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Tuesday, April 27, 1999

MEDIA ADVISORY

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on

Aaron Christopher Foust who is scheduled to be executed after
6 p.m., Wednesday, April 28, 1999.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

Aaron Christopher Foust was convicted for the capital offense of the intentional murder of David Ward in the course of committing robbery. The murder occurred in Fort Worth, Texas.

On May 18, 1997, Foust and his accomplice Jamal Brown were given a ride to the victim's home in Fort Worth. The victim, David Ward, was a hospital administrator and acquaintance of Foust's. Foust had just been released from the Tarrant County Jail, and needed money to pay his attorneys. Ward allowed Foust and Brown into his home and, according to Foust, Ward gave him steroids because Foust worked out with weights. When Ward allegedly would not or could not give Foust money, Foust bound him with speaker wire then left to use Ward's ATM card. Foust returned after an unsuccessful attempt to withdraw money. Thereafter, as Brown was loading Ward's VCRs and stereo equipment into Ward's BMW automobile, Foust strangled Ward with his hands and arms, held a pillow over Ward's face, and stepped on Ward's neck, trying to break his neck. Brown stated that Ward had begged Foust not to kill him. Foust and Brown then continued to loot Ward's house, leaving what was supposed to look like gang graffiti on the walls. The two then stole Ward's BMW. Foust later used one of Ward's credit cards. Ward's BMW was later found in an adjoining town, Arlington, after it had been set on fire.

There was evidence that the crime was planned in advance, as Foust had discussed it with a fellow inmate. According to the witness, Foust stated he would steal a BMW and other items from a man, make him sign a check by torturing him, kill him execution-style, and write gang signs on the walls to make it look like others did the crime.

Foust gave a written confession on May 23, 1997, claiming that he had not meant to kill Ward, but just to make him pass out. Brown also gave a statement, essentially corroborating Foust's admission that he had strangled Ward alone.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On July 24, 1997, Foust was indicted for the capital offense of the intentional murder of David Ward in the course of committing robbery. On April 6, 1998, Foust entered a plea of not guilty to a jury. The jury found Foust guilty of capital murder on April 14, 1998. On April 17, 1998, following a separate punishment hearing, the jury answered affirmatively the first two special issues and negatively the third special issue submitted pursuant to article 37.071(b) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. In accordance with Texas law, the trial court, the 297th District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, sentenced Foust to death.

On June 10, 1998, the trial court received a letter from Foust indicating that he had carefully considered the matter and no longer wished to pursue any appeal. On July 16, 1998, the trial court held a hearing on the matter and subsequently found that Foust's decision to waive further appeal was voluntarily and intelligently made. On its own, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the record of Foust's trial, found no fundamental error, and affirmed the conviction and sentence of death on October 14, 1998.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

At the punishment phase of trial, the state presented evidence that Foust had a juvenile record relating to a 1988 attempted burglary of a motor vehicle. More recently, in February 1997, Foust was stopped by police for driving without his headlights on, and was subsequently arrested. Foust had a butterfly knife in his waistband, shotgun shells on the dashboard, a baseball bat in the back, a pair of gloves, and two clips to a pistol in the front.

In April 1997, Foust was arrested for an assault in which he punched an acquaintance's girlfriend in the face, leaving her with a split lip, a swollen, cut, and bruised face, and a large bump on the back of her head. When a female neighbor tried to intervene, Foust hit her also, then became involved in a fight with the neighbor's boyfriend. Foust was screaming when taken into custody. Foust continued to be aggressive and threatening towards officers while in a holding area. At one point, Foust pointed at an officer and said, "When I get out, I'm going to kill you." Foust incurred three disciplinary violations while in the Tarrant County Jail. In one of those incidents, Foust threw a razor at an officer.

DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL

There was no evidence of intoxication due to alcohol or drug use in connection with this offense.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS

05/04/99 Jose De La Cruz (Nueces County)

05/05/99 Clydell Coleman (McClennan County)

06/01/99 William Hamilton Little (Liberty County)

06/09/99 Billy Wayne Coble (McLennan County)

06/17/99 Joseph Stanley Faulder (Angelina County)

07/01/99 Emanuel Kemp (Tarrant County)

07/01/99 Charles Daniel Tuttle (Smith County)

08/05/99 Charles Anthony Boyd (Dallas County)

09/14/99 William Prince Davis (Harris County)

MISCELLANEOUS

If this execution is carried out, it will be the 174th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 10th since General Cornyn took office.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050