31-year-old gives his apologies to family of man slain in robbery spree
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
HUNTSVILLE - An apologetic San Antonio gang member was executed Wednesday for the shooting death of a man during a robbery attempt in the driveway of the victim's home.
With two brothers of his victim watching nearby through a window, Mauriceo Brown told them he was "sorry you lost a brother, a loved one and friend."
Brown looked toward another window where his mother and two siblings were among the witnesses. He told them he loved them. "Keep your heads up and know that I will be in a better place," he said.
He then looked again toward his victim's relatives and friends and apologized a second time that you "lost a loved one this way. God bless you all."
As the drugs took effect, Brown's mother wailed and collapsed to the floor of the death house. She was escorted from the witness area a few minutes later.
Brown was pronounced dead at 6:47 p.m., eight minutes after the lethal flow of drugs began. The execution was delayed briefly while the U.S. Supreme Court considered appeals.
Brown, 31, confessed to the 1996 slaying of Michael LaHood Jr., 25, when he and three companions, high on marijuana and alcohol, were arrested about an hour after the shooting. One companion, Kenneth Foster, also received a death sentence but doesn't have an execution date. The two others, including one who testified against Brown, received long prison terms.
The early morning attack capped a spree by the street gang members who called themselves the Hoover 94 Crips. At least four other people were robbed that night.
"They were out pretty much on a rampage, stoned to the bone, victimizing people," said Jack McGinnis, one of the prosecutors in the cases against Brown and Foster. The two were tried together.
Brown was the 15th Texas prisoner executed this year in the nation's busiest capital punishment state.
His execution was the first of two scheduled for consecutive evenings this week in Huntsville.
Today, Robert Anderson, 40, faces execution for the 1993 slaying of a 5-year-old Amarillo girl who was abducted, sexually assaulted, beaten, choked and strangled.
July 20, 2006, 6:12AM
5-year-old's killer looking forward to execution
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
HUNTSVILLE -- Condemned inmate Robert Anderson freely acknowledges a horrific crime in Amarillo that left a 5-year-old girl dead and earned him a trip tonight to the Texas death chamber.
"There was nobody else, just me," Anderson says of the abduction and slaying of Audra Reeves nearly 14 years ago. "She was totally an innocent victim."
Anderson, 40, whose history of sexual offenses involving children began as a teenager, asked that no additional appeals be filed on his behalf to try to halt the 16th execution this year in Texas and the second in as many days in the nation's busiest capital punishment state.
On Wednesday, a San Antonio man, Mauriceo Brown, 31, was executed for the 1996 shooting death of a 25-year-old man, Michael LaHood Jr., during a botched robbery on the driveway of Lahood's San Antonio home.
"The only way I want this stopped is if they give a moratorium to the death penalty," Anderson said earlier this month in an interview outside death row at the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice near Livingston.
"I'm actually looking forward to dying. I've made peace with the Lord and I'm trying to make peace with my family. And I have tried to make apologies with the victim's family over the years with no responses. I didn't expect them to respond."
The girl, who lived with her mother in Florida and had just arrived in Amarillo days earlier to spend the summer with her father, was playing outside June 9, 1992, when Anderson snatched her as she walked by his Amarillo home.
"It was a messed-up day," Anderson said from death row. "A lot of things went wrong."
An argument earlier that day with his wife of about eight months set him off, he said.
"The whole day revolved around the fight," he said. "She stormed out of the house and said when she returned she didn't want to find me."
According to court records and Anderson's confession, he forced the girl to accompany him into the house and tried to rape her, then choked her and beat her with a footstool. When he discovered she still was alive, he drowned her in a bathtub. He stuffed her body into a large foam cooler, pushed the cooler down the street in a grocery cart and dumped it in a trash bin.
An Amarillo jury took less than 15 minutes to come back with a guilty verdict and less than 30 minutes with the death penalty.
"By far, it was absolutely the worst thing a little girl could ever go through," Chuck Slaughter, the Potter County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Anderson, said this week. "If there's anybody out there who deserves the punishment he received from a jury, it would be Robert Anderson."
A neighbor discovered the body in the cooler and gave police a description of the man seen wheeling the shopping cart toward the garbage container. Anderson was apprehended a few blocks away as he was walking back toward home.
"The whole day had slipped my mind," Anderson said. "For an hour or so, I didn't understand what the cops were asking me. Then suddenly, it just snapped. The whole day came into focus.
"Everything came flooding back, all at once. It took less than 45 minutes to get three statements from me."
Anderson was found to be mentally competent despite having visions of what he said were angels, demons and repeated visits to his cell by his young victim on the anniversary of her death.
"She showed up this year and smiled at me and told me I was coming home," he said. "That was really weird."
Anderson, as a teenager in Tulsa, Okla., he'd been in and out of centers "for deviant behavior," as he described them, to deal with his obsession for young girls.
"My whole life is a regret," he said. "I made bad choices all the way up and down as far back as age 10... I should have been in prison when I was 15."
In 1998, Anderson survived an attack by a fellow death row inmate who stabbed him 67 times with a shank. Anderson said the attack was the result of race-related prison gang extortion efforts and not related to his crime.
Next week, Allen Bridgers, 35, from Norfolk, Va., is set to die on Tuesday for fatally shooting a woman at her home in Tyler and stealing her car.