New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 27, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
Death Row inmates cheer execution stay
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Henry Porter is pleased a Supreme Court move probably will delay executions — including his scheduled for Feb. IO — but he’s not convinced the action will save his life.
“I’m not exactly hopeful because I know I’m going to be executed sooner or later,” said Porter, who was convicted of murdering a Fort Worth police officer in 1975.
Porter said he believes his execution will be put off for three or four months as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision Monday to stay the execution of Thomas Andy Barefoot. The court will use the case to determine how to handle emergency appeals in death penalty cases.
Death Row inmates broke into applause and cheering in one area when the stay was announced on radio and television Monday, while in other sections inmates were reported to have spread the word quickly but quietly.
“It was like a giant sigh down there, and people were yelling and they were happy. It
was like cheering — they were clapping,” said Billy Hughes of Fairhope, Ala.
Hughes, who was convicted of shooting a Texas Department of Public Safety officer who stopped him along the highway near Sealy, said he was so moved he had to sit down.
“Everything seemed to drain out of me,” he said. “I got weak in the knees because it was just such a relief to know that the man was not going to be murdered.”
The Supreme Court action probably also will keep other inmates from being executed for a while. Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox said he expects no executions in the country until the court announces a ruling, and that is not expected until July.
Assistant Attorney General Doug Becker has said that until that announcement, the state will not oppose requests for stays of execution for Porter and the other two Texas inmates with execution dates.
James David Autry’s execution was set for
Feb. 21 and Leon R. King’s for March 13.
Barefoot's stay Monday came less than 12 hours before the time of his scheduled execution.
Barefoot, who was convicted of killing a Harker Heights police officer, refused to talk to reporters Wednesday, but Hughes said Barefoot told him after returning to Death Row that he had thought he would die.
“He said he thought he was dead,” Hughes said. “He thought he definitely was going to die... He knew they meant business.”
Inmate Jimmy Vanderbilt said that while Barefoot waited for word on his appeals in a cell a few feet from the death chamber, inmates on Death Row in the Ellis Unit 13 miles away were agreeing they should turn their TV sets off for four hours before the execution.
They had done that in honor of Charlie Brooks Jr. on Dec. 6, just before his execution.
Hughes said inmates were a little more relaxed about their fate after the Barefoot stay, but added they would never return to the
attitudes they held before the Brooks execution.
“It was like they expected the cavalry of the Marines or somebody to land at the last minute with a stay and the person would be saved. Since Brooks was murdered, everyone has come from that half-asleep state ... to a full alert,” Hughes said.
Inmate Clarence Brandley, 31, convicted of a rape and strangulation in Conroe, said he believes most Death Row inmates are adopting a wait-and-see position.
“I feel like they are encouraged, but we don’t know how the Supreme Court is going to rule and what kind of guidelines and what effect it will have on your case,” Brandley said.
The court is using the Barefoot case to decide whether federal appeals courts should rule on an inmate’s formal appeal before allowing the execution to take place.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had decided it should issue stays only if it found the
federal appeal had a good chance to succeed. That’s the position it took in the Barefoot and Brooks cases, deciding each time against a stay.
The result was that Brooks died without the appeals court ever ruling on the formal appeal.
Vanderbilt, 30, convicted of killing a state legislator’s daughter, predicted the Supreme Court will back the appeals court’s position.
“If they say it is improper, they kind of catch the 5th Circuit with its pants down. I don’t look for them to do that to the 5th Circuit,” Vanderbilt said.
“The ruling’s going to be detrimental from the point of view of the Death Row inmate, or I expect it to be,” he said.
“If you tell me I can appeal my case after you kill me, it don’t do me much good to appeal it, does it? Which is what they did with Charlie Brdbks, and I anticipate the Supreme Court will say that’s permissible.”Mubarak visitEgyptian president wants increased pressure on Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Reagan will assure Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that the United States is doing all it can — short of cutting off aid — to press Israel to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, U.S. officials say.
Mubarak, who arrived in Washington for a three-day visit late Wednesday, planned to confer today with Reagan and with Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
Egyptian officials said Mubarak would express his unhappiness over the slow pace of negotiations to obtain a withdrawal of the 25,000 Israeli troops in lebanon. Egypt is the only Arab nation with a peace treaty with Israel and the continuing Israeli presence in lebanon, following the June 6 invasion, is an embarrassment to Cairo.
Mubarak not only wants an Israeli troop withdrawal from lebanon, but also a halt to Israeli construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank. He is also seeking better terms on U.S. aid to his own country.
A well-placed State Department official said Wednesday that Mubarak probably would press the administration for “concrete” measures, such as curtailing the nearly $2.5 billion in annual U.S. military and economic aid to Israel, if Israel doesn’t get moving soon on a troop withdrawal. Egypt receives about $2.2 billion in U.S. aid.
