Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Tuesday, June 15, 1999

MEDIA ADVISORY

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Joseph Stanley Faulder who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Thursday, June 17th.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

On the morning of July 9, 1975, the body of Inez Phillips, a widow seventy-five years of age, was found on a bed in her home in Gladewater, Texas, by her maid. A butcher knife was found thrust six and a half inches into her chest, tape covered her mouth, and her arms were bound. The medical examiner testified that the victim had a number of bruises on the left side of her body and legs, on her face, on a wrist, and on her fingers. Five small puncture wounds were on her right shoulder. The stab wound to the chest penetrated through a cartilaged area of a rib and the heart, almost to the back bone. The back of the victim's skull had a two inch long depressed fracture, consistent with a "heavy blow" from a blackjack (a club encased in leather). Both the stab wound and the skull fracture were sufficient to cause death. The following events led to the victim's death.

In 1974, the victim had a floor safe installed in a closet in her home. One of the employees involved in installing the floor tile which concealed the safe was James Moulton. At Faulder's trial, Moulton confirmed that he had performed floor work on the victim's house in 1974, and that he went with Lynda McCann, also known as Stormy Summers, to a bar on June 27, 1975, where he met Doyle Hughes and Faulder for the first time. Faulder bragged about being a safecracker, and Moulton told him about the victim's safe, sketched a diagram, and told them that only the seventy-five year old woman lived there.

Moulton drove the four of them to see the victim's house. Moulton testified that he was not involved in the actual burglary and murder, that he called a police hotline to give information on the case, and that Hughes was not involved in the discussions regarding the offense. Moulton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglarize a house and received a five year sentence, but the sentence was not part of a plea bargain.

Doyle Hughes testified that he met Faulder in April or May of 1975, and that Faulder lived with Hughes and Hughes' mother for about two weeks between that time and July of 1975. Two or three weeks before the murder, Hughes went with Faulder to a bar, where he met, for the first time, Moulton and Lynda. Hughes saw Moulton draw a diagram of the victim's house and mention that there was supposed to be some money or jewelry in it. Moulton drove the four of them to the victim's house that night and described how they could tie up the victim and open the safe. Although Hughes did not participate in the conversation, Faulder said he could open the safe, and Lynda said she was behind on her rent. A week later, Hughes was at Lynda's house with Moulton, Faulder, and Lynda's husband when Faulder showed Hughes a pistol.

Lynda McCann confirmed that she met Faulder and Hughes for the first time when she went to the bar with Moulton on June 27th. She confirmed that Moulton drew a map of the victim's house, that there was a discussion of a burglary, that Faulder said he could crack safes, and that they all drove to the victim's house that night. She added that Hughes did not participate in the conversations regarding the proposed burglary. She testified that Faulder stayed at her house around July 5th and told her that, if anyone asked about the house they had looked at, she was to tell them Faulder had forgotten about it.

On July 8th, Faulder told Lynda he wanted her to go with him to check out the house again and see if it felt right. Faulder, who had no car, had obtained a car which had been "hot-wired." The two drove to a convenience store, which Faulder entered with a gun to determine if it looked right for a robbery. Faulder decided against that robbery. After declining Lynda's request to take her home, Faulder proceeded to the victim's house.

When they arrived at the victim's house, the two approached the house, at Faulder's instructions, and Lynda knocked on the door. When no one answered, Lynda asked Faulder to leave, but he said no, and they walked to the back of the house. Faulder possessed a pistol and a blackjack at the time. When Lynda knocked on the back door, the victim opened the door slightly and Faulder then forced his way inside with the gun in his hand. Faulder told the victim that she would not be hurt if she cooperated, and made her go to her bedroom. Faulder questioned her about the safe, but she said there was nothing in it and that she did not remember the combination. However, she directed Faulder to where the combination was written down. Faulder left the gun with Lynda while he went to open the safe.

While they waited, Lynda put the gun down to calm the victim, but Phillips grabbed for the weapon, they struggled over it, and it went off. Faulder returned, angry because of the gunshot and because there was nothing in the safe. Faulder put tape over the victim's mouth and told Lynda to leave the room. Shortly thereafter, Lynda began to hear thumps and moaning. Lynda then saw Faulder obtain a long knife from the kitchen and heard one more thump from the bedroom. Faulder then came out with a bag and they left. While driving away from the scene, Faulder said that he knew the victim was dead because he had stabbed her. Faulder also threw the blackjack out the car window.

