Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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Media Advisory: Carroll Joe Parr scheduled for execution

AUSTIN – Pursuant to a court order by 54th Judicial District Court of McLennan County, Texas, Carroll Joe Parr is scheduled for execution after 6 p.m. on May 7, 2013.

On May 21, 2004, a McLennan County jury found Parr guilty of capital murder for the killing of Joel Dominguez in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of robbery.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit described Dominguez’s murder as follows:

After purchasing marijuana from Dominguez at the B&G Convenience store in Waco, Texas, Parr returned to the store with his friend, Earl Whiteside , in order to retrieve his money. Both Parr and Whiteside were armed. When they arrived at the store, they forced Dominguez and his friend Mario Chavez to walk to a fenced area beside the store. Parr then pistol-whipped Dominguez and demanded that Dominguez return all his money. After Dominguez complied with Parr’s demand, Parr told Whiteside to “[s]moke ‘em.” Whiteside then shot Chavez in the hand and Parr shot Dominguez in the head, killing him.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. However, once a defendant is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial – which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals described Parr’s criminal history as follows:

At punishment, the State presented evidence showing an escalating pattern of disrespect for the law. [Parr] was convicted of three counts of delivery of cocaine on November 26, 1996, and was placed on probation. On January 8, 1998, [Parr] violated the terms of his probation and was sentenced to two years in state jail. After his release, he was convicted of evading arrest on December 29, 2000, and of possession of marijuana on December 13, 2001. There was evidence that [Parr] had committed a number of violent unadjudicated offenses, including a shooting at a residence in 2002 and an assault in 2003. Also, there was significant evidence regarding his involvement in the unadjudicated murder of Ronnie Zarazua on December 9, 2001.

The State introduced evidence indicating that [Parr] was without regret or remorse for the alleged killing of Zarazua or the murder of Dominguez, and that he expressed a willingness to engage in future violent acts. Whiteside testified that immediately after killing Zarazua, [Parr] returned to the site where he had dumped the body to show it to him. Whiteside claimed that [Parr] told him that he had killed Zarazua because he was supposed to testify against [Parr’s] friend Milton Crosby. He also said that [Parr] did not express any remorse for the killing, stating that he was “keeping it real” for Crosby. [Parr’s girlfriend Dawanna] Harrison also testified that [Parr] drove her to the area where he had shot Zarazua and told her that he did it because Zarazua was going to testify against one of his friends. Similarly, witnesses claimed that after shooting Dominguez, [Parr] did not express remorse and was angry with Whiteside for not killing Chavez because he did not want to leave a witness behind.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A McLennan County grand jury indicted Parr for the offense of capital murder for intentionally and knowingly causing the death of Dominguez in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of robbery.

On May 21, 2004, a jury convicted Parr of capital murder. After the jury recommended capital punishment, the trial court sentenced Parr to death by lethal injection.

On June 7, 2006, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Parr’s sentence. Parr appealed, filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Jan. 8, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review.

On Nov. 22, 2005, Parr filed an application for a state writ of habeas corpus. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied Parr’s application on October 11, 2006.

Parr then appealed his conviction and sentence in federal district court. The Western District of Texas, Waco Division, denied his petition for a federal writ of habeas corpus on March 28, 2011.

On April 30, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the federal district court’s denial of relief. The panel denied rehearing on June 18, 2012.

On Sept. 17, 2012, Parr filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court denied certiorari review on January 7, 2013.

On Feb. 4, 2013, the 54th Judicial District Court of McLennan County scheduled Parr’s execution to take place on May 7, 2013.

MISCELLANEOUS

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