Pursuant to a court order by 339th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas, Anthony Shore is scheduled for execution after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 18, 2018.
In 2004, Shore was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection for his role in the killing of Maria Del Carmen Estrada while in the course of committing aggravated sexual assault. Shore also confessed to the murders of Laurie Tremblay, Diana Rebollar and Dana Sanchez, and the aggravated sexual assault of a 14-year-old student. Below is a summary of the evidence.
FACTS OF THE CASE
Anthony Shore was convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal rape and murder of 29 -year-old Maria Del Carmen Estrada. In Houston, over a period of approximately nine years, Shore murdered Estrada, 14-year-old Laurie Tremblay, nine-year-old Diana Rebollar, and 16-year-old Dana Sanchez. He also stalked and raped a 14-year-old student in her home. Shore was eventually apprehended after DNA evidence connected him to the Estrada murder. Once in custody, Shore confessed to all of these offenses. The evidence presented at trial is as follows.
On September 26, 1986, Shore murdered 14-year-old Laurie Tremblay while attempting to sexually assault her. In discussing this crime, Shore stated that he was preoccupied with young girls and that he had met Tremblay by giving her rides on a semi-regular basis. During one of these rides, Shore, then 24 years old, became sexually aggressive. She demanded that Shore stop, and the two argued. Shore hit Tremblay in the back of the head and then used a cotton cord to strangle her. Shore dumped the victim’s body behind a restaurant. The crime remained unsolved until 2003.
On April 16, 1992, 29-year-old Shore gave a ride to 20-old Maria Del Carmen Estrada. Recounting the event, Shore stated that she “freaked out” when he made sexual advances toward her, but he persisted in his attack, using a pair of shears to aid in his attempt to rape her. He ultimately strangled Estrada by twisting a nylon cord around her neck and tightening it with a piece of wood. As in his first murder, Shore dumped the victim’s body behind a restaurant and left. The crime remained unsolved until 2003.
About a year and a half later, at 31, Shore became infatuated with a 14-year-old student, who was often home alone after school. On October 19, 1993, the student came home to find Shore waiting for her. He was wearing baggy clothes, surgical gloves, sunglasses, and a bandana over his face. Shore bound her hands with an electrical cord and wrapped her head in duct tape. Shore then raped the student. He then began choking her, but she managed to escape. Before fleeing the home, Shore threatened that he would return and kill her and her family if she reported the crime. He also told her that he had been watching her and named her school and sports activities. Recovered DNA eventually pointed to Shore as its source. Shore admitted to this crime, saying that he had watched the student during his work as a “telephone man.” He admitted that he fantasized about her and wanted to rape but not murder her; this depraved desire, he believed, was proof that he could “beat the evilness” by possessing and controlling another human being without killing her. Again, the crime remained unsolved until 2003.
The next year, on August 7, 1994, Shore, at 32 years old, abducted, raped, and killed nine-year-old Diana Rebollar. He recounted that he saw the child walking down the street while he was driving a van. He pulled into a parking lot and began talking to her. Noticing that nobody else was around, Shore grabbed Rebollar, threw her into the van, duct taped her hands and feet, drove behind a building, then attacked her. Her body was later found on the loading dock of a building. Shore admitted to killing her by strangulation. This crime also remained unsolved until 2003.
On, or soon after, July 6, 1995, Shore saw 16-year-old Dana Sanchez at a pay phone; Shore was 33. Shore stated that Sanchez appeared angry, and he offered her a ride. Sanchez accepted the ride, but soon objected when Shore began touching her. Shore claimed that he did not sexually assault Sanchez, but admitted that he did kill her. Sanchez’s body was found after Shore made an anonymous call to a television news station reporting that there was a “serial killer out there” and giving the body’s location and a detailed description of the victim. Like the other murders, this crime remained unsolved until 2003.
About two and a half years after killing Sanchez, Shore pled no contest to two charges of indecency with a child. The two victims were Shore’s children. Shore was charged with sexually molesting his older daughter from the time she was in kindergarten until she was 13. Shore also began molesting his younger daughter, and both girls eventually informed their aunt of the assaults. Shore was arrested, and as a result of a plea agreement, he was placed on deferred-adjudication community supervision.
