One Slated, One Stayed
Rick Perry's death tally notches another this week
On the eve of the state's 482nd execution since reinstatement of the death penalty, a federal court on April 24 issued a stay for Beunka Adams, who was slated to be executed tonight. Adams was convicted of the robbery and murder of Kenneth Wayne Vandever in 2002. Adams and co-defendant Richard Cobb were convicted of robbing a Rusk convenience store and then kidnapping Vandever and two female clerks. The pair then reportedly drove the three to a field, sexually assaulted one of the women and shot all three; the women survived, but Vandever did not. Adams has lamented his involvement in the robbery – "Due to financial burdans [sic], confusion, and drug abuse ... I ended up getting into something I deeply regret," he wrote in 2004 – but has also written online that he was not the triggerman. Adams alleges that although Cobb confessed to shooting the trio, that information was suppressed during his trial. Both men were given the death penalty. Cobb is still on death row. A federal judge in Texarkana stayed Adams' execution reportedly in order to give the court an opportunity to consider whether Adams received ineffective assistance of counsel during the early stages of his appeal.
Also scheduled to die, on May 2, is Anthony Bartee, even though advocates say further DNA testing is needed in his case. Bartee was slated to be executed earlier this year, but he was given a reprieve so that never-before-tested DNA evidence could be analyzed. He was sentenced to die for the 1996 murder in San Antonio of his friend David Cook. According to the state, Bartee shot the 37-year-old in the head and neck and then fled the scene on Cook's motorcycle. Reportedly Bartee has maintained his innocence; he was with Cook at the time of the crime but was not the doer. His previous date with death was cancelled so that hairs found clutched in Cook's hand could be tested; now, however, the Texas Coalition To Abolish the Death Penalty reports that although that testing is not yet completed, state District Judge Mary Román has issued a new death warrant for next week.