THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

MEDIA ADVISORY: Taichin Preyor Scheduled for Execution

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 – Austin

Pursuant to a court order from the 290th Judicial District Court of Bexar County, Taichin Preyor is scheduled for execution after 6:00 p.m. on July 27, 2017.

On March 10, 2005 he was found guilty by a jury for the murder of Jami Tackett. He was sentenced to death after a separate punishment trial on March 14, 2005. 

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

Taichin Preyor was convicted and sentenced to death in Texas state court for the brutal murder of Jami Tackett.  The evidence presented at trial is as follows:

Jami Tackett sold illegal drugs to Preyor, who then sold them to others. On February 25, 2004, Preyor, whose nickname was “Box,” called Tackett and said that he was coming to her apartment that night. Tackett was entertaining friends, including Jason Garza, at her apartment. After the last guest left at about 4:00 a.m. on February 26, Tackett and Garza locked the front door, turned out the lights, and went to bed. Garza testified that when they were almost asleep, he heard two or three loud bangs at the door. Then a man peeked into the bedroom and Tackett said, “Box, what the hell are you doing here.” Preyor, who was dressed in black and wearing a hood and gloves, cursed, and attacked Garza. After Preyor stabbed Garza, Garza escaped and asked neighbors to call for help. Preyor then stabbed Tackett numerous times and cut her throat, severing her trachea, jugular vein, and carotid artery.

Several of Tackett’s neighbors heard her screaming and saw Preyor when he left her apartment. They saw Tackett on the floor, covered in blood and making gurgling sounds. Jaclyn Villanueva asked Tackett if the man who came out of the apartment wearing black clothing hurt her. Although Tackett was unable to speak, she nodded her head affirmatively. Tackett died before the paramedics arrived.

Preyor left Tackett’s apartment and went downstairs, where his vehicle was parked, but returned to Tackett’s apartment where he apparently searched, unsuccessfully, for his keys. After the murder, David Pointer, Tackett’s former boyfriend, found some car keys in her apartment and turned them over to the police, who determined that they were the keys to Preyor’s vehicle.

When Preyor left Tackett’s apartment the second time, he encountered police officers. When they ordered him to stop and get on the ground, Preyor refused to comply. The police had to use pepper spray to subdue him. Preyor was covered in blood, which DNA analysis later indicated was Tackett’s.

Police found Preyor’s gloves and the murder weapon on the ground next to a vehicle in the parking lot, later identified as Preyor’s vehicle. They also discovered a loaded shotgun on the bumper of the vehicle and found blood on the driver’s-side door handle of the vehicle. The pattern on Preyor’s boots matched the pattern of the bloody footprints found in Tackett’s apartment.  Tackett’s DNA profile was also consistent with blood found on the knife, gloves, car door handle, a swab from Preyor’s face, and a swab from his hand and boot. Garza’s DNA profile was consistent with blood found on Preyor’s watch and knit cap. Blood consistent with a mixture of Tackett’s and Preyor’s DNA profiles was located on various items, including a nail clipping from Tackett and a swab from Preyor’s face.

At trial, Detective Barney Whitson read aloud the statement Preyor made to the police after he was taken into custody. In this statement, Preyor claimed that Tackett asked Preyor to come over to her apartment. According to Preyor, when he arrived, Garza and Tackett attacked him, and he slashed Tackett while trying to defend himself. He concluded the statement as follows: “I felt like I was the victim, so I didn’t run, but know that the whole thing was over drugs so I didn’t want to reveal that.  I felt like it was going to be worked against me.

 

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Preyor was indicted on May 19, 2004, in the 290th Judicial District Court of Bexar County, Texas, for murdering Jami Tackett while in the course of committing or attempting to burglary. He was found guilty by a jury on March 10, 2005.

He was sentenced to death after a separate punishment trial on March 14, 2005. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence in an unpublished opinion on January 23, 2008.    

Preyor filed a petition for state writ of habeas corpus on November 29, 2007. The trial court made findings and conclusions and recommended denial of habeas relief. Based upon the trial court’s findings and conclusions and, on its own review, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief in an unpublished order on October 28, 2009.

Preyor also filed a second state habeas application on December 1, 2008. The Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed this application as an abuse of the writ also on October 28, 2009.

Preyor then filed a third state habeas application on December 21, 2009, which the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed for abuse of the writ on November 9, 2011.

Thereafter, Preyor filed a federal habeas petition in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. He subsequently filed an amended petition. On June 15, 2012, the district court denied Preyor federal habeas relief and permission to appeal.

Preyor then sought permission to appeal from the United States Court of Appeals from the Fifth Circuit. On July 25, 2013, the court denied Preyor permission to appeal.  Preyor next filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. The Court denied the petition on June 16, 2014

Preyor then obtained new federal habeas counsel. On June 27, 2017, Preyor filed a motion for stay of execution in the federal district court. The court denied Preyor’s motion on July 7, 2017.

On July 14, 2017, Preyor filed another motion for stay of execution.  On July 17, 2017, Preyor filed a motion for relief from judgment in the federal district court. 

On July 18, 2017, Preyor filed a fourth state habeas application and motion for stay of execution with the Court of Criminal Appeals. On that same date, he also filed a motion to stay his execution in the trial court. The three motions to stay, the fourth state habeas application, and the motion for relief from judgment were denied.

On July 19, 2017, the federal district court granted Preyor’s motion to exceed the page limit for his Rule 60(b) motion and file it. On July 24, 2017, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied the motion to stay the execution and dismissed his Rule 60(b) motion.

On July 25, 2017, Preyor filed a notice of appeal in federal district court concerning the court’s denial of his Rule 60(b) motion, which is now pending. Also on July 25, 2017, Preyor filed another motion to stay his execution.

The Fifth Circuit denied Preyor's motion to appeal and motion to stay on July 27, 2017.

  

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

At the punishment phase, the State presented evidence of Preyor’s future dangerousness.

In 1999, Preyor had committed a prior drug offense in Syracuse, New York. A Syracuse police officer testified that he discovered a bag containing nearly four ounces of crack cocaine, with a street value of approximately $10,000, when conducting a pat-down search of Preyor. Preyor fled, and another officer later tackled and handcuffed him. Preyor pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance in exchange for a one-year sentence and the dismissal of a charge of resisting arrest. Preyor told his probation officer that he had used cocaine since he was an adolescent, and that he had started using it consistently in 1998, when he had an affair with a woman who was a drug abuser. Preyor also told his probation officer that the crack cocaine was for his own personal use.  However, when he was interviewed by a clinical psychologist, Dr. Murphy, prior to his capital murder trial, he acknowledged that he had been selling drugs.

After serving time for his drug offense in New York, Preyor moved to San Antonio, where he was joined by his wife and children.  About a month before the murder, on January 14, 2004, the police went to Preyor’s apartment on a “family violence call.” Preyor was angry and he was pacing, yelling, and screaming, but he calmed down when his brother, a San Antonio police officer, arrived. His wife, who was pregnant with their fourth child at that time, did not appear to be injured and said that she did not need assistance.

Preyor committed several minor disciplinary infractions while in the Bexar County Jail awaiting trial: (1) possession of ten Tylenol tablets (eight more than the two that he was allowed to possess); (2) disobeying an order from staff; and (3) engaging in “loud, boisterous behavior or communication with other inmates.” The State also presented evidence that Preyor had the dates of his drug offense and the murder tattooed on his body. He told Dr. Murphy that the tattoos were to remind him of mistakes that he did not want to repeat.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

For additional information and statistics, please access the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website at www.tdcj.state.tx.us.