Monday, October 15, 2012
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals described the murder of Officer Kincaid as follows:
The record reflects that on the night of the offense, Sergeant Kincaid and his wife were leaving home in their Jeep Cherokee. They were apparently several blocks outside the Houston city limits when they passed Haynes’s vehicle and something hit and cracked the Kincaids’ windshield on the driver’s side. Sergeant Kincaid turned his vehicle around to investigate the incident, thinking that a rock had been thrown at his windshield. In fact, Haynes had fired a shot at the Kincaids’ vehicle. Haynes turned his own vehicle around and parked next to the Kincaids’ Jeep. Sergeant Kincaid got out and approached Haynes’s truck. Sergeant Kincaid calmly told Haynes, You hit my window. Haynes said, I accidentally threw something at your window. Sergeant Kincaid replied, I am a police officer. Let’s talk about it. As he asked to see Haynes’s driver’s license, Kincaid reached toward his back pocket, presumably for his police identification. At that instant Haynes shot Kincaid. Sergeant Kincaid was declared brain-dead upon arriving at Hermann Hospital. His organs were harvested for transplantation, and he was declared dead shortly after 3:00 a.m. on May 23, 1998. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
The record establishes that Sergeant Kincaid was a Houston police officer and that he was off-duty at the time of his death. Assistant Police Chief Jeraldine Stewart testified that department policies require both on-duty and off-duty officers to take prompt and effective police action for any violation of law committed in their presence. According to Stewart, when an off-duty officer takes such action, he is considered to be discharging his official duty. Stewart testified that Houston police officers are authorized to investigate any offense threatening the public safety outside the City of Houston. Stewart testified that she had reviewed the police report and determined that Sergeant Kincaid had been performing an official duty when he stopped Haynes.
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On the night of the offense, Haynes committed a string of armed robberies before he murdered Sergeant Kincaid. Under the pretense of asking for directions, Haynes would call a victim over to his vehicle and then point a gun at him, demanding his wallet. In this manner, Haynes approached three victims immediately before killing Sergeant Kincaid. Haynes then fired his gun out of his vehicle while passing the Kincaids. Haynes admitted that he shot Sergeant Kincaid because he was a police officer and, showing no remorse, bragged to friends that he had killed a police officer. Haynes also told people that he should have killed Nancy Kincaid, so that there would have been no witness to the murder.
On July 22, 1998, Haynes was indicted in the 263rd District Court of Harris County, Texas, for the capital murder of Officer Kent Kincaid. Because Haynes was charged with murdering a peace officer in the lawful discharge of an official duty, he was indicted for capital murder.
On September 17, 1999, Haynes was found guilty by a jury for the offense of capital murder as charged in the indictment.
On September 24, 1999, following a separate punishment hearing, Haynes was sentenced to death.
On October 10, 2001, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Haynes’s direct appeal and affirmed his conviction and sentence.
On April 15, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Haynes1’s direct appeal when it denied his petition for writ of certiorari.
On October 6, 2004, the Court of Criminal Appeals ultimately adopted the trial court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that Haynes’s state application for habeas relief, filed in February 2001, be denied.
On October 5, 2005, Haynes attempted to appeal his conviction and sentence by filing a petition for federal habeas relief in the federal district court for the Southern District of Texas.
On January 25, 2007, the federal district court denied Haynes the relief requested in his federal habeas petition, and also denied a Certificate of Appealability (COA).
On April 23, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted Haynes a COA on the issue of whether the State peremptorily struck potential jurors in a racially discriminatory manner.
On March 10, 2009, after additional briefing and oral argument, the Fifth Circuit granted Haynes habeas corpus relief.
On June 2, 2009, the Fifth Circuit rejected the State’s petition for rehearing en banc.
On August 31, 2009, the State appealed the Fifth Circuit’s grant of relief to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a writ of certiorari.
On February 22, 2010, in a per curiam opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the State’s petition for certiorari, reversed the Fifth Circuit’s grant of relief, and remanded back to the Fifth Circuit for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.
On August 19, 2011, on remand, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s original denial of habeas corpus relief.
On April 23, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Haynes’s appeal of the Fifth Circuit’s decision when it denied his application for writ of certiorari.
On June 28, 2012, the trial court issued an order setting Haynes’s execution date for Thursday, October 18, 2012.
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 with information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.
During the punishment phase of Haynes’s trial, jurors learned about the string of armed robberies Haynes and two other accomplices committed immediately prior to his murdering Sergeant Kincaid. Haynes’s confession to Kincaid’s murder as well as to the three aggravated robberies he committed just prior to shooting Kincaid were played for the jury. The jury also heard testimony from two of the three robbery victims. The first victim testified that he was outside of his house with his ex-wife and their daughter when the driver of a dark Chevy S-10 truck pulled up and asked for directions. The driver then pointed a gun at him and said, One more thing. Give me your wallet. The victim then identified photos of Haynes’s truck as being similar to the truck used to rob him, and testified that the tattoo on Haynes’s right shoulder is the same or similar tattoo that the driver of the truck had on his right shoulder. The other robbery victim then testified that, while he was visiting a friend, a truck pulled up next to him and asked for directions. As he walked over to the truck he heard the sound of a gun being loaded followed by the driver pointing a gun at him and saying, Give me all of your money. The victim was able to describe the driver as a black male, age 17-18, skinny, with short hair, and identified photos of Haynes’s truck as being the same or similar to the truck used to rob him.
The State also introduced evidence concerning Haynes’s explosive temper. While in high school in November 1996, Haynes became so upset and disruptive after an exam that his ROTC instructor had to call the campus police to escort Haynes away because the instructor was concerned about the safety of students as well as himself. Haynes had previously confided to the instructor that he held a gun to his father’s head during an argument. Haynes also had another outburst in the school nurse’s office where he threatened to hit someone with a phone, repeatedly yelled at police officers to leave him alone, and stated to one of the officers, I could kill you.
Additionally, jurors learned that Haynes had been seen by a clinic on three separate occasions for rage and anger issues, and was admitted to West Oaks Hospital in November 1996 for intermittent explosive disorder and cannabis dependence. The records indicated that Haynes had assaulted his three-year-old sister and tried to kill the family dog, and while at the hospital attacked a staff member with a shower curtain rod. Testimony further elaborated that on several occasions during his brief stay in the hospital, Haynes had anger outbursts where he kicked walls and yelled profanities, and often threatened to kill the hospital staff and blow them all away with his gun.
For additional information and statistics, go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website at www.tdcj.state.tx.us.