Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Monday, January 28, 2002

MEDIA ADVISORY

Windell Broussard Scheduled to be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Windell Broussard, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2002.

On June 29, 1993 Windell Broussard was sentenced for the capital murder of Dianna Broussard and Corey Harris which occurred in Port Arthur, Texas, on April 24, 1992. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

Tocarra Harris, Broussard's nine-year-old stepdaughter, testified that she was sleeping in the same bed with her mother, Dianna Broussard, and her then nine-year-old brother, Corey Harris, when she awoke to the sound of screaming in their Port Arthur, Texas, home. She said the screams were coming from her mother and brother and that they were being stabbed by Broussard. Broussard then began to stab Tocarra. She heard her mother and brother scream, "Windell, stop." Tocarra also testified that one side of her assailant's face was illuminated by the bathroom light. She recognized Windell Broussard. She said he continued to stab her as her mother and brother ran out of the house.

At trial, Dianna Broussard's mother testified that Dianna separated from Broussard because he beat her. Dianna's uncle, Elton Harris, testified that a week before the killings he witnessed an argument between Dianna and Broussard's girlfriend. When Broussard arrived on the scene, Dianna told him to leave. Broussard's response was that "before he would leave her he'd rather see her dead before anybody else would have her again." Elton Harris also testified that at Dianna's request, he installed a new padlock on her door. He said she lost the key, and he saw Broussard in her house one week before the murders.

Broussard's friend Cornell Bush testified that Broussard asked him to drive him to his wife's house on the night of the murders. He said something was "going on" between them and that Broussard "wanted to see if she was with some guy or something like that." On the way there, Broussard offered Bush money to use his car, which had dark tinted windows. Bush refused, and after driving past the victims' house, Bush and Broussard returned to Bush's house. Broussard eventually left in his company truck at 9 or 9:30 p.m.

Broussard's aunt testified that at 11 or 11:30 p.m. on the night of the murders, Broussard came home wearing only his underwear. She said he "rushed in like something happened" and jumped up and down saying, "I did something." When she asked him, "Did you kill somebody?" Broussard said, "Yes, I killed somebody."

A Port Arthur Police crime scene technician testified that Dianna and Corey were found lying in the yard, and that there was blood all over the house. The pathologist who examined the bodies found that each victim died from a stab wound to the heart. He testified that they could have lived for five to 10 minutes after the wounds were inflicted. Officer Jimmy Clark testified that when he arrived at the scene around 11 or 11:30 p.m., "a little bloody girl" (Tocarra Harris) was sitting just inside the door. A pack of Kool cigarettes, the brand Broussard smoked, was found on the bed along with the missing key to Dianna Harris' padlock. A cap bearing the logo of Broussard's employer was also found at the scene.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

April 8, 1993 - A grand jury indicted Broussard in the 252nd District Court of Jefferson County, Texas, for the capital offense of murdering Dianna Broussard and Corey Harris during the same criminal transaction.

June 28, 1993 - Although Broussard entered a plea of not guilty, a jury found him guilty of capital murder.

June 29, 1993 - Following a separate punishment hearing, the court assessed a sentence of death.

October 25, 1995 - His conviction and sentence were automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed in a published opinion.

December 6, 1995 - The Court of Criminal Appeals denied rehearing.

October 7, 1996 - The United States Supreme Court denied his petition for writ of certiorari.

August 19, 1997 - Broussard filed an application for writ of habeas corpus in the trial court.

September 14, 1998 - The state court conducted an evidentiary hearing and entered findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending the denial of habeas relief.

December 2, 1998 - The Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the findings and conclusions and denied habeas relief in an unpublished order.

February 26, 1999 - Broussard filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

February 17, 2000 - The federal district court denied habeas relief.

March 10, 2000 - Broussard sought the appointment of a new attorney and rehearing of his petition because his original federal habeas lawyer did not file a response to a particular pleading.

March 16, 2000 - The district court appointed a new attorney for Broussard, but denied the motion for rehearing.

August 29, 2000 - The federal court denied permission to appeal.

April 27, 2001 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied permission to appeal.

June 6, 2001 - The Court of Appeals declined to rehear the case. Broussard's petition for writ of certiorari is pending in the Supreme Court.

January 14, 2002 - The Court of Criminal Appeals declined to stay Broussard's execution pending the appeal of the trial court's denial of DNA testing.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

The evidence at Broussard's trial revealed a long history of criminal violence. In 1979, after pleading guilty to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery, Broussard was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In 1987, Broussard pleaded guilty and was convicted of assault and sentenced to 180 days in jail. Broussard was convicted again in 1990 of robbery and sentenced to nine and one-half years in prison. In 1991, he received a sentence of 20 days for hitting Dianna Broussard in the face with his fist. Dianna's mother testified that Dianna was seeking a divorce because Broussard beat her. Broussard was on parole at the time he murdered his wife and son.

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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