Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Wednesday, May 5, 1999

MEDIA ADVISORY

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

Clydell Coleman who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 5, 1999.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

Clydell Coleman was convicted for the capital offense of the intentional murder of Leetisha Joe in the course of committing robbery. The murder occurred in Waco, Texas.

On direct appeal, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals summarized the facts surrounding the offense as follows:

[O]n February 24, 1989, in Waco, the eighty-seven year old victim was murdered in her home by strangulation. Fingerprints at the scene connected Yolanda Phillips to the murder. Phillips eventually implicated [Coleman] in the murder and testified against [Coleman] pursuant to a plea bargain with the State.

Phillips testified she and [Coleman] forcibly entered the victim's residence to obtain money and property to buy drugs. [Coleman] confronted the victim, threw a blanket over her head, struck her in the head with a hammer, and then strangled her with one of her stockings. Phillips described property she and [Coleman] removed from the victim's home and sold to various buyers for minor sums. Several witnesses testified [Coleman] sold them property belonging to the victim. [Coleman's] defensive theory was that Phillips committed the murder.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Coleman was indicted on March 9, 1989, in the 54th Judicial District Court of McLennan County, Texas, for the capital offense of the murder of Leetisha Joe while in the course of committing and attempting to commit the offense of robbery. Coleman was tried before a jury upon a plea of not guilty, and on October 10, 1989, the jury found him guilty of the capital offense. On October 12, 1989, following a separate punishment hearing, the jury answered affirmatively the two special sentencing issues submitted. In accordance with state law, the trial court assessed Coleman's punishment at death.

Coleman appealed his conviction and sentence to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed on June 13, 1994, and denied rehearing on September 15, 1994. The United States Supreme Court denied Coleman's petition for writ of certiorari on January 9, 1995.

On March 22, 1995, the state district court scheduled Coleman's execution for May 11, 1995. That execution date was subsequently withdrawn, and Coleman filed an application for state writ of habeas corpus on August 24, 1995. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the state district court issued findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that relief be denied. On October 22, 1997, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief. The United States Supreme Court denied Coleman's petition for writ of certiorari on March 23, 1998.

On December 1, 1997, the state district court scheduled Coleman's execution for March 10, 1998. Coleman filed motions for appointment of counsel and for stay of execution in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, on January 26, 1998. On February 3, 1998, the federal district court stayed the execution and appointed counsel to assist Coleman in filing a petition for federal writ of habeas corpus. Coleman filed his petition on May 1, 1998. The district court entered final judgment denying relief on January 15, 1999. On April 26, 1999, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied Coleman's request for a certificate of appealability. Coleman then filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court which is pending before the Court.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

At the punishment phase of trial, the state introduced evidence that Coleman had previously been convicted of four felony offenses. On September 11, 1957, in the Criminal District Court No. 2 of Dallas County, Texas, Coleman pleaded guilty and was convicted of the offense of burglary. He received a sentence of five years confinement in Texas Department of Corrections. On January 26, 1966, in the Criminal District Court No. 5 of Dallas County, a jury found Coleman guilty of burglary and sentenced him to six years imprisonment in Texas Department of Corrections. On March 1, 1973, in the

United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, Coleman pleaded guilty to the offense of forgery of a government check, for which he received a suspended sentence and five years probation. However, on October 7, 1974, upon a finding that Coleman had violated the terms of his probation, the court set aside the suspended sentence, revoked probation, and sentenced Coleman to five years confinement. On July 1, 1974, in the 54th Judicial District Court of McLennan County, Coleman pleaded guilty to the offense of burglary, and the court assessed a sentence of 15 years confinement in Texas Department of Corrections.

The state also introduced evidence of unadjudicated offenses committed by Coleman. In August of 1988, Coleman robbed Lela Williams, an 88-year-old woman, by throwing a blanket over her head, holding a can opener to her throat, and demanding money. In 1985, Coleman stood in the bushes with his pants to his knees near J.H. Hines Middle School in Waco, Texas, and "played with himself" while watching two 10-year-old girls walking home from school. The girls ran away when they saw him. The girls saw Coleman again about a week later in a neighborhood grocery store; he was facing them with his pants to his knees holding his penis for them to see. The girls ran home and told their grandmother, who called the police.

Robert King testified that he met Coleman when both were incarcerated in the Texas Department of Corrections in 1968. King and Coleman got in a fight, and Coleman threatened King. After hearing from other inmates that Coleman had a reputation as a dangerous, violent man, King reported the incident and requested and received a transfer from that area of the Texas Department of Corrections. While in McLennan County Jail in July of 1986, Coleman, who had achieved trustee status at the jail, was removed as a trustee and reprimanded for violating jail rules.

DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL

There was evidence of alcohol or drug use in connection with the offense.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS

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)

07/13/99 Spencer Corey Goodman (Fort Bend County)

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

08/18/99 Joe Mario Trevino (Tarrant County)

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

MISCELLANEOUS

If this execution is carried out, it will be the 176th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 12th since General Cornyn took office.

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