Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

MEDIA ADVISORY

Daniel Joe Hittle Scheduled To Be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Daniel Joe Hittle who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Wednesday December 6th.

Hittle was convicted and sentenced to death for the November 1989 murder of 48-year old Gerald Walker, a police officer with the city of Garland.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

Hittle had an ongoing feud with his drug dealer, Mary Goss, and had told several people that he intended to kill her and not leave any witnesses. On August 2, 1989, Hittle was arrested as he was trying to break into Goss's home. While he was being taken to jail, Hittle said several times that he would "get" Mary Goss and "take care" of her.

On November 15, 1989, Hittle attended a party at Mary Goss's home. Also attending were Mary's sister, Tammy; Mary's daughter, Christy Condon; Rick Cook, Mary's boyfriend; and Scott Gregg. Tammy left the party around 10:30 p.m. and Hittle soon followed.

At about 11:00 p.m. Hittle's neighbor overheard Hittle and his wife arguing, and heard Hittle say "I am going to kill the b----." That same neighbor went outside and saw Hittle, with a long barreled gun in his hand, leave in his red Chevy pickup truck.

At about 11:10 p.m., Officer Gerald Walker saw Hittle's truck speeding down the road and pulled Hittle over. As Walker approached Hittle's pickup, Hittle shot him once in the chest. Hittle then drove to Mary Goss' house.

At about 11:25 p.m., Mary Goss' neighbor heard four gunshots. Around 11:45 p.m., Tammy Goss returned to Mary's apartment and found the bodies of Rick Cook, Scott Gregg and Mary Goss. Four-year-old Christy Condon was found gurgling in her own blood. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced brain dead two days later. All four people had been killed by Hittle.

Hittle was finally arrested after a chase and gunfight between Hittle and police officers.

He was charged with multiple counts of capital murder, but was only tried for the murder of Officer Walker.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

At the punishment phase of Hittle's trial, evidence emerged that:

  • Hittle killed his adoptive parents in Minnesota because their dog scratched his truck. Hittle showed little or no remorse for their deaths. He was on parole for murdering his parents at the time of his killing spree in 1989.
  • Hittle told a friend that killing people was not that exciting, or just not that big of a deal to him.
  • The police officer who arrested Hittle for the murders of his parents recalled that Hittle had threatened him when he arrested Hittle several months earlier; Hittle said to him, "I will remember you when we meet again." Hittle had threatened police officers on at least two other occasions as well.
  • Hittle was abusive to his first wife; he pointed a loaded shotgun at her when she refused to turn over his car keys, and then struck her one-year old daughter in the face. Hittle once gave the daughter a monkey doll, then one day took it away from her and tied it over her playpen in a hangman's noose. On another occasion, Hittle beat his first wife after she became upset over Hittle informing her he was unfaithful. Hittle brought her daughter in to watch the beating, and told her to say goodbye to her mom; then Hittle began choking his wife with so much force she saw spots.
  • Hittle was physically and emotionally abusive towards his second wife as well. The day of a wedding shower for them, he hit her when she didn't clean up the pieces of a mirror he broke. Hittle also once shot out her tire, and he kicked her in the stomach when she was pregnant and past her due date. Hittle slapped his second wife's baby daughter across the face when she wouldn't stop crying, and he failed to support the two of them financially; instead, he spent his disability pension on alcohol.
  • On another occasion, Hittle tied his parents' dog against a tree, shot it, and left it hanging there; he then fired another shot into the side of the house, tearing a hole in it, and laughingly said he had "air-conditioned" the structure. During high school, Hittle killed a neighbor's dog by beating it to death with a club, because it would not stop barking one night.
  • During Hittle's prison sentence in Minnesota, he was written up for a series of disciplinary violations; including: possession of a knife, two instances of possession of contraband and drug paraphernalia, disobeying a direct order and interfering with a shakedown, possession of marijuana, interfering with a correctional officer, disorderly conduct, possession of contraband drugs and paraphernalia again, refusing to comply with an order while already in segregation, inciting other inmates to riot, destruction of property while already in segregation, disobeying a direct order and being verbally abusive (again, while already in segregation), arson, use of intoxicants, possession of drugs and/or paraphernalia again, and fighting with another inmate.

APPEALS

To date, eight courts, both state and federal, have reviewed Hittle's case and rejected his appeals. The United States Supreme Court is currently reviewing Hittle's latest appeals.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS

12/07/2000 Claude Howard Jones (San Jacinto County)
01/09/2001 Jack Wade Clark (Lubbock County)
01/18/2001 Alvin Goodwin (Montgomery County)
01/22/2001 Steven Anthony Butler (Harris County)
04/03/2001 Jason Eric Massey (Ellis County) MISCELLANEOUS If this execution is carried out, it will be the 238th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 74th 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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