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Tuesday, August 22, 2000

MEDIA ADVISORY

Jeffery Caldwell scheduled to be executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Jeffery Caldwell who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 30th.

Jeffery Caldwell was convicted and sentenced to death for the July 1988 murders of his mother and father, Gwendolyn and Henry Porter Caldwell, Jr. The Caldwell's bodies along with the body of Kimberly Caldwell, Jeffery Caldwell's sister, were found wrapped in blankets and stuffed into a camper-trailer parked behind the family's south Dallas home.

Autopsies later revealed that Caldwell's parents were each stabbed once through the heart. Jeffery's sister Kimberly was stabbed twice in the chest, once through her heart. The victims had also been beaten on their heads with a blunt instrument.

Caldwell was arrested for the murders the morning after the bodies of his parents and sister were found. In a voluntary statement to police, Caldwell said that he accidentally killed his mother, father and sister after they refused to give him money for insulin. Caldwell had been out on parole for less than four months at the time of his offense.

EVIDENCE

  • In a recorded phone conversation with his brother, Caldwell said the murders accidentally happened after his parents and sister refused to give him money for insulin. Caldwell told his brother that had he not been caught, he would have run and gotten away with the murders.
  • Caldwell signed a written statement, which he gave to police voluntarily, admitting to the murders.
  • Caldwell admitted in his written statement that he had lied about the fight with his parents being over not getting money for insulin. Caldwell told police that there was actually insulin in the family's refrigerator.
  • When Caldwell was in jail, awaiting his trial for the murders, he told a friend who was in jail with him, that he killed his parents but had been so good at hiding it that he would not be convicted.

APPEALS TIME-LINE

  • Oct. 16, 1991 - Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Caldwell's conviction and death sentence.
  • April 20, 1992 - United States Supreme Court denied Caldwell's petition for writ of certiorari.
  • April 4, 1994 - Trial court recommended denying Caldwell's claims filed in an application for state writ of habeas corpus.
  • Oct. 31, 1994 - Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the trial court's findings and denied relief.
  • March 30, 1995 - Trial court again recommended denying relief for a second state habeas application Caldwell filed. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief.
  • May 30, 1995 - Caldwell filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.
  • Jan. 8, 1999 - District court agreed with a previous recommendation of a federal magistrate judge to deny relief.
  • Jan. 28, 1999 - District court denied motion to reconsider.
  • May 20, 1999 - District court denied Caldwell permission to appeal.
  • Feb. 18, 2000 - United States District Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted permission to appeal but affirmed the district court's denial of relief.
  • Caldwell's petition for writ of certiorari is currently pending before the United States Supreme Court.

CRIMINAL HISTORY

  • Henry Caldwell, one of Jeffery Caldwell's brothers, testified that Caldwell began stealing at an early age.
  • Lewis Gipson, a high school friend of Caldwell's, testified that Caldwell would break into lockers and cars to steal money in order to "get high." Gipson also said that Caldwell sold drugs and often carried a .38 revolver. Gipson also testified that on the morning he was scheduled to testify in Caldwell's punishment phase, Caldwell went to Gipson's holdover cell without authorization, told Gipson, "I teach you about testifying" and beat him up.
  • In a phone conversation with his brother, Caldwell warned, "just remember, some day I'll be out."
  • An assistant principal testified that Caldwell once admitted to stealing a wallet and was also later suspended from school for possession of marijuana.
  • Terrence Strange, a friend of Caldwell's, testified that Caldwell took him to health clubs on several occasions and that Caldwell would break into lockers and steal money. Strange said one time after he himself had robbed someone of their jewelry, Caldwell took the stolen jewelry and pawned it.
  • Evidence was presented at the punishment phase of Caldwell's trial that he had been convicted of burglary of a habitation in 1983, and received a five year sentence; and that Caldwell had also been convicted of robbery in 1986, for which he received a ten year sentence. Caldwell was released on parole in April of 1988, less than four months before the murder of his family. His parole officer testified that Caldwell repeatedly failed to meet his parole conditions.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS

    09/27/00 Ricky Nolen McGinn (Brown County)
    10/04/00 Stacey Lamont Lawton (Smith County)
    11/01/00 Jeffrey Dillingham (Tarrant County)
    11/08/00 Gary Wayne Etheridge (Brazoria County)
    11/09/00 Miguel Angel Flores (Hutchinson County)
    11/15/00 Tony Chambers (Smith County)
    12/05/00 Garry Dean Miller (Jones County)

MISCELLANEOUS

    If this execution is carried out, it will be the 231st since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 67th since Attorney General Cornyn took office.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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