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James Davis RICHARDSON

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 17, 1986
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: September 7, 1967
Victim profile: Gerald Abay, 35 (liquor store clerk)
Method of murder: Shooting (.25 caliber pistol)
Location: Navarro County, Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on May 23, 2000
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Summary:

Accomplice Michael Ellison testified at trial that on December 17, 1986 he asked James McHenry to take him to a liquor store. McHenry agreed and Richardson went with them.

At the liquor store, Ellison and McHenry went inside and Richardson waited in the car. While Ellison was paying for some beer, Richardson entered the store. As McHenry walked out of the store, Richardson suddenly shot the clerk, Gerald Abay, in the neck with a .25 caliber pistol.

Richardson then shot Abay a second time in the chest. Abay pulled out his .38 caliber pistol and shot at Richardson several times. Abay shot Richardson in the thumb and shattered the glass in the front doors of the liquor store. Ellison took money out of the cash register, as well as Abay's .25 caliber pistol, which was kept behind the cash register.

Ellison testified that Richardson drove the car after the robbery and handed his own .25 caliber pistol to McHenry who put it in the glove compartment. Both McHenry and Ellison gave information leading to Richardson, whose blood and fingerprints were found on the abandoned getaway car, where the murder weapon was located. Richardson was treated for a gunshot wound to the hand.

First death sentence was reversed because the court reporter misplaced a portion of the trial transcription. On retrial, Richardson was again convicted and sentenced to death.

Richardson had been paroled three months before the murder after serving 4 months of a 5 year sentence for a burglary conviction. Accomplices Michael James Ellison and James McHenry both received Life Sentences.

 
 

Texas Attorney General

Media Advisory

James Davis Richardson scheduled to be executed

May 22, 2000.

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on James Davis Richardson who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 23rd: On the evening of December 17, 1986, Gerald Abay, was found dead on the floor behind the counter of his liquor store in Corsicana, Texas. Abay had been shot in the neck and chest. Over $100,000 and Abay's .25 caliber pistol, which he kept behind the counter for protection, were taken from the store.

The glass in the front doors of the liquor store was shattered, and there was blood on the floor near the front door. A .38 caliber pistol, that Abay was known to carry, was found near his body.

Michael Ellison, James Davis Richardson's accomplice, testified at trial that on Dec. 17, 1986, he asked James McHenry, another accomplice, if he would take him to a liquor store. McHenry agreed and Richardson went with them.

At the liquor store, Ellison and McHenry went inside and Richardson waited in the car. While Ellison was paying for some beer, Richardson entered the store. As McHenry walked out of the store, Richardson suddenly shot Abay in the neck with a .25 caliber pistol.

Richardson then shot Abay a second time in the chest. Abay pulled out his .38 caliber pistol and shot at Richardson several times. Abay shot Richardson in the thumb and shattered the glass in the front doors of the liquor store.

Ellison took money out of the cash register, as well as Abay's .25 caliber pistol, which was kept behind the cash register. Ellison testified that Richardson drove the car after the robbery and handed his own .25 caliber pistol to McHenry who put it in the glove compartment.

Don Sullivan, a fingerprint examiner, while en route to the crime scene, saw an abandoned car matching the radio broadcast description of the getaway car. Sullivan approached the car and saw blood on the steering wheel, front door handle, door panel and carpet on the driver's side.

A fingerprint on the front door handle matched Richardson's fingerprint. A .25 caliber pistol was found in the glove compartment of the getaway car and a thumbprint matching the thumbprint of James McHenry was taken from the pistol.

Shortly after the murder a Navarro County sheriff's deputy arrested Richardson, whose left hand was wounded and wrapped in a bloody towel. The deputy took Richardson to the hospital for treatment and the towel was bagged and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Both McHenry and Ellison gave information leading to the recovery of Abay's .25 caliber pistol and some money. Dr. Grady Shaw treated Richardson for a gunshot wound to his left hand. Forsenics experts were able to match the blood found on the getaway car to that of Richardson.

Dr. Vincent Matthews, deputy chief medical examiner for Dallas County, determined that Abay's death was caused by gunshot wounds to the neck and chest. Two .25 caliber bullets were recovered from Abay's body and were submitted for ballistics testing.