When they returned home, Lynda told her husband, Harold Ernest "Ernie" McCann, that they had been to the victim's house and that she was dead. Lynda testified that the charges against her were eventually reduced to conspiracy to commit burglary of a habitation and that she had pleaded guilty in exchange for her testimony and a sentence of ten years probation.

Ernie McCann testified that Faulder stayed with him and Lynda, and that he overheard them talking about criminal activity. For instance, he heard Faulder say something like "I might have to knock her in the head." He was also present when Lynda and Faulder came home on July 8th and Lynda said, "She is dead." He saw that Faulder had a bag with him which was filled with jewelry. McCann then followed Faulder to a gas station where Faulder left his car and rode back with McCann. Faulder told McCann that "there was an accident, that they didn't mean to kill the woman," but that she fell on a knife and then they hit her in the head because she was still alive. McCann also confirmed that Faulder had possessed a blackjack and a pistol.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Faulder was originally indicted on June 1, 1977, in the 124th Judicial District Court of Gregg County, Texas, in Cause No. 11,139-B, for the murder of Inez Phillips committed in the course of aggravated robbery, a capital offense. Faulder was convicted of the capital offense and sentenced to death. However, in 1979, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed Faulder's conviction and sentence, having concluded that police had obtained a confession from Faulder in violation of constitutional protections. In 1980, the United States Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the State.

The State retried Faulder, this time on a change of venue to Angelina County. Faulder was again found guilty of the capital offense and was sentenced to death on July 10, 1981. His conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeals on September 30, 1987.

In 1991 and 1992, Faulder filed for state habeas review in the form of an application and three amended applications. After an evidentiary hearing, the state trial court recommended the denial of habeas relief on November 23, 1992, and the Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief.

On December 2, 1992, Faulder filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. After an evidentiary hearing, the federal district court denied relief on March 31, 1995. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court denied Faulder's petition for writ of certiorari on November 18, 1996.

On May 30, 1997, Faulder filed another application for state writ of habeas corpus. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief on September 16, 1998, and denied Faulder's motion for reconsideration on October 21, 1998. The Supreme Court denied Faulder's petition for writ of certiorari on January 25, 1999. Prior to that time, Faulder had filed another application for state writ of habeas corpus, which was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeals the following day. On June 4, 1999, Faulder filed another application for state writ of habeas corpus. As of June 8, 1999, the application is pending before the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Additionally, Faulder has been involved in civil litigation, in state and federal court, regarding the clemency policies of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. In state court, a Travis County state district court denied relief on January 8, 1999, after a hearing. That decision was affirmed by the Third Court of Appeals on May 18, 1999. Faulder's federal court action was filed December 8, 1998, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. After a hearing, the federal district court denied relief on December 9, 1998. As of June 8, 1999, an appeal is pending in the Fifth Circuit.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

At the punishment phase of trial, the State presented two witnesses who testified that Faulder had a bad reputation in his community for being a peaceful and law abiding citizen. Additionally, psychiatrist Clay Griffith testified, based upon a hypothetical question derived from the facts of the case, that a defendant who committed such acts had an anti-social personality and would kill again. Psychiatrist James Grigson similarly testified from a hypothetical that the individual would continue to commit acts of violence. Finally, psychiatrist James Hunter testified from a hypothetical that the individual would be highly likely to engage in continued acts that would be a danger to society.

DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL

There was no evidence of drug or alcohol use in connection with the instant offense.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS

07/01/99 Emanuel Kemp (Tarrant County)
07/01/99 Charles Daniel Tuttle (Smith County)
07/07/99 Tyrone Fuller (Lamar County)
07/13/99 Spencer Corey Goodman (Fort Bend County)
07/21/99 Reginald Lenard Reeves (Red River County)
08/05/99 Charles Anthony Boyd (Dallas County)
08/17/99 Larry Keith Robison (Tarrant County)
08/18/99 Joe Mario Trevino (Tarrant County)
09/01/99 Raymond James Jones (Jefferson County)
09/14/99 William Prince Davis (Harris County)

MISCELLANEOUS

If this execution is carried out, it will be the 178th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 14th since Attorney General Cornyn took office.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Doug Danzeiser of the Attorney General's Capital Litigation Division.