Execution Watch: John David Battaglia — Texas

By Mark R.  Execution Watch Editor

faith-liberty-battagliaFaith: a noun meaning (among others, the most common involving a belief in a deity or a religious teaching) “confidence or trust in a person or thing”.

Liberty: a noun meaning (among others, the most common involving a government) “freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint”.

(The definitions below are taken from dictionary.reference.com)

Faith and Liberty are also the names of two young girls (ages 9 and 6, respectively), taken from this world much too soon, no thanks to Huntsville’s Pearl Harbor Day guest of (dis)honor, John David Battaglia.

Family members have killed other family members since Cain murdered Abel. And children have been the center of parental disputes since parents have had disputes. Sometimes, tragically, the two meet. But you will be hard-pressed to find a more cold-hearted family murder than that of the Battaglia children.

Battaglia had Faith and Liberty for a scheduled custody visit. But on May 2, 2001, Battaglia would place a call to his ex-wife (the girls’ mother). Battaglia would then proceed to destroy Faith’s faith and restrain Liberty’s liberty by murdering the girls while their mother overheard the murders on the phone. In Texas, killing children (especially your own) will usually get you a death sentence, and less than one year later (April 2002) that would be the punishment handed down by the jury.

All of Battaglia’s appeals have been DENIED. However, he has persistently claimed that he was suffering from bipolar disorder, and shouldn’t be executed for what he did.  He also claims that he can’t remember a thing about what happened. I have a close friend with bipolar who had issues with her ex-spouse over their daughter—but she NEVER considered killing her in revenge.

In addition to the tragic story, the bipolar angle, and that it was one of the more notorious murders to come out of Dallas, I’ve followed this case for another reason: while prisons tend to be overpopulated with school dropouts and menial laborers, Battaglia had enough education to obtain a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. As a Texas CPA licensee myself, Battaglia is a stain on our honorable profession. The wheels of justice may move slowly but the TSBPA doesn’t—roughly one year after his conviction his CPA license was REVOKED.

https://www.tsbpa.state.tx.us/php/fpl/indlookup.php?x=5Rp8bo1dZ%2BE%3D

Sometime after 6PM Huntsville time Battaglia will pay for his crimes. AND—he won’t be able to have his CPA license reinstated.

Scheduled Execution:  December 7, 2016.

Execution Watch: Pablo Lucio Vasquez, Texas

submitted by Mark R. Execution Watch Editor

On April 6 we will have our second execution in a little over two weeks, and our fourth of the year, that of Pablo Vasquez.

In the Rio Grande Valley town of Donna, Texas (home of the Donna Redskins, the only Valley high school ever to win a state football championship, Class 2A in 1961) Vasquez and his then 15-year-old cousin, Andy Chapa, met 12-year-old Daniel Cardenas at a party.  They invited Cardenas to join them afterwards, then
killed him by blunt force trauma to the head (pipe and shovel) and buried his body.  Vasquez took a ring and necklace from Cardenas’ body.

From the above information (taken mostly from TDCJ’s website) this would appear to be little more a nondescript robbery-murder.  But as Paul Harvey would say, there is “the rest of the story.”  For Vasquez’ motive in killing Cardenas wasn’t robbery—it was his desire to drink Cardenas’ blood as part of an occult ritual ceremony.  (In addition to the blood, Cardenas’ body was found missing one arm and part of the other, as well as no skin on his back.)

Vasquez was found guilty and given the death penalty.  (Chapa, being under 18, was too young to be given the death penalty for his part in Cardenas’ murder.)  Along the way, a few minor issues were remanded to lower courts, but ultimately all appeals were DENIED and there do not appear to be any further appeals pending in this case.

Pablo Vasquez wanted to engage in occult practices.  Sometime after 6PM Huntsville time he may very well meet the Devil—and then it will be too late to engage in anything else.

Vietnam Reflections: Patrick Lynn Blair

 

The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.
Calvin Coolidge

Patrick Lynn Blair: Not Just A Name On The Wall (originally published 5/28/2007)

I just re-read N2L’s tribute to his old friend Pat Blair, and I invite you to do the same.  I remember N2L telling me that his tribute was read aloud at his 45th high school reunion.  It was a touching, poignant moment.  Not a dry eye in the house.

