Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Friday, January 26, 2001

MEDIA ADVISORY

Caruthers Alexander Scheduled To Be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Caruthers Alexander who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Monday, January 29th.

On April 26, 1989, Alexander was convicted of murdering Lori Bruch in San Antonio, Texas, during the course of an aggravated rape. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

On the evening of April 22, 1981, Lori Bruch, a 19-year-old, married, mother of a two-year-old child, went to her job as a waitress at a nightclub in San Antonio. After the nightclub closed for business, she and several other employees ate at a nearby restaurant. Bruch left the restaurant alone at approximately 4 a.m. Approximately 20 minutes later, Bruch's damaged vehicle was found abandoned in a rain-swollen, low water crossing, with her handbag still in the front seat. The right rear bumper and tail light of her vehicle had been damaged, and despite the heavy rains, the windows of her vehicle were open. There appeared to be white paint on the back of her vehicle where it had been damaged.

At approximately 6:30 a.m. that same morning, two witnesses noticed a large white van parked on a street in San Antonio. Both witnesses noticed writing on the side of the van. The writing on the van appeared to consist of two lines of blue letters; the first line started with an "A" or "AB" and the second line began with either "medic" or "medical."

Approximately 15 minutes later, two elementary school children arriving for class saw the nude, lifeless body of Lori Bruch laying in the street, a short distance from where the two witnesses had spotted the white van just moments before. Bruch's wrists and ankles were secured by rope, a gag was stuffed into her mouth and a piece of cloth was wrapped around her head to secure the gag. Another piece of rope was wound tightly around her neck. Bruch's jewelry, including her wedding and engagement rings, another gold ring, and one earring, remained on her body.

An autopsy revealed that Bruch had (1) sustained a superficial stab wound to the right side of her neck, (2) suffered an abrasion to her right cheek and a scratch near her right eye, (3) suffered rope burns to her wrists, ankles, and neck, and bruising to the back of her neck, (4) recently engaged in sexual intercourse, probably within two to three hours prior to her death, (5) died within 30 to 90 minutes after finishing her last meal, and (6) died of ligature strangulation. A foreign hair fragment was found on her body.

Law enforcement officers quickly located a white delivery van owned by Abbey Medical that matched the description given by the two witnesses. There was evidence of a recent collision on the front bumper of the van, including paint on the bumper that matched the paint on Bruch's vehicle. The van was assigned to Caruthers Alexander. Alexander told his employer and police officers that he had taken the van home with him on the night of Bruch's murder. Under questioning by his employer and the police, Alexander stated that he did not know how the van had been damaged but insisted that no one else could have had access to the van on the night of Bruch's murder. The damage to Bruch's vehicle began 18 inches above the ground, and the bottom of the front bumper of the white Abbey Medical van measured that same distance from the ground. When confronted by homicide detectives at his place of employment just days after Bruch's murder, Alexander appeared to those present to be either "shocked," "startled," or "anguished."

A search of the interior of the van and analysis of the items discovered therein revealed that (1) a spot of blood on the floor of the van matched the blood type of both Alexander and Bruch, (2) blood found on a moving pad inside the van matched Bruch's blood type and all of the enzyme groups found in Bruch's blood, (3) the combination of blood and enzyme types found in Bruch's blood occurred in only one percent of the population, (4) an earring found inside the van matched the one earring still worn on Bruch when her body was discovered, (5) a woven belt found inside the van belonged to Bruch, and (6) there was no evidence the van had been hot-wired or tampered with. When advised by law enforcement officers that Bruch's missing earring had been discovered inside the van, Alexander became physically ill.

DNA TESTING

Attempts in 1988 to conduct analysis of DNA from the semen stains on the moving pad found inside the van were fruitless because there was insufficient DNA from those stains to permit comparison with known sources. In July 2000, the state trial court ordered, by agreement of the parties, that DNA testing be conducted on the foreign hair fragment recovered from Bruch's pubic region. On December 27, 2000, the Department of Defense Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, issued a report concluding that the DNA sequence of the recovered hair fragment was consistent with the DNA sequence of Alexander.

APPEALS TIME-LINE

  • June 1981 - Alexander was charged by indictment in the 186th District Court of Bexar County, Texas, with the capital murder of Lori Bruch in the course of committing and attempting to commit aggravated rape.
  • October 7, 1987 - After Alexander had been found guilty of capital murder by a jury and sentenced to death, Alexander's conviction and sentence were reversed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and a new trial was ordered. The reversal was based on evidentiary error during the State's questioning of Alexander when he testified at his first trial.
  • April 26, 1989 - The second jury also found him guilty of the capital offense. Following a separate punishment hearing, the jury answered affirmatively the two special sentencing issues submitted pursuant to state law. In accordance with state law, the trial court assessed Alexander's punishment as death.
  • Alexander's conviction and sentence were appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed on April 28, 1993, and denied rehearing on September 29, 1993.
  • May 16, 1994 - The United States Supreme Court denied Alexander's petition for writ of certiorari.
  • Alexander filed an application for state writ of habeas corpus, which was denied by the Court of Criminal Appeals on November 26, 1997.
  • July 1, 1998 - Alexander filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division.
  • November 30, 1990 - The district court entered final judgment denying Alexander's federal habeas petition. The district court also denied Alexander permission to appeal.
  • May 5, 2000 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit similarly denied permission to appeal.
  • Alexander filed another application for state writ of habeas corpus, which was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeals as an abuse of the writ on September 13, 2000.
  • October 2, 2000 - The United States Supreme Court denied Alexander permission to file an out-of-time petition for writ of certiorari regarding his federal habeas petition.
  • January 26, 2001 - No litigation is pending as of this publication.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

At the punishment phase of trial, the state introduced evidence which showed that Alexander had been convicted and sentenced to prison for two felony convictions: arson and involuntary manslaughter.

MISCELLANEOUS

For additional information and statistics, please log on to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees at (512) 463-2050.
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