While an aid cutback was among options before Reagan, Hie official said Reagan was prepared to tell
Mubarak it would be a mistake now. “We are going to try to keep him (Mubarak) persuaded that we are making a full effort,” said the official, who like another State Department official spoke on the condition that he not be identified.
The official thought it was unlikely that Reagan would opt for an aid cutback, partly for political reasons and partly because it could backfire and worsen U.S.-Israeli relations.
Congress might veto such a move, the official said. But if there is a cutback, he said it probably would be in the form of a suspension of military aid while Israeli forces are in Lebanon.
In an action designed to show U.S. disapproval over what the administration now regards as Israeli foot-dragging in the troop withdrawal talks, the State Department made clear Wednesday it doesn’t want Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to visit Washington until significant progress is made toward a troop withdrawal.
Mubarak’s visit to Washington is his second to Washington since assuming his country’s leadership after the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981.
Mubarak will attend a dinner in his honor given by Vice President George Bush tonight. While in Washington, he also will meet with congressional leaders, labor leaders and representatives of the Jewish community.
He will go to New York on Friday to meet with U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar.
C hr is lid ti Science Monitor Photo
...meeting with Reagan
Winter storm causes slides, snow, deaths
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A bruising Pacific storm slammed inland today after destroying seaside buildings with barn-sized waves, forcing dozens of coastal residents to evacuate, darkening 100,000 California homes and closing two highways with heavy rain that sent rivers overflowing.
The string of coastal storms which began Sunday is already blamed for seven deaths. Wednesday’s violent weather was only the vanguard of a still worse storm expected to hit today.
In unusually forceful language, the Weather Service warned people who lived near creeks and rivers in Northern California that they might have to “act quickly to save yourself and those who depend on you. You may only have seconds."
The storm whipped down the Pacific Coast and was expected to cross the Rockies today, reaching western Wyoming and Montana. In the Midwest, meanwhile, heavy snow made driving hazardous and two traffic fatalities were reported in Missouri.
Near Redding, Calif., a mudslide Wednesday shoved two pickups, a bulldozer and a bus carrying Shasta County prisoners down a 60-yard ravine and into a creek, killing a county employee, public works crewman David Waterman.
The prisoners had been trying to clear a flooded road choked with mud.
In southern Oregon. 80-100 mph wind gusts interrupted a search for a hiker lost near Mount Ashland, and waves pulled one man and four trucks into the surf of Coos Bay; all were safely retrieved.
At least 100,000 homes, most in the San Francisco Bay area, lost power, said Dennis Pooler, spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Pacific Telephone reported 3,000 phone circuits out.
The storm sweeping over the Santa Cruz Mountains was expected to bring a foot of rain to the area 90 miles south of San Francisco, where 18 people died when mudslides crushed several homes last January.
To the east, up to half a foot of snow fell in Kansas, causing scores of rush-hour accidents in Kansas City and St. Joseph, Mo. Schools closed in much of northwest Missouri. An 18-year-old woman was killed when a car driven by her twin sister slid into the path of another car near Sedalia, Mo., and a truck driver died near Boonville, Mo., when his truck slid down an embankment.
By early today, the snow had spread eastward from northern Mississippi to western Pennsylvania and New York, with travelers advisories issued for North Carolina.
Mondale blasts Reagan in Texas campaign visit
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — President Reagan’s State of the Union address should trigger a “great debate” on whether mid-course corrections should be made to his “disastrous” economic policy, former Vice President Walter Mondale says.
Mondale, who is expected to seek the 1984 Democratic nomination for president, criticized the program outlined Tuesday night by Reagan during a nationally televised address.
Reagan’s proposals create no new jobs and threaten deficits of up to $300 billion, Mondale said at a news conference in San Antonio, where he met with Democrats who have pledged to support his run for the presidency.
Mondale likened the U.S. economy and high unemployment to the Great Depression tunes described in John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.”
Americans voted for a change in the 1982 elections, and now Congress may have to force Reagan to make changes halfway through his administration, Mondale added.
“I hope this State of the Union message will
Christian Science Monitor Photo
WALTER MONDALE 'Mid-course correction'needed
begin the great debate that will change policy tins year," Mondale said.
“We cannot wait until 1985 and a new president. People need jobs now. They need opportunity now and I’m hopeful that the Congress, on a bipartisan basis, will in fact change the course, which is exactly what the people voted for here in Texas and around the country in 1982.”
He said Congress should repeal income tax cuts scheduled to go into effect next July I, defer or repeal indexation of taxes, impose hospital cost controls to hold down prices of medical care and “reach an accord” with the Federal Reserve Board to permit long-term economic growth.
The Democrat said if unemployment can be cut by 3 percent, which he said should be “no big deal,” the result would be a $100 billion reduction of the federal deficit.
Mondale, after meeting with supporters, told reporters that Reagan has cut social services unfairly, but has steadfastly refused to do away with the tax cuts which Mondale said benefit the wealthy at the expense of average Ame» leans.