Yesterday, I received a note from one of the administrators of the Facebook site “Vietnam Reflections – Fallen Heroes.”  He told me that they had recently published a tribute to Pat, and he invited our readers to visit.  Here is the link, and an excerpt:

SERGEANT PATRICK LYNN BLAIR WAS BORN ON 26 MAY 1949. HE GREW UP IN THE SMALL TOWN OF MARSHALL, TEXAS. HE WORKED IN HIS SPARE TIME AND HE LOVED BASEBALL AND WAS VERY COMPETITIVE IN LITTLE LEAGUE AND THEN THE BABE RUTH LEAGUE..HE GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL A SEMESTER EARLY AND ENLISTED IN THE ARMY IN EARLY 1968.HE CAME BACK FOR HIS GRADUATION 1 JUNE 1968. HE HAD MISSED THE SIMPLE LIFE OF A SMALL TOWN AND HIS MOTHER’S HOME COOKING.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the fine folks at Vietnam Reflections for remembering our fallen heroes in such a noble fashion.  I invite all of our readers to drop by and show your support of their efforts by joining this group.

Execution Watch: Adam Kelly Ward, Texas

by Mark R. Execution Watch Editor

March 22 brings us our second execution of the month, this time that of Adam Ward (no, not either of the actors in the old Batman series; that was Adam West and Burt Ward).  Commerce isn’t the place you would expect a capital murder to occur; usually the police only have to deal with out of control frat parties at Texas A&M—Commerce. Unfortunately, underneath the general calmness of daily life in a college town, the simmering of a pot about to blow was taking place.

The City of Commerce and the Ward family (Adam and his father Ralph) had been in a long-standing dispute over numerous code violations on the Ward property. The Wards claimed that the City was engaged in a conspiracy against them; the City countered that the property resembled something you would see on the TV series Hoarders.

pee wee walkerBut the feud between the parties would turn tragic shortly after 10 AM local time on June 13, 2005, when Code Enforcement Officer Michael “Pee Wee” Walker would go to the Ward property to take pictures of still more code violations. Walker would be met with multiple rounds of gunfire from Adam (before Ralph managed to get the gun away from Adam). In another tragic twist, the first responder at the scene was none other than Walker’s father Dick, who would watch his son die in his arms.

As Walker was a member of the Commerce Police Department, Ward would be charged with capital murder (murder of a peace officer and known to be such by the defendant). In Texas, that’s usually the fastest way to get a death sentence, and in June 2007 that would be the punishment handed down by the jury.

Ralph Ward would later enter into a settlement with Walker’s family, agreeing (without admitting fault) to pay the children $26,000 each plus the costs of Walker’s funeral and attorney’s fees. The City would later provide police protection to any city employee (even meter readers) going to the Ward property. (Walker’s father would later sue the City, on behalf of himself and the children, claiming that the City knew of the dangers but did nothing to protect Walker; I have no information on the outcome of that suit.)

All of Ward’s appeals have been DENIED; however, numerous appeals have been filed claiming he is mentally ill (bi-polar disorder) and therefore should not be executed. I know someone with bi-polar and she absolutely rejects any and all conspiracy theories. There are many sad stories in this case. Ralph Ward’s conspiracy-fueled rants led to him having to pay thousands of dollars to Officer Walker’s family—and he will have to see his son die before him. Dick Walker (who has managed to forgive Adam) had to see his own son die in his arms. Officer Walker’s children have grown up without their father. The City had to spend more taxpayer money to provide police protection for city employees who had to visit the Ward property—police who could have been working to prevent or solve other crimes.

And Adam Ward—only 22 when he fired the fatal shots—will die at 33, way before his time. But he could have chosen to reject the rantings of an unstable parent—he didn’t, though, and sometime after 6PM Huntsville time he will have to pay for his failure to choose wisely.

I hung my head

Early one morning /With time to kill /I borrowed Jebb’s rifle /And sat on the hill
I saw a lone rider /Crossing the plain /I drew a bead on him /To practise my aim
My brother’s rifle /Went off in my hand /A shot rang out /Across the land
The horse, he kept running /The rider was dead /I hung my head /I hung my head

Just sitting here on a Friday night, missing my bud N2L.

Execution Watch: Coy Wayne Wesbrook, Texas

by Mark R. Execution Watch Editor

It is said that March comes in like a lion.  This Wednesday it may be roaring in Huntsville with the execution of Coy Wesbrook (subject to a stay which may come, as explained below).

From Channelview (the place that gave us the sordid tale of the Pom Pom Mom) comes another tale right out of a novel from a sleazy bookstore.  The anti’s are arguing that Wesbrook isn’t all right in the head, and after reading this story it’s clear his elevator shaft may not have made it to the top floor, but there are other things to consider.

