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Davidson News

Last-Minute Stay of Execution for Death Row Inmate as Victim’s Sister Advocates for Mercy – Houston, Texas

William Keith Speer’s execution was postponed yesterday “pending further order” by the court, a mere five hours before his scheduled lethal injection.

Speer, who has spent all except the initial 16 years of his life in prison, the most of which he spent on death row after he strangled fellow prisoner Gary Dickerson to death in 1997, received support from Dickerson’s sister, Sammie Martin, in his bid to stay his execution. Martin stated in a letter before this week that he had “spent a lot of time focusing on the fairness that my brother and my entire family deserved,” according to the Associated Press. The statement was filed in a federal court. In my heart, it appears he still has a valuable thing to offer the world and that he has been performing good activities for others in addition to being remorseful for his past actions.

The judges refrained from making any firm decisions about the two-page stay order that people evaluated. They listed Speer’s five requests for the stay without disclosing their conclusions and postponed deciding on the execution until a later, undisclosed date. The judges were not in agreement overwhelmingly on the stay.


Last-Minute Reprieve: Death Row Inmate Will Speer’s Message of Hope and Redemption Sparks Outpouring of Support

A few days ago Speer’s followers prevailed against his uncertain future.

According to a news release from Burke Butler, Executive Director of Texas Defender Service, an organization that fights for the abolition of the death penalty and oversaw a social media campaign for clemency in Speer’s case, “Will Speer survive to see another day pass and keep spreading his message of hope and healing in Texas prisons.” He mentioned that “thousands” of individuals across had joined Dickerson’s sister and religious leaders “to tell Texas that Will’s life was worth saving.”

After being baptized in the prison yard’s enormous kiddie pool, Speer now regularly appears on the prison radio program Faith Based Program, which airs at six in the morning. His supporters claim that he has the confined security he so desperately needed as a child because he trusted in God, and that he could work as a field minister for the remainder of his life in prison, improving the well-being of other prisoners as he has already started to do as an authorized advisor among his fellow inmates.

According to a news release issued by the Death Penalty Info Center, which keeps track of executions across the country and cited David Santiago Renteria’s letter, Speer’s “desire to lay himself bare earlier than others possesses served as guidance for many in our community, as well as making an impact in how we as a community relate to one another as a component of growth.” Next month, Renteria is set to be executed via self-execution.

Many have been forced to look closer when it comes to confession of our broken paths,” Renteria continued, citing Speer’s statement as evidence. As part of Speer’s legal squad, Donna Coltharp, an associate federal public attorney with the Western United States District Court of Texas, informed the city of Houston Landing that they are “in a holding pattern,” awaiting word on the execution of Speer. The order gives Speer “a minimum of 90 more days,” she continued.

Last-Minute Stay of Execution for Will Speer: Legal Battle Continues Amid Push for Clemency judge’s

Following a letter Martin had earlier this week presented to the court on Speer’s behalf, the last-minute stay was granted.

However, additional court documents this week indicate Speer’s battle will likely remain difficult. According to documents submitted before the judges’ ruling, Dickerson’s attorneys have not abandoned their pursuit of his execution. They stated that “the government has retained its interest in deterring gang murders and assault in prison, as well as seeing justice done for Dickerson,” the AP said.
Additionally, Houston Landing noted that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has the power to commute Speer’s death sentence to life in prison, but he has only done so once—on Thomas Bartlett’s behalf. The outlet claims that in his more than eight years as governor, 66 prisoners have been put to death.

Speer’s appeal, which is still wrangling its way through the Texas federal court system, is predicated on a few legal contentions outlined under the stay order: that his Brady rights were infringed upon, that prosecutors falsified testimony twice during the trial, that he received inadequate legal representation at sentencing, and that the Attorney General’s Office Special Prosecution Unit overreached in prosecuting his case. Such arguments would probably be the basis for whatever subsequent decisions the courts made about his execution.

As stated in his web file with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Anibal Canales, Jr., the second prisoner found guilty of killing Dickerson in his cell, is still incarcerated and facing the death penalty. According to an AP story from March, Canales’ execution was also rescheduled for earlier this year.

In accordance with an execution list published a few days ago by the Center for Death Penalty Information, twenty prisoners in five states have been executed nationwide so far this year. Texas, the home state of Speer, and Florida have seen more than half of those executions.
In a video, Speer begged the authorities to save his life, saying, “Nobody’s entitled to— to any of this.” “I’m pleading for this chance to offer more, to give something back. Not because I deserved to have a different transformation because of something I did. That’s not at all what I’m saying. However, I wish for an opportunity to return all of the affection that I have received.

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