A man was executed in Huntsville, Texas on Wednesday for killing his mother and burying her body in her own backyard in 2003, AP News reported — although his lawyers argued his history of mental illness should have prevented him from being executed became. and the circumstances of his conviction were widely debated.
Tracy Beatty, 61, was found guilty of killing Carolyn Click about 19 years ago after a violent relationship between the two.
- Continue reading: The headmaster of Uvalde plans to retire after community outrage
Prosecutors found that Beatty broke into Click’s RV and fatally strangled her, then buried her body next to the Whitehouse home and spent her money on drugs and alcohol, according to the AP. Click was 62 at the time of her death, the Texas Tribune said.
Beatty was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville State Penitentiary. The fatal dose of pentobarbital was administered at 6:22 p.m. on November 9, and Beatty was pronounced dead 19 minutes later, according to the AP.
Beatty’s wife watched his execution through a window, the outlet said, and Beatty was given the opportunity to say his last words to her.
“I just want to say thank you…” Beatty said to his wife before the injection, his voice cracking as he cried, the outlet said.
“I don’t want to leave you baby. We’ll see you when you get there. I love you.” He kissed her with the lips, told AP, and he also named some of his death row inmates, saying, “Love you brothers. See you on the other side.”
In Texas, a person must be sentenced to death not only for murder, but also for capital murder. Capital murder includes, but is not limited to, the murder of a public safety officer or firefighter on duty, murder during certain crimes such as kidnapping, burglary, or rape, killing of a person under the age of 6, or murder of multiple people.
- Continue reading: Edwin Pizarro has been identified as the victim of Sunday night’s deadly Mattapan shooting
Beatty’s murder of his mother was considered an asset by prosecutors because he broke into his mother’s home without his mother’s consent, making it a “burglary,” even though Beatty lived with Click before his killing, the AP said.
According to the Tribune, a neighbor had testified that on the day Click was last seen, Click told her that she had told Beatty to move out after an argument.
Another neighbor, Lienna Wilkerson, also testified Click told Beatty to move out and the couple had a daily argument – but stated Click told Beatty to move out and Beatty stayed or moved back in shortly after said the outlet .
“Several times[Beatty]had said he just wanted to shut her up, that he just wanted to choke her and shut her up,” Wilkerson testified, according to the AP.
Beatty was unemployed, and Wilkerson recalled that Click once refused to drive Beatty to an interview because “she just didn’t feel like it,” which the judges assumed made Beatty angry and violent toward her, the Tribune said . Wilkerson also testified that Beatty had hit his mother before, once so badly that he “left her for dead.”
- Continue reading: Joao Correia, suspected murderer, dies after drinking battery acid, prosecutors say
“The evidence of unauthorized entry in this case is thin, and the evidence of intent to commit a crime, theft or assault is even thinner,” former Texas Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Cheryl Johnson wrote in the In 2009, two others disagreed with the 5-3 opinion upholding Beatty’s death sentence, the Tribune said.
“There is no doubt that [Beatty] killed click; the question is whether the burglary was proven and whether the act was capital murder or murder.”
But other judges said because of Beatty’s dark history with violence and his mother, his death sentence was fully justified, according to the Tribune.
According to the Tribune, Beatty had been paroled from prison just months before Click’s murder and had a number of previous charges, some of which included injuring a prison guard and assaulting an 18-month-old child.
- Continue reading: 6 years after Vanessa Marcotte’s murder, Angelo Colon-Ortiz pleads guilty to second-degree murder
But Beatty’s lawyers fought hard for Beatty, finding that one of the jurors in Beatty’s trial had known his mother and said nothing, according to the Tribune, arguing that it introduced too much bias into the verdict and sentencing.
The Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed her argument, the outlet said, saying it does not meet Texas requirements for exoneration in a late appeal and that the discovery could have been made sooner.
Beatty’s attorneys also argued that the death penalty was unnecessary in his case because of his serious mental illness and potential intellectual disability, the AP said. Texas law states that persons with intellectual disabilities are not eligible for the death penalty, but does not protect those with mental illness.
Lawyers said Beatty did not receive a fair mental health assessment because he was restrained during his exam, arguing that it was essential for him to uncuff his cuffs during neurological and other tests in order to properly assess his mental health and make accurate decisions about his intellectual disability, the AP said.
- Continue reading: Students on school bus scold 6-year-old girl, mother wants a change
Beatty’s attorneys said he is “clearly psychotic and has a complex paranoid delusional belief system” in her Supreme Court petition, the outlet says, and that he lives in a “complex delusional world” in which he believes there is a “big Correctional Facility Conspiracy” features officers ‘torturing’ him with a device in his ear so he can hear their menacing voices.”
However, the Texas Department of Justice recently said the agency followed standard protocol to protect prisoners, staff and visitors, according to the Tribune.
Although Beatty’s attorneys said he had a long history of mental illness and was admitted to the prison psychiatric facility after suffering auditory and visual hallucinations in 2022, judges and the appeals court called their efforts “delaying tactics,” the Tribune said. They argued that if his history of mental illness was so long, it should have been discovered sooner.
Beatty was the fourth inmate to be executed in Texas that year and the 13th in the United States. The state’s final execution in 2022 is scheduled to take place next week.