Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, November 1, 2000

MEDIA ADVISORY

Stacey Lamont Lawton Scheduled To Be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Stacey Lamont Lawton who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14th, 2000.

Lawton was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering 47-year-old Dennis Price.

Lawton gunned down Price in his front yard on Christmas Eve of 1992, as he was breaking into Price's truck looking for property to steal. Lawton and his two co-defendants, Karlos Fields and Carlos Black had been involved in a crime spree on December 23rd and 24th of 1992, where they broke into and stole property from numerous cars in Price's neighborhood and around Smith County. The murder of Dennis Price was part of that crime spree.

In the early morning hours of December 24th, 1992, Lawton and co-defendant Carlos Black approached Price's truck and began to burglarize it. Price's daughter heard Lawton and Black and alerted Price to what was happening. When Price came out of his house, Lawton shot him in the chest with a shotgun he had stolen in an earlier burglary. Lawton and Black then ran back to the stolen truck they were in and fled the scene. Price died in his daughter's arms as she was trying to give him CPR.

Lawton and his co-conspirators were caught by police after a high speed chase. A witness described the stolen truck that fled from the crime scene and a DPS trooper later caught the group and arrested them.

Lawton told police that Karlos Fields and Carlos Black were cousins and that as they all discussed carrying out the crime spree, Fields and Black openly agreed to not tell on each other, only Lawton, if something happened.

EVIDENCE

  • Police chased Lawton and his co-defendant as they fled from the crime scene. A witness who saw Lawton and his co-defendants flee the neighborhood was able to give police a description of the stolen truck they were in.
  • Karlos Fields, Lawton's co-defendant, testified at trial that Lawton was the man who gunned down Dennis Price. Fields also testified that prior to the group carrying out the crime spree, that Lawton told the group he would shoot anyone who came out of a house, interfering with a burglary.
  • Several witnesses testified that the cars driven by Lawton and his co-defendants were at the scenes of various burglaries that night.
  • One witness testified that one of Lawton's co-defendant's had pointed a shotgun at her window earlier in the evening.

APPEALS TIME-LINE

  • December 6, 1995 - Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Lawton's conviction and sentence,
  • May 15, 1995 - U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review;
  • April 23, 1997- Lawton filed an application for habeas corpus relief in the state trial court;
  • January 14, 1998 - Court of Criminal Appeals denied Lawton's habeas application;
  • January 20 , 1998 - Lawton filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division;
  • January 26, 1999- District Court denied habeas relief;
  • February 3, 1999 - District Court granted rehearing, but the district court once again denied relief on March 22, 1999;
  • May 24, 1999 - District Court granted Lawton permission to appeal;
  • March 1, 2000 - United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the lower court's denial of relief;
  • Sept. 26, 2000 - U.S. Supreme Court denies writ of certiorari.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

    At trial, the State presented evidence during the punishment phase of Lawton's prior convictions for criminal trespass and delivery of a controlled substance.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS

    11/15/00 Tony Neyshea Chambers (Smith County)
    11/16/00 Johnny Paul Penry (Polk County)
    12/05/00 Gary Dean Miller (Jones County)
    12/06/00 Daniel Joe Hittle (Dallas County)
    12/07/00 Claude Howard Jones (San Jacinto County)
    01/09/01 Jack Wade Clark (Lubbock County)
    01/18/01 Alvin Goodwin (Montgomery County)
    01/22/01 Steven Anthony Butler (Harris County)

MISCELLANEOUS

    If this execution is carried out, it will be the 236th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982, and the 72nd since General Cornyn took office.

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