On November 13, 1997, Wesbrook goes over to the residence of Gloria Jean coons, his (second, as further discussed below) ex-wife, after she contacts him for an attempt at “marital reconciliation”.  When he gets over there, he finds three other men (Antonio Cruz, Anthony Ray Rogers, and Kelly Halzip) and either one (Diana Ruth Money) or two other females (depending on the source) at the house.  As none of the other parties identified themselves as clergy or otherwise there to assist in the
reconciliation, instead of figuring out that something is amiss and quickly departing, he hangs around and begins drinking with them.

Sometime during his visit Wesbrook discovers that his wife and two of the men weren’t around; he goes into a bedroom and finds them engaged in a threesome.  Wesbrook proceeds to do what any heartbroken man would do—he goes out to his truck, gets his hunting rifle, and kills her and the three other men (again, depending on the source, either Money was killed and the other not present when Wesbrook killed the others, Money was killed and the other survived, or the only woman present was Money).

There was plenty of evidence of future dangerousness:  in addition to the multiple murders Wesbrook 1) cut the phone lines of Coons, 2) attempted to burn down his residence after being evicted by his landlord (I own rental properties but never had any tenant this bad), 3) sought to have his FIRST ex-wife and her husband killed, and 4) sought to have three other people killed (which was brought out at trial by a jailhouse snitch).  The jury sentenced Wesbrook to death, and his initial round of appeals was  DENIED.

But during the punishment phase the State called Dr. George Denkowski as an expert witness on Wesbrook’s future dangerousness.  However, in April 2011 Denkowski entered into a settlement agreement with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, whereby he agreed to a reprimand AND further “agreed to not accept any engagement to perform forensic psychological services in the evaluation of subjects for mental retardation or intellectual disability in criminal proceedings”.

Wesbrook requested that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, on its own motion, reopen the case.  TCCA did in April 2012 by remanding the case to the trial court “to allow it the opportunity to re-evaluate its initial findings, conclusions, and recommendation in light of the Denkowski Settlement Agreement”.  The trial court, in September 2014, recommended that relief be DENIED, and TCCA so agreed in January 2015.  (At this point there is nothing further in terms of appellate decisions; the Denkowski issue could end up putting this whole thing on hold.)

Wesbrook’s ex was clearly no saint.  And if he had only killed her and the other two men in the threesome you could have argued a crime of passion and probably shown mercy.  But there were two others there that weren’t doing it yet they died too.  And his other actions show criminal intent.

So this is another thug who is due his.

 

 wesbrook.jpgCoy  Wayne Wesbrook
Born: February 1, 1958 (age 58), Houston, TX

Leap Day: Super Tuesday Eve

Have you had a boss like Donald Trump before?

All they care about is the bottom line, and looking good in the process.  That’s not a necessarily a bad thing in the private sector.  It can be taken to extremes like anything.  The bottom line becoming so important that fraud ensues:  Enron and Worldcom come to mind.  But, a results-oriented boss is generally a successful boss, because they are driven to succeed.  And, they drive their employees to succeed.

The boss I had was also like Trump in the way of being, well, thin-skinned.  You had to walk on egg shells around him.  He didn’t take criticism very well, and was not open to suggestions on anything that was counter to his pre-determined path.  His way or the highway.  You know the type.

trump5Bu what bothers me about Trump as a Presidential candidate is the Constitution.  Trump’s style doesn’t lend itself to be willing to have his Executive power limited by the Constitution.  Case in point:  Two days ago, Trump said that he would “open up the libel laws” to allow an easier path to gain monetary awards.  The fact that the President doesn’t make the law aside, rewriting the interpretation of the First Amendment by the Court is not within the the power of the presidency.  Making a statement like this makes Trump look like a tinhorn, petty bully.

A boss in the private sector can do most anything he wants, as long as he meets his goals, keeps his superiors happy, and operates within the law.  This is the realm that Trump excels.  He has never had to deal with an entrenched bureacracy,  not to mention a possibly intransigent Congress, and a possibly hostile Court.  The expectations of a Trump Presidency will be unnaturally high, setting up a YUGE disappointment.

Super Tuesday is tomorrow.  I’m hopeful for a Cruz victory in Texas, a good showing across the South, and a further winnowing of the field.  Losing the Sessions endorsement yesterday had a real sting.  Maybe Jeff was telling Ted that he doesn’t think Ted’s quite ready yet.  I don’t know.  But it hurt nonetheless.  Head to head, I think Cruz has a chance to beat Trump.  A small chance granted, but a chance.

Cruz 2016. Because Conservatism Matters.  Because the Constitution Matters!

 

 

 

 

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