Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Monday, January 14, 2002

MEDIA ADVISORY

Jermarr Carlos Arnold Scheduled to be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Jermarr Carlos Arnold who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2002.

On Dec. 19, 1990, Jermarr Carlos Arnold was sentenced to death for the capital murder of Christine Sanchez, while committing a robbery in Corpus Christi, Texas, on July 15, 1983. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

On July 15, 1983, a lone gunman robbed the Greenberg Jewelry Store, located in Corpus Christi. The store's clerk, Christine Sanchez, was killed in the robbery by one gunshot to the head. Investigation of the robbery/murder focused on a possible suspect, a "Troy Alexander." Further investigation revealed an eyewitness, Joe Morano. Mr. Morano later testified that he had observed and had a short conversation with a male in the Greenberg Jewelry store after 10:30 a.m., but before 11:00 a.m., on July 15, 1983. Morano later identified a photo of Arnold as the person he had seen in the store.

The investigation into the robbery/murder was delayed for five years because police lacked information to pursue it further. The local district attorney then received a letter from Arnold, who was in a California prison at the time, in which he claimed to have information about the Greenberg Jewelry store robbery/murder and about Troy Alexander. Further investigation revealed that Arnold had written several letters to the news media, namely to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Investigation into the contents of Arnold's letters to the district attorney and the news media resulted in Arnold making various confessions to this crime.

The Texas Rangers interviewed Arnold on Sept. 22, 1988 in the California Men's Colony State Prison where Arnold was serving time for several crimes committed in that state. During the interview, Arnold told the Rangers that he had monitored the store for several days before the robbery. On the morning of the robbery/murder, Arnold said he watched the store as it opened for business. After the man he described as the owner/manager left, he went into the store and told the clerk, Christine Sanchez, that he was interested in purchasing a ring.

Shortly after he entered the store, Arnold recounted that a "young, Spanish" man came in and left five or 10 minutes later. At that point, Arnold brandished a .32-caliber revolver and told Sanchez that this was a robbery and if she didn't give him any problems, she wouldn't get hurt. Sanchez began taking merchandise from the jewelry cases and putting them into a bag that Arnold had tucked into his pants. Once the bag was full, Arnold told her that he wanted cash.

Sanchez walked toward the desk where Arnold believed the cash was stored. According to Arnold, Sanchez grabbed a gun from the desk and attempted to point it at him. He struggled with Sanchez, took the gun away from her, and shot her in the head with it.

Arnold fled the scene in a car that he had parked near the store. He had stolen the car several days earlier from a man at the post office. He drove the car to the railroad tracks where he abandoned it and bought a bus ticket to San Antonio under the name Troy Alexander. Shortly after leaving Texas, Arnold was arrested in California on unrelated armed robbery charges and incarcerated there.

During the punishment phase, the jury heard testimony about Arnold's past criminal history and propensity for dangerousness. Among other crimes, Arnold had committed armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a deadly weapon by a state prisoner, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a concealed weapon, two more counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and another count of possession of a deadly weapon by a state prisoner. Additionally, a Nueces County jail officer testified that while Arnold was being held there, he saw Arnold beating another inmate by using a ball point pen to inflict puncture wounds.

A California prison psychiatrist, Dr. Sheppard, who had daily contact with Arnold in 1987 and 1988, testified that he believed Arnold was one of the most dangerous people he had come across. He also testified that Arnold would be an ongoing threat of physical harm to others, whether outside or inside prison.

After the State closed, Arnold chose to testify, stating that he was satisfied with the jury's decisions, the court's conduct, and the representation of his attorneys. He also made the following statements:

  • That he had committed the murder and deserved to die.
  • That "there are some people that aren't fit to live in society [and] aren't fit to live, and I think I belong in the latter category."
  • "I'm no longer fit to live because I can't live in a moral, law-abiding society."
  • "I think it would be a moral decision for you to make by sentencing me to die."
  • "I have taken a life, so therefore, I deserve to have my own life forfeited."
  • "If [my life is] not taken at this point--if you miss this opportunity, there's a good chance that I will kill again. That's just the way I am."

Arnold also read two poems he had written. When questioned by the State as to why he read poetry, Arnold only responded that everything in the news articles in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times was fair and accurate. When the State attempted a further question, Arnold left the stand.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

August 2, 1990 - Arnold was indicted in the District Court of Nueces County, Texas, for the capital offense of murdering Christine Sanchez in the course of committing the offense of robbery on July 15, 1983.

December 18, 1990 - A jury found Arnold guilty of the capital offense.

December 19, 1990 - Following a separate punishment hearing, the court assessed Arnold's punishment at death.

November 10, 1993 - The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in an unpublished opinion.

October 3, 1994 - Arnold's petition for writ of certiorari in the United State Supreme Court was denied.

December 30, 1996 - Arnold filed an application for writ of habeas corpus in the trial court.

December 13, 1999 - The trial court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that Arnold's application be denied. The Court of Criminal Appeals then adopted the trial court's findings and denied the application in an unpublished order.

February 1, 2000 - Arnold filed a federal habeas petition in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division.

January 12, 2001 - The federal district court denied habeas relief and granted permission to appeal.

August 28, 2001 - The Fifth Circuit affirmed the Federal District Court's decision on appeal. Thereafter, Arnold filed a petition for certiorari in the United State Supreme Court. That petition is currently pending.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

During the trial, the State proved that Arnold had several prior convictions for which he served time in a California prison. In February 1984, Arnold was convicted for robbery in Los Angeles County. While imprisoned in California, he was convicted for possession of a deadly weapon by a state prisoner in 1985, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon by a state prisoner in 1986. In September 1988, Arnold was convicted for possession of a concealed weapon and three counts of assault. Then, in 1990, he was again convicted of possession of a deadly weapon by a state prisoner. Finally, on May 31, 1990, Arnold was convicted of aggravated assault.

MISCELLANEOUS

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

- 30 -


Go to Top