Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive
Tuesday, January 16, 2001
Alvin Goodwin Scheduled To Be Executed
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Alvin Goodwin who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 18th.
Goodwin was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1986 murder of James Douglas Tillerson in Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas. Tillerson was shot to death on or about Nov. 30, 1986, during a robbery.
In confessions to police, Goodwin admitted committing the murder.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
According to Goodwin's confession, between 8 and 10 p.m. on the night of Tillerson's murder, Goodwin and Billy Dan Atkins Sr. drove by Tillerson's trailer. Goodwin and Atkins talked about either getting a loan from Tillerson or robbing him. Goodwin and Atkins then approached Tillerson's trailer. When Tillerson answered the door, Atkins ordered him to sit in a chair and demanded money. Tillerson told them that he did not have any money, but they proceeded to ransack Tillerson's trailer anyway. They found no money, but they took other items and ordered Tillerson to his car. Atkins drove while Goodwin sat in the front seat, pointing a .357 Magnum at Tillerson. When they got to a wooded area, Atkins and Goodwin ordered Tillerson to get out and walk ahead of them. When they reached a dense area of the woods and could not walk any farther, Atkins tried to shoot Tillerson but the gun did not discharge. At that point, Goodwin raised his .357 Magnum and shot Tillerson and he fell to the ground. Goodwin thought he had only grazed Tillerson, so he shot him again. When Goodwin saw blood coming out of Tillerson's head, he and Atkins ran back to the car.
On December 1, 1986, Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies received a report of a theft at Tillerson's trailer house. Tillerson had not reported for work that morning and had not been seen since the previous Sunday.
On January 17, 1987, a body was discovered by trail-riders approximately two and one-half miles from his trailer at the edge of the woods near Fawnmist Road in Montgomery County. At the scene, police officers inspected the body's clothing and tentatively identified the body as Tillerson. The Harris County Assistant Medical Examiner positively identified the body as Tillerson. The examination disclosed that Tillerson had been dead for approximately one month and had died from a gunshot wound to the head. A second wound had been made by a bullet entering Tillerson's right arm, exiting at the forearm.
Goodwin and Atkins were arrested in the state of Iowa on separate charges more than a month after Tillerson's murder. Goodwin gave a full confession on videotape and was extradited to Montgomery County where he was interviewed by officers and later gave a written confession.
Inmate Delbert Burkett testified that while he and Goodwin were being held together in the Montgomery County Jail in January of 1987, an article about the Tillerson murder appeared in the paper. Goodwin read the article and passed the paper to other inmates, saying that he had gone to Tillerson's trailer to steal a government check. Goodwin said that he and an accomplice entered the trailer with guns, forced Tillerson to sit on the couch while they removed objects from the trailer, then took Tillerson into the woods. There, Goodwin shot Tillerson in the arm. Tillerson fell to the ground, pleading and screaming. Goodwin said that he "was tired of him screaming and sniveling," so he shot Tillerson in the head with a .357 pistol. After shooting him, Goodwin and the accomplice left Tillerson in the woods. Burkett heard Goodwin tell this story several different times.
Goodwin had a prior conviction for burglary of a motor vehicle. Also, at the time of his arrest in Iowa, Goodwin and another person had been caught breaking into several cars, houses and garages. As Goodwin ran from Iowa police, he pointed a cocked and loaded pistol at one of the officers. It was later determined that the gun had been stolen from a house in Burlington, Iowa. Additionally, Goodwin burglarized a neighbor's apartment in December of 1986, in Huntsville, Texas.
Several state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have reviewed and rejected Goodwin's appeals.
For additional information and statistics, please log on to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.
- 30 -
Contact Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees at (512) 463-2050.
Go to Top