Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, Sept. 23, 2002

MEDIA ADVISORY

Calvin King Scheduled to be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Calvin King, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2002.

On June 23, 1995, Calvin King was sentenced to death for the capital murder of 21-year-old Billy Wayne Ezell, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit robbery, which occurred in Beaumont, Texas, on Feb. 25, 1994. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

On Feb. 25, 1994, at 10 p.m., Calvin King, Leonard Johnson, Danyell Williams (King's girlfriend), and Carlette Gibbs met at Room 38 of the Cedar Sands Motel in Beaumont, Texas, which had been rented earlier in the day by King. King, Johnson, Williams, and Gibbs, who was pregnant at the time, spent the evening smoking crack cocaine in the room. King was also selling and buying crack throughout the course of the evening.

After being called by either Johnson or King, Billy Wayne Ezell came to the room several times to sell crack to the occupants. Ezell took Johnson to the store to buy beer and cigarettes and then returned to the room to sell the group crack. When Ezell came to the room, he took a large roll of money out of his pocket, which was seen by everyone in the room. Ezell then sold King $60 worth of crack and left.

King and Johnson sent Williams and Gibbs home in a cab at about 4 a.m., telling them that they were going to sell the crack they had just bought and that the women needed to leave.

Kenneth Goodwin and Angelita Williams, friends of Ezell's, were staying in Room 26 of the Cedar Sands Motel, below and adjacent to Room 38. Goodwin was also a friend of Johnson and Gibbs, and he knew King. Just before dawn, Ezell went to Goodwin's room. King then knocked on the door and asked Ezell to come upstairs. Ezell left Goodwin's room for Room 38.

Some time later, Goodwin noticed that Ezell's car was still in the parking lot and he was curious why Ezell would still be there. Ezell's girlfriend called Goodwin's room about the same time, asking Goodwin to tell Ezell to come home. Goodwin called Ezell's pager, and after receiving no response, Goodwin went to Room 38 and knocked on the door, but no one responded. Goodwin went back downstairs and saw a woman from the front office checking the rooms, walking in the direction of Room 38. After returning to his room, Goodwin told Angelita that no one had responded in Room 38.

Ezell's body was found in Room 38 lying face down, partially covered with a blanket and nude from the waist down. A broken lamp lay next to him, and the cord from the lamp was wrapped around his neck. The room was in disarray, as though a fight had occurred.

Ezell had sustained multiple blunt force injuries to both sides of his head, and stabbing and cutting wounds to his head, face, throat, chest, and back, two of which severed his internal jugular vein and pulmonary artery. His diaphragm was also punctured. Additionally, both of his arms and hands had numerous defensive wounds. In all, Ezell suffered 37 major stab wounds and sustained extensive damage to the head caused by a blunt object. With regard to the quantity and severity of the injuries, Dr. Elizabeth Peacock, who performed the autopsy on Ezell, stated that "this is a case that we would commonly refer to as overkill."

When King and Johnson arrived at the home of Williams and Gibbs that morning, King had blood on his shirt. King, although not injured, appeared to have been in a fight, but Johnson did not. After smoking crack with Williams, King and Johnson produced a roll of money covered in blood. King then set about washing the blood off of the money and drying it in the oven. Johnson woke up Gibbs, crying and telling her he "didn't do it." Gibbs then went upstairs and observed that King was in possession of a large amount of crack and that there was "money everywhere" drying.

According to Billy Hickman, who also lived in the house with Danyell Williams, King and Johnson were watching a news report about the killing at the Cedar Sands, and King stated, "I done kill and I'll kill again."

Later, King told Gibbs that he had killed Ezell, stating, "I'm the one kill him (sic). I'm the one that hit him over the head with a lamp, put a cord around his neck and slice (sic) his throat."

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On March 31, 1994, King was indicted in the Criminal District Court of Jefferson County, Texas, for the capital offense of murdering Billy Wayne Ezell while in the course of committing and attempting to commit robbery. After King pleaded not guilty, a jury found him guilty of the capital offense on June 22, 1995. On June 23, 1995, after a separate punishment hearing, the court assessed King's punishment at death.

King's conviction and sentence were automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed in a published opinion on Sept. 24, 1997. King did not petition the Supreme Court of the United States for writ of certiorari.

King then filed a state application for writ of habeas corpus in the trial court on March 16, 1998. The trial court subsequently entered findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that King's application be denied. The Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the findings and conclusions of the trial court and denied the application in an unpublished order on Feb. 17, 1999.

King then filed a federal habeas petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division, on Oct. 15, 1999. The federal district court denied habeas relief on Feb. 6, 2001, and denied King permission to appeal on May 11, 2001. King then sought permission to appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. That court denied King permission to appeal on Feb. 26, 2002. King subsequently petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari review. The petition is currently pending before the Court.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

During trial, the State proved that King had three prior convictions for theft and one for burglary of a habitation, all in Dallas County, Texas. On April 2, 1982, King received probation for his first theft offense. On July 30, 1982, King was convicted of his second theft offense, his probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Following his release on parole, King was convicted of his third theft offense and, on Aug. 20, 1986, was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment. On March 22, 1989, King was convicted of burglary of a habitation and sentenced as an habitual offender to 25 years imprisonment.

MISCELLANEOUS

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

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