness.

''It was important to be here to be part of the closure,'' Williams said. ''We can put this in the file and the file can be closed.''

The execution was delayed by more than 30 minutes while Farris' attorneys sought a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. The application was denied at 6:20 p.m.

''Texas criminal justice is a farce and a political game,'' said Tina McIntire, who described herself as a lifelong friend of the inmate and who watched him die. ''I hope voters are going to wake up.''

Farris was the second condemned inmate executed this year in Texas, where 20 convicted murderers - the most in the nation - were executed in 1998.

Farris had insisted he was innocent of the murder of Rosenbalm, who was gunned down after interrupting a drug deal involving Farris. But the former electrician and truck driver said he was ready to die and viewed his execution with relief.

''I don't have any fear,'' he said in an interview last week. ''I'm just happy.

''I think you have to understand this has been a very, very long journey,'' he continued. ''Fourteen years is a long time, especially when you live under these conditions. I'm tired, I really am. It's not that I'm giving up. That's not it at all. It's just that I'm tired. Anything is better than this.''

Testimony showed while he had no previous criminal record, Farris had a reputation as a violent person. He also acknowledged being a heavy methamphetamine user who made money dealing the illegal drug.

''He was an incredibly violent individual who had told a friend he had been waiting for a chance to kill a cop and did so,'' David Montague, who prosecuted Farris, said. ''He also was a freeway shooter. If you didn't use your signal when you moved in front of him he was likely to pull out a gun and start firing at you.''

Montague said in one incident, Farris tried out a new gun by shooting a buffalo at a nature preserve, then drove away.

''He wanted to see what the gun would do,'' the district atorney said.

Rosenbalm, 27, who had been on the Tarrant County force for about two years, was shot the night of Dec. 4, 1983 when he apparently stumbled on Farris and two men from Wichita Falls conducting an illegal amphetamine buy on a road near Saginaw, northwest of Fort Worth.

Authorities said he was shot when he left his patrol car and approached Farris, who was in a pickup truck. One bullet from a .357-caliber Magnum was stopped by Rosenbalm's protective vest but a second bullet entered under his arm and tore through his lungs and heart.

Passersby found the deputy sprawled on the road near his car. It was the first time in 25 years a Tarrant County deputy was killed in the line of duty.

''I was at the scene,'' Farris said. ''I wasn't there when the crime was committed.''

He said he didn't know about the officer's death until he heard about later on the radio.

About a year later, an informant told police a man at a party told him about the slaying. That led to the arrest of Farris and the two Wichita Falls men, Vance Nation and Charles Lowder.

Lowder was given immunity. Nation, who identified Farris as the gunman, wound up with a marijuana possession conviction and a seven-year probated sentence. Farris' former brother-in-law, Jimmy Daniels, also testified that Farris told of killing the officer.

Unlike Monday's scheduled execution of Gary Graham, another convicted murderer who insisted he is innocent, Farris' execution attracted little attention. Farris disagreed with the combative stance of Graham, whose won a court reprieve earlier this week but not before promising to forcefully resist officers leading him to the death chamber and asking supporters to come armed to Huntsville to protest what he said would be a lynching.

''I hate to hear it, not only for repercussions it might have for the rest of the people here, but I hate it for him as an individual,'' Farris said. ''I'd like to think he could find some peace and go in peace. I think it's very important for everybody.''



Despite court ruling of unfair trial, Texas executes Troy Farris

By Shannon Jones - World Socialist Web Site

January 15, 1999

Troy Farris, a 36-year-old Texas man, was put to death Wednesday after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to grant a stay of execution. The same court had ruled in 1994 that it had "wrongly decided" to reject his appeal of trial irregularities.

As in previous death penalty cases the Texas Board of Pardons acted as a rubber stamp for the prosecution, rejecting Farris's clemency appeal by a vote of 12-5 with 1 abstention. The rejection of his bid was only unusual in that it wasn't unanimous. The pardon board has only reprieved one death row inmate on humanitarian grounds since 1982.

Farris's execution was the second this year and brings the Texas total to 166 since the US Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976. He was charged with the killing of a county sheriff's deputy near Forth Worth in 1984 after the deputy interrupted a drug deal. The condemned man admitted to being on the scene but denied shooting the officer.

Lawyers appealed Farris's conviction on a number of grounds, including the claim that the court unfairly excluded a juror who expressed opposition to the death penalty. The US Supreme Court has held that opposition to the death penalty does not automatically exclude one from participating on the jury of a capital case.

The Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Farris's bid for a new trial in 1990. However, in 1994 it held in a similar case that the unfair exclusion of an anti-death penalty juror constituted grounds for reversal. In its new ruling the court admitted it had erred in throwing out Farris's appeal declaring, "We believe Farris was wrongly decided ... and hereby expressly overrule it."

Through the bizarre logic of the court system the ruling had no effect on Farris's case, because his lawyers were then appealing at the federal, not the state level. In 1995 the Texas legislature enacted legislation placing severe restrictions on the right of those on death row to launch new state level appeals. In refusing to block his execution the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Farris's appeal did not meet the narrow criteria established by the state legislature. The court did not even review the merits of his claim of an unfair trial.

Maurie Levin, one of Farris's attorneys, said she had never heard of a case where the court had admitted error yet refused to grant the appellant a new hearing. "It's terrifying and infuriating," she said.

The prosecution obtained its original conviction of Farris based on the testimony of a friend, Vance Nation, who turned state's evidence in exchange for a plea bargain, and Farris's brother-in-law, Jimmy Daniels, who claimed the defendant confessed the killing privately to him. In 1990 the Court of Criminal Appeals noted that the state "failed in nearly all material respects to confirm the testimony of Nation and Daniels."

The same day Texas executed Farris the state of Arizona put to death Jess Gillies for a 1981 killing. He was the thirteenth to be executed in Arizona since the state reinstituted the death penalty in 1992.



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