Execution Watch: James Garrett Freeman, Texas

A guest post by Mark R.

Tonight James Garrett Freeman is scheduled to be executed.
On March 17, 2007, Freeman was spotted by Justin Hurst, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Warden, illegally hunting from his truck. Instead of complying with Warden Hurst’s instructions, he led Hurst on a 90 minute car chase, reaching speeds of 130 mph at one point, before getting into a shootout with officers. Warden Hurst was fatally wounded in the shootout; he died on what would have been his 34th birthday.
In Texas, Game Wardens are fully-commissioned peace officers who can arrest for any violation of the law. As such, Freeman was charged with capital murder for knowingly killing a peace officer. He was convicted and sentenced to death; all the standard rounds of appeals (direct and habeas) were in all cases DENIED.
This case is somewhat unusual in that Freeman had no substantial prior criminal record (he was on probation for DUI at the time). As such, in addition to the usual “ineffective assistance of counsel” argument, the antis are arguing that his lack of a prior criminal record should have spared him from the chamber, and that suffered from “heavy alcohol use and severe depression” and wanted to die via “suicide by cop” (he almost did get his wish in the shootout). However, the prosecution argued that Freeman had an “uncontrollable and unpredictable temper” and was about to have his probation revoked for failure to comply (both could explain a high-speed chase and shootout). It should be noted that John Battaglia (the sorry CPA who killed his kids while on the phone with their mother) also had no prior criminal record; his is coming March 30.
It will be interesting to see what Freeman’s last words are once they are posted.
NBC DFW story on Freeman’s execution:
Texas Attorney General’s Press Release:

5 Responses

  1. The SCOTUS denied his habeas cert on January 11 of this year. As the NBC 5 article mentions, it is unlikely that any late appeals will be filed.

    Therefore, barring something completely out of the blue, this execution should take place as scheduled.

  2. There is an actual YouTube video of the chase and shootout:

    With no appeals in the works it is now 6:03 HTT (Huntsville termination time).

  3. Justice Served

Comments are closed.


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