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Texas Schedules Busy 2009 Execution Calendar
Man convicted of strangling stepmother executed
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
Jan. 22, 2009, 7:20PM
â€” A convicted rapist and suspected serial killer was executed Thursday evening for strangling and robbing his stepmother in Fort Worth more than eight years ago.
Asked by the warden if he would like to make a statement, Reginald Perkins responded, â€śI already made my statement. Appreciate it. Love yâ€™all.â€ť
About an hour before he was executed, Perkins had summoned a prison official to his cell and gave him a statement professing his innocence.
â€śThey didnâ€™t link me to nothing. I did not kill my stepmom,â€ť he said. â€śI loved her. Texas is going to kill an innocent man.â€ť
On the other deaths, Perkins said, â€śThereâ€™s other suspects they questioned besides me. They let them go. I donâ€™t know what theyâ€™re talking about. I canâ€™t tell you who killed them. I ainâ€™t killed nobody. Iâ€™ve never killed.â€ť
As the drugs were being administered, he said, â€śI can feel it going in.â€ť Just before the drugs took effect, he looked at the sister of his victim and told her he loved her.
He was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m., eight minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow.
â€śI think he waited a little bit too late to tell me that he loved me,â€ť Barbara Ward, the victimâ€™s sister, said. She also said if Perkins insisted he was innocent, â€śHe should have told who did it.â€ť
â€śAll the evidence did lead to him,â€ť Delores Hill, another sister, said.
In a prepared statement, the family said they were grateful for the execution.
â€śGod will deal with him now,â€ť they said. â€śWhat a great state to live in to know justice was served.â€ť
Perkins was the second convicted killer executed in as many days and the third this year in the nationâ€™s most active death penalty state. Another three inmates are scheduled to die next week.
His appeals had been exhausted, said Perkinsâ€™ lawyer, William Harris. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday unanimously rejected a clemency request that sought to have his sentence commuted to life in prison.
Perkins was condemned for the 2000 slaying of 64-year-old Gertie Perkins, whose body was found stuffed in the trunk of her Cadillac. He led his father and police to his stepmotherâ€™s body. Like his statement Thursday, he denied last week from death row any involvement in her killing and five other murders authorities believe he committed in Fort Worth and Cleveland, Ohio, during the relatively brief times over a 20-year period when he wasnâ€™t in prison.
â€śHeâ€™s a consummate liar and a con artist,â€ť Kevin Rousseau, the Tarrant County district attorney, who prosecuted Perkins, said. â€śI wouldnâ€™t believe anything he said. Heâ€™s a serial killer. People look for more complicated rationale. But the bottom line is, heâ€™s a killer. He goes through quite a bit of trouble to kill folks.â€ť
Perkins pleaded guilty to the 1980 rape and attempted rape of two 12-year-old girls in Ohio and was sentenced to life in prison. Authorities suspected but couldnâ€™t get enough evidence to charge him with the 1980 strangling of Paula Nelson at her Cleveland home. Perkins was living with the victimâ€™s twin sister and later married her. He was suspected of the 1981 strangling of Jenny Morman, 43, at her Cleveland apartment, and the strangling three weeks later of Jerry Thomas, whose daughter he was convicted of trying to rape.
In 1988, he was paroled and moved to Fort Worth. A DNA database tied Perkins last year to the 1991 stranglings in Fort Worth of Shirley Douglas, 44, and her aunt, Hattie Wilson, 79. Police said Perkins had dated Wilsonâ€™s granddaughter.
A parole violation returned him to Ohio in 1993 and remained in prison until 2000, when he was paroled again and returned again to Fort Worth. His stepmotherâ€™s slaying occurred 10 months later.
Evidence at his trial showed Perkins pawned her wedding ring and wrote fraudulent checks from the account of the family trucking business in Fort Worth. He became a suspect after detectives learned of his previous convictions in Ohio for rape and attempted rape and that he had been a suspect in the Cleveland slayings. A Tarrant County jury in 2002 deliberated 30 minutes before deciding he should die.
From death row last week, he denied pawning his stepmotherâ€™s ring, saying although his driverâ€™s license was used to verify the transaction, the license had been lost and he wasnâ€™t the person using it. He said he was framed, that the rape victims in the Ohio cases lied and that he pleaded guilty to the rape charges because of bad advice from a lawyer.
â€śLies and false testimony,â€ť he insisted. â€śI ainâ€™t never hurt a person in my life.â€ť
Wednesday night, condemned inmate Frank Moore, 47, received lethal injection for the fatal shootings of Samuel Boyd, 23, and Patrick Clark, 15, outside a bar in San Antonio 15 years ago.
Next week, Larry Swearingen, 37, is set to die Tuesday â€” the first of three executions on consecutive evenings in Huntsville â€” for the 1998 abduction and slaying of Melissa Trotter, a 19-year-old college student from Montgomery County near Houston.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address