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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
'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
By Michael Graczyk -
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
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
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.”
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.