“There’s more suffering going on in this country than I’ve seen since a child in the Great Depression. The unemployed, the underemployed, the discouraged workers number perhaps more than 20 million in our country. For the first time since John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ we have thousands of Americans roaming this country homeless and aimlessly, desperately trying to find work and unable to do so.
Mondale also said that Reagan’s program could drive deficits as high as $300 billion.
“Secondly, the president looked at deficits, the largest in the history of mankind, a radical situation that is crying out for reform, and did not take any meaningful steps to reduce that deficit at all,” he said.
“After the president’s message last night, it’s clear that we’re looking at $200 billion or $250 billion or maybe $300 billion deficits and I know of no economist, business person or entrepreneur or financier who believes there’s any hope for sustainable economic growth working against enormous deficits of that quantity.”
Mattox casts doubt on Gramm special election
AUSTIN (AP) — A special election called after former U.S. Rep. Phil Gramm resigned his seat and switched parties to run as a Republican may not be legal. Attorney General Jim Mattox says.
Mattox, a Democrat, said Wednesday his office is evaluating contentions that former Secretary of State David Dean, a Republican, invalidated the election by not notifying the U.S. Justice Department of it in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.
Mattox also said the Feb. 12 election date might not be legal because it is not one of four dates specified in the election code.
Representatives of Texas Rural l^egal Aid filed a challenge Wednesday, contending the February date discriminates against minorities and violates the Voting Rights Act. The challenge was filed in Tyler as part of a lawsuit over the state’s reapportionment plan.
U.S. District Judge William Wayne
Justice said he would hear arguments on the issue Saturday morning in federal court in Beaumont, where he was scheduled to hear cases all next week Justice also said he was uncertain whether he actually had jurisdiction over the special election issue.
Gramm resigned his seat in Congress on Jan. 5. after Democrats moved to relieve him of his seat on the House Budget Committee. Gramm, who was elected in 1978 as a Democrat, had actively supported President Reagan’s budget package.
Although he could have simply announced he was changing parties, Gramm said he opted to run as a Republican to give his constituents an opportunity to voice their feelings about hun.
When Republican former Gov. Bill Clements set the Feb. 12 election date, state Democratic party leaders said the election w as not legal because Gramm had
voted in last May’s Democrat primary.
Dean, who had authority to issue election law opinions, said the election date was legal.
Gov. Mark White, a Democrat who defeated Clements Nov. 2, told reporters at his Wednesday news conference that he had problems with the date set by Clements.
"I was concerned that it didn't permit adequate time for voter registration. It didn’t permit adequate time for discussion of the issues and deliberation among the candidates,” he said.
“All those pieces fell together rather fast, didn’t they?" said White. “It looked like it was a very' well planned call of the election, and I thought they had done that too many times before.
“It seems that we had a lot of little special elections here recently that were seemingly designed to help one person or another,” White said.
Nursing home plea bargain dead
GALVESTON (AP) - A district attorney says he will seek new indictments against a nursing home firm that had been accused of killing patients through neglect.
Officials of Autumn Hills Convalescent Centers Inc. said they withdrew their approval of a plea bargain agreement Wednesday because Galveston County District Attorney Mike Guarino asked a judge to find the company guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Autumn Hills pleaded no contest Dec. 27 to a single involuntary manslaughter count and agreed to pay $100,000.
Visiting State District Judge I^arry Gist of Beaumont had promised to find the firm innocent if it kept state law for the next IO years, but Guarino argued successfully that Texas bars corporations from benefiting from such deferred judgments.
Gist then ordered Galveston County to
return the nursing home’s $100,000 payment.
We have done nothing wrong, we’ve never harmed any of our patients and we’ve never been able to tell our side of the story,” said Autumn Hills’ President Robert Gay.
The Houston-based corporation and eight present and former employees of its Texas City nursing home had been indicted on murder charges in the deaths of eight patients between Sept. I, 1977, and Aug. 31,1979.
“I think ifs the kind of case that should be aired before a grand jury,” said Guarino, who succeeded James Hury at the first of the year. But he said he did not know what charges he would seek.
Guarino asked Gist for an immediate finding of guilt, but the company objected.
The firm pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in the Oct. 16,
1978, death of Edna Mae Witt, ending a three-year investigation of patients’ deaths at the Texas City facility.
After Wednesday’s hearing, Guarino said he planned to study the case and that it could be two months before it is presented to a grand jury.
“I’m not on any time schedule,” he said.
Autumn Hills’ attorney Roy Minton of Austin denounced as "foolish” Guarino’s attempt to take the case back to the grand jury.
Former Assistant District Attorney David Marks, whom Hury fired for insubordination Dec. 16 for seeking to block the plea bargain, said he was surprised and happy with Wednesday’s developments.
He said he was "confident if someone works on this case it can be successfully prosecuted.”