January 26, 2017
HUNTSVILLE — Last-minute appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court have stalled the execution of Terry Edwards.
The execution, set to begin after 6 p.m. Thursday, has been delayed for almost three hours while the Texas Department of Criminal Justice awaits final rulings from the high court. The death warrant is only valid until midnight, so if the court remains undecided after around 11:30 p.m., the corrections department will call it off and the execution will be rescheduled, according to TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark.
Edwards was convicted and sentenced to death in 2003 for the July 2002 shooting deaths of Tommy Walker and Mickell Goodwin, two employees at a Subway restaurant in Balch Springs where Edwards’ used to work. He was fired for allegedly stealing money from the register a few months earlier, according to court records. Edwards has maintained that he was in the bathroom when the murders happened, that his cousin, Kirk, had killed the man and woman.
Dallas County pinned the murders on Terry; he was found almost immediately after the crime with the gun and the money, court filings show. Kirk turned himself the next day and pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and is currently eligible for parole.
“The man responsible for the murders was sentenced to a term of years and is eligible for parole. This is not justice,” said Edwards’ lawyer, Jennifer Merrigan, in a news release last week.
Merrigan and the rest of Edwards’ legal team filed a flurry of appeals in local, state and federal courts this month. As of Thursday morning, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had both denied the last round of petitions to stop the execution, but as 6 p.m. came and went, the U.S. Supreme Court had yet to announce a decision.
The appeals focused on multiple issues ranging from prosecutorial misconduct at Edwards’ trial to newly released evidence from the state that could place more weight in the theory that Kirk, not Terry, committed the murders, according to court briefs.
Dallas County and Texas claimed the filings were ineligible for review because there has already been several appeals in the past where these issues could have been raised.
As the hours ticked by, Edwards remained in his holding cell with a prison chaplain, and the family members of the murder victims waited nearby. At 8:45 p.m., there was no word on a decision.
If it moves forward, Edwards execution will be Texas’ second of the year. The next is set for next week, and six more are scheduled through July. Last year, Texas executed seven people, the fewest in 20 years.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01/26/execution-delayed-man-convicted-double-murder/.