Larry Fletcher, a firearms examiner, conducted an examination of the .25 caliber pistol found in the glove compartment of the getaway car and the two .25 caliber bullets taken from Abay's body. The test rounds fired from the .25 caliber pistol and the bullets taken from Abay's body were identical and were fired from the same firearm.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Richardson was indicted on Feb.12, 1987, for the capital murder of Gerald Abay, committed during the course of committing and attempting to commit robbery. Richardson was originally tried for this offense, convicted of capital murder, and sentenced to death on April 21, 1987.

However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction and ordered a retrial because the court reporter misplaced a portion of the trial transcription. At the second trial, Richardson pleaded not guilty to the charged offense.

On Nov. 1, 1988, the jury found Richardson guilty as charged in the indictment. After a separate punishment hearing, the jury sentenced Richardson to death.

Richardson's conviction and sentence were automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. On Dec. 1, 1993, the court affirmed Richardson's second conviction and sentence of death.

Thereafter, on Nov. 28, 1994, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari review. Richardson's execution was the set for April 11, 1995.

However, on March 28, 1995, a federal district court stayed Richardson's execution and appointed counsel to represent Richardson in a federal habeas proceeding.

On Oct.r 31, 1995, though, the district court dismissed Richardson's federal habeas corpus proceedings without prejudice so that he could return to state court to exhaust his state remedies.

Through court-appointed counsel, Richardson filed an application for state writ of habeas corpus on March 7, 1997. On Sept. 24, 1997, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Richardson's application for habeas corpus relief.

Richardson's execution was then set for Dec. 10, 1997, but on Nov. 17, 1997, a federal district court again stayed the execution. The court then appointed counsel, and Richardson filed his second petition for writ of habeas corpus on Feb.17, 1998.

On April 14, 1999, the district court denied Richardson's petition. The district court denied permission to appeal on June 9, 1999.

Thereafter, on November 22, 1999, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals also denied Richardson permission to appeal. Subsequently, on Feb. 2, 2000, the trial court set Richardson's execution for May 23, 2000, and Richardson filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on April 24, 2000. That petition is currently pending.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

Richardson was previously convicted of aggravated robbery and burglary of a building. Disciplinary reports admitted at trial, revealed that while Richardson was in prison on the aggravated robbery conviction, he was disciplined for destroying state property, striking an officer by throwing hot water on him, and creating a disturbance.

Richardson's juvenile record also reflects he had 10 prior arrests; which included theft, truancy, and fighting. While awaiting trial for capital murder, Richardson smuggled two hacksaw blades into the Navarro County Jail and attempted to escape.

Richardson also sexually assaulted another inmate in the Navarro County Jail and threatened him with subsequent assaults if he told anyone.

DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL - There was no evidence of drug or alcohol use connected with the instant offense.

 
 

ProDeathPenalty.com

James Richardson was convicted of capital murder for the shooting death of a 35-year-old man during the robbery of the Gusher Liquor Store in Angus, Texas. Richardson served 4 and a half months of a five-year sentence for burglary and was paroled three months before committing capital murder.

On December 17, 1986, Richardson and two other men, pretending to buy beer. They took it to the counter and then Richardson pulled out a pistol and shot Gerald Abay in the throat and chest. Gerald was able to fire at the robbers and hit Richardson in the left hand then died an hour later. The two co-defendants received life sentences.

 
 

Store Owner's Killer Executed in Texas; Murderer Apologizes

APBNews Online

May 24, 2000

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A man was executed by injection Tuesday for gunning down a liquor-store owner during a robbery in 1986. James David Richardson, 32, insisted he was only along for the ride with two companions when Gerald Abay was shot in the neck and chest during the holdup at his store near Corsicana, about 50 miles south of Dallas.

The two accomplices received life prison terms. At the time of his arrest, Richardson was on parole after serving four months of a five-year prison term for burglary and robbery.

'I truly repent, really I do'

He was the 16th Texas inmate to receive lethal injection this year and the first of three scheduled for this week. His final statement was a lengthy prayer in which he expressed love for his family and asked for forgiveness and repentance. "Heavenly father, I truly repent, really I do," he said. "Dear heavenly father, please bring me home."