On October 17, 2003, about eleven and a half years after the Estrada assault and killing, Houston homicide detective Robert King forwarded evidence of the unsolved Estrada murder to Orchid Cellmark for DNA analysis. Shore’s DNA profile, from the sample he had been required to give when he was placed on deferred adjudication for molesting his daughters and which was included in the CODIS data-bank, matched DNA found on Estrada’s body. Shore was arrested for the murder. He confessed to that crime, as well as to the murders of Tremblay, Rebollar, and Sanchez, and the aggravated sexual assault of a student.
On October 21, 2004, Shore was found guilty of murdering Estrada while in the course of committing aggravated sexual assault. He was sentenced to death after a separate punishment trial on October 27, 2004. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Shore’s conviction and sentence in an unpublished opinion on December 12, 2007.
On December 21, 2006, Shore filed a state application for writ of habeas corpus in the trial court. The trial court submitted findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that Shore be denied relief. The Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the trial court’s findings and conclusions and denied Shore habeas relief on January 16, 2013.
On February 19, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas denied Shore’s habeas corpus petition.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied Shore permission to appeal on January 6, 2017.
The United States Supreme Court denied Shore certiorari review on October 2, 2017.
On September 12, 2017, Shore filed a successive state habeas application in the Court of Criminal Appeals.
On October 10, 2017, the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Shore’s post-conviction writ of habeas corpus.
On October 16, 2017, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon asked the governor to grant Shore a thirty-day reprieve to allow District Attorney Ligon time to complete an investigation of materials found in Shore’s cell pertaining to the murder of Melissa Trotter while Shore was still available to be interviewed.
Before the governor could act on the reprieve request, the 339th Judicial District Court of Harris County withdrew the execution order and rescheduled Shore’s execution for January 18, 2018.
EVIDENCE OF FUTURE DANGEROUSNESS
The State called 35 witnesses in the punishment phase. In particular, the State’s punishment phase case relied on extensive evidence of Shore’s murders, all involving victims who bore similar characteristics: “all young, small Hispanic girls who were last seen walking in the same geographic area and who were strangled with the same type ligature.” The State presented the jury with a cassette recording of Shore’s confession to the other crimes. The State verified Shore’s confession to each of those murders with forensic evidence, including photographs of the young women’s corpses. The prosecution additionally presented evidence of Shore’s aggravated sexual assault of the 14-year-old student.
Jurors also heard from Shore’s sister, Regina Shore Belt. Ms. Belt testified that Shore stabbed and killed a kitten when he was four or five years old. He also once pushed a screwdriver through Ms. Belt’s head when they were children. Ms. Belt testified that between 1972 and 1977 Shore, who liked skinny girls with long hair, would make Ms. Belt knock on the doors of houses while he and Ms. Belt were riding bikes. When the young girls would come outside, Shore would grope and try to kiss the girls. When Shore married, Ms. Belt eventually reported to Child Protective Services that Shore acted inappropriately toward his daughters. Ms. Belt told jurors that it would be just for Shore to receive a death sentence. She also testified that Shore told her in letters that he “really believes that he should have the death penalty as that is what he wants.”
A former girlfriend testified that Shore would drug her and have sex with her against her will, doing so at least once with a friend. Another former girlfriend testified about how Shore used drugs, avoided his probation officer, and kept pornography of young girls. Along with those women, another girlfriend testified that Shore would grab their throats and strangle them during sex. Shore’s two daughters testified that Shore would physically abuse them, inappropriately touch them, keep them locked-up in their house, drug them, tie them up, and masturbate in front of them. Shore’s wife Amy Lynch testified about how Shore controlled her life. Shore would drug her and have sex with her while she was unconscious.
Sharon Burns, the clinical director of the sex offender program in which Shore participated from 1998 to 2003, explained that Shore had superior intellect and abstract reasoning ability. Testing, however, indicated that he had sexual deviations and could manipulate test results. Ms. Burns described Shore as grandiose, opportunistic, manipulative, and narcissistic. Although he was aware of what was socially acceptable, he would break a law if he thought he could get away with it. Ms. Burns explained that Shore’s drugging and choking women while having sex simulated his crimes. Shore scored high on a scale that measured whether a person is a psychopath.
For additional information and statistics, please access the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website at www.tdcj.state.tx.us.