Took way too long - but finally got what he was due.
This is a discussion on 24 years too long within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Convicted killer Gary Johnson was executed Tuesday for fatally shooting a ranch foreman and another man who interrupted his burglary of a ...
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Convicted killer Gary Johnson was executed Tuesday for fatally shooting a ranch foreman and another man who interrupted his burglary of a southeast Texas ranch nearly 24 years ago.
Johnson, 59, was the second inmate to receive lethal injection this year in the state that executes the most prisoners. At least six others have execution dates scheduled for the coming months.
He was condemned for the April 1986 slayings of James Hazelton, 28, and Hazelton's brother-in-law, Peter Sparagana, 23. The two were gunned down while investigating a call from a neighbor who reported intruders had driven through a chained gate at the Triple Creek Ranch about 10 miles west of Huntsville.
It took about two years for investigators to assemble their case against Johnson, who once worked at the ranch, and his brother, Terry. The brothers became suspects after the neighbor who saw men drive into the ranch described distinctive brake lights on their truck.
Terry Johnson, 62, took a plea deal with a 99-year prison term. Gary Johnson went to trial on capital murder charges, was convicted and sentenced to death.
"This was not their first nighttime burglary," recalled Frank Blazek, the prosecutor at Johnson's trial. "They knew the various pastures and that was part of a pattern they had."
Hazelton and Sparagana discovered Terry Johnson but didn't see his brother, who opened fire with a .44-caliber Magnum pistol and shot Sparagana, according to evidence and statements from Terry Johnson. Hazelton tried to run but was caught by Gary Johnson, who once worked for him.
"He put the gun in Hazelton's mouth," Blazek said. "Hazelton begged for his life and people across the way, in the nearby pasture, couldn't see all this but could hear a man begging for his life."
Shannon Ferguson, the neighbor who called Hazelton about the suspicious truck entering the ranch, and her husband were in a pasture tending to a horse about to give birth.
She said last week she's always "felt kind of responsible" for the two men being murdered because they wouldn't have investigated if she hadn't called. But Ferguson also believes if she ignored the Johnson brothers' suspicious activity, "I think they probably would have gone on and murdered more people."
The murder weapon was recovered at the home of another Johnson brother in Union, Mo.
Johnson declined to speak with reporters in the weeks preceding his scheduled execution. Before arriving on death row, he had no previous prison record. Trial testimony showed that in 1972, in his native Missouri, he paid $150 in restitution to a man whose dog he shot and killed. The dog's owner was a few feet away at the time.
Blazek said investigators found the same slogan etched in concrete outside Johnson's home and on a T-shirt he was wearing in a photograph: "Kill them all and let God sort them out."
"It indicated a callousness about human life," he said.
Earlier in the day, Johnson's lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his execution, saying he was nearly blind, in poor health and posed no danger to society if he was spared from the death chamber. The court rejected their plea.
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
Took way too long - but finally got what he was due.
For God, Family and Country!
I think the sorting is done, and 24 years too late."Kill them all and let God sort them out."
Yup. The essence of keeping your eyes open, basing your actions off preparing for the worst that could happen, doing what you can. Didn't stop this murder from happening, but it undoubtedly stopped future murders.the neighbor who called Hazelton about the suspicious truck entering the ranch ... said last week [she] believes if she ignored the Johnson brothers' suspicious activity, "I think they probably would have gone on and murdered more people."That's a fairly simple indication of why you don't post such things as bumper stickers, signs or other communication to others, 'cause it can't possibly help your case.investigators found the same slogan etched in concrete outside Johnson's home and on a T-shirt he was wearing in a photograph: "Kill them all and let God sort them out."
"It indicated a callousness about human life," [the old prosecutor] said.The Court strikes me as fairly intelligent. But then, it's Texas. The idiot wasn't being executed because he was a threat, as his charge-by-the-hour attorneys implied. He was being executed because of punishment for what he had done. Since that heinous crime and the loss of life couldn't be swept away with the wave of a hand, neither should the fool's execution order. It may seem to some to be an eye for an eye, but IMO a society that cannot clear the streets of its legitimate trash and dung isn't seeing clearly.Earlier in the day, Johnson's lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his execution, saying he was nearly blind, in poor health and posed no danger to society if he was spared from the death chamber. The court rejected their plea.
Statistics show that the death penalty stops repeat offenders 100% of the time...
(It certainly shouldn't wait 24 years to do so...)
Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
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Easy to like Texas. They just aren't doing it fast enough in my opinion.
What took so long to rid the earth of this monster?
I've seen that phrase here as someones sig line.
For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the son of man be. Mathew 24:27
24 years? Are you sure he wasn't California?
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The problem I have with this is he survived his victims by 24 years. Justice delayed is justice denied.
True that 24 years after taking the life of two people is too long not to be punished, but they did it.
They took him to be executed, he got the needle stuck in his arm and he died.
Of course, he feared death. Most of those who do these types of crime care little about anything except their life and what it's worth. That is why the appeal process was so long, he wanted to try to wear down the system and actually get his death sentence commuted to life in prison.
Too bad. He chose to kill and now the punishement for that has been meted out.
Ohio (state across the river from me) has also recently executed two killers years after their crime, but they are executing them.
"A Smith & Wesson always beats 4 aces!"
The Man Prayer. "Im a man, I can change, if I have to.....I guess!" ~ Red Green
I wish our state would "Get it ". Our death penalty statute was found unconstitutional in 1993-1994, and the legislature did not rewrite and pass a new one. This was because some were pushing NO Death Penalty. In the time between now and then, we've had several murders that were really bad and people are angry that these guys know they can't get the death penalty.
Most of us in this state, would like to see more than a few of these on death row meet up with a rope and a gallows. We have had a "liberal" Governor tho.
Too bad it took so long, but good that he met his end.
Who gives a crap?he was nearly blind, in poor health and posed no danger to society if he was spared from the death chamber.
24 years is too long.
I thought Texas had a fast-track to the gas chamber.
I must play the Devils advocate here. Being lock in a cell 23 hours a day, to me at least, would be a living hell. He got 18 years of it if I read this correctly.
I fully agree that he should have been worm food a long time ago but by the same token, he did not live a wonderful life.
The "news media" has ceased being the watch dog of the people and has become the apologist for an irresponsible government.