 
 

Parolee Set to Die for Corsicana Liquor Store Fatal Robbery

By Michael Graczyk - Abilene Reporter-News

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — James David Richardson, on death row for gunning down a liquor store owner during a robbery a week before Christmas in 1986, was executed Tuesday. Richardson, 32, insisted he was only along for the ride with two companions when Gerald Abay was fatally shot in the neck and chest during the holdup at his Gusher Liquor Store near Corsicana, about 50 miles south of Dallas.

His final statement was a lengthy prayer in which he expressed love for his family and asked for forgiveness and repentance. “Heavenly father, I truly repent, really I do,” he said. “I ask you lift me up, you bring me home, and hold my family safe.”

With a sister sobbing and other relatives including his mother also in tears, he made a slight gasp as he continued to pray while the drugs began taking effect. “Dear heavenly father, please bring me home,” he said before becoming unconscious. He was pronounced dead 10 minutes later.

Richardson was the 16th Texas inmate to receive lethal injection this year and the first of three this week. Two more are set for next week and seven are on the execution schedule for June. Richardson was tried twice for capital murder. His first conviction was thrown out by an appeals court because a notepad of pretrial testimony was lost. The two accomplices received life prison terms.

At the time of his arrest for the Dec. 17, 1986 shooting, Richardson had been paroled from prison less than three months after serving four months of a five-year prison term for burglary and robbery. “I was in the car,” Richardson said in a recent interview on death row. “I've never denied being on the property. But I didn't know they were going to rob the place. If I had known, I would have avoided it.”

Testimony from his companions identified Richardson as the gunman, however. According to court records, Michael Ellison and James McHenry entered the store to buy some beer and Richardson walked in during the purchase and shot Abay, 35, twice with a .25-caliber pistol.

The wounded store owner returned fire with his own .38-caliber pistol, wounding Richardson in the hand. Ellison said they all fled with Richardson as the getaway driver. Richardson, who acknowledged being a thrill seeker and “never claimed to be a saint,” said he had no remorse for the slaying. “Remorse for what?” he said. “I'm not the one who done it. Why have remorse for something I haven't done? “I was never a killer,” he said, but added that he wished he could meet up with his two imprisoned former companions. “If I could ever get my hands on them, I'd kill them,” he said. “Because that's what they're doing to me. If I have to die, they should go before me.”

He said, however, the prospect of his execution had left him calmer than he thought he would be. “For some reason, it's almost if I have peace in my heart,” he said. “I've been trying to pray, but I'm not big on praying.”

While in prison on the earlier conviction, Richardson was written up for throwing hot water on an officer and for creating a disturbance. While awaiting trial for Abay's slaying, authorities said he smuggled two hacksaw blades into the Navarro County Jail in an escape attempt and sexually assaulted another inmate. “I'm really not a big death penalty advocate,” said Pat Batchelor, the Navarro County district attorney who won the conviction that sent Richardson to death row. “But I think certain people who commit bad enough crimes give up the right to live.”

 
 

Abolish Archives

May 23, 2000

TEXAS: A man who gunned down a liquor store owner during a 1986 holdup was put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday in the first of three executions scheduled this week in Texas. James Richardson, 32, was the fourth inmate this month and the 16th this year to be executed in Texas, which leads the nation in capital punishment.

Richardson was put to death for murdering Gerald Abay on Dec. 17, 1986, in the northeastern Texas town of Angus. According to two accomplices, he shot Abay in the neck and chest while the three men robbed his liquor store.

Richardson, in a final statement while strapped to a gurney in the Texas death chamber, prayed for forgiveness. ``Heavenly father, I repent my sins, really I do,'' he said. ``I ask God that he take all the hate out of my heart and away from soul.''

Richardson was the 215th person executed in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a national death penalty ban. Virginia is the nation's second most active death penalty state with 76 executions since the ban was lifted.

If all goes as scheduled, Texas will do a total of 7 executions in May and another 7 in June. Richardson becomes the 35th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 633rd overall since America resumed executions on Jan. 17, 1977.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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