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Monday, June 05, 2006

Execution Alert 6/6/06

Texas has plans to execute Timothy Titsworth, a white male from Randall County, on Tuesday, June 6, at 6pm. CEDP members, along with others, will be gathering in protest behind the governor's mansion on Lavaca Street, in between 10th and 11th Streets, from 5:30-6:30pm. Join us.

Below is a brief statement we've prepared about Timothy:

    Timothy was convicted in October 1993 for the murder of Christine Sossaman, his girlfriend with whom he shared a trailer in Amarillo, TX. He was twenty years old at the time of the crime. According to the report on the TDCJ website, Timothy murdered Christine with an axe while she was sleeping. The couple had a fight earlier that evening. Timothy left, got high on cocaine, then came back home. He killed Christine after he returned home. He then took some of her stuff and left in her car, returning back to the house over the course of the next couple of days to get more of her stuff. Christine was found dead by her mother On July 26, 1992. Timothy was arrested while found driving Christine’s car the same day.

    Timothy was eligible for the death penalty because the crime was officially ruled a robbery-homicide. Timothy supposedly confessed to the murder; however, The NCADP website reports that:

      Soon after being arrested, Titsworth made a confession to the police, describing the events listed above. However, just before the confession, when Titsworth was being booked at the police station, the sheriff’s deputy processing him, Cindy Risley, commented to other officers how intoxicated Titsworth appeared. She testified: “‘[He] would laugh, he’d nod off. I had to wake him up a couple of times during the booking process. He didn’t seem to understand at the time what he was being brought in for.’” Furthermore, “[Risley] recalled that [Titsworth] answered questions as if the victim were still alive.” The prosecutor in the case argued that Titsworth could not have been intoxicated when his confession was made, saying that it fails to fit within the timetable of Titsworth’s drug or alcohol use and arrest. Yet even if this were true, Titsworth clearly seems to have been exhibiting some mental disturbance when he was confessing.


    There are also some issues regarding his legal representation at the time of the trial. The Canadian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has a webpage set up for Timothy where he has written that there was some confusion about who his lawyer was. Timothy says that the original lawyer appointed to him dropped out of the case after six months. No one notified Timothy that this was the case, and so he assumed that his lawyer was just really busy. New lawyers were appointed for Timothy in August 1993, only two months prior to his trial, thus not giving them sufficient time to prepare. Timothy was found guilty and has lost every appeal since. He last appealed to the US Supreme Court, where he was denied a review of his case on January 9 of this year.

    Timothy has only an eighth-grade level of education and was in trouble with the law throughout his teens. At age 13 he was arrested and sent to counseling for breaking into a shed. He was then arrested at 15 for drugs and placed on probation. At the time of the Sossaman’s murder, Timothy had a warrant out for his arrest for unauthorized use of a vehicle. While awaiting trial, Timothy and some other inmates escaped from jail and were re-captured after a high-speed chase.

    A quote from Timothy: “If one has a look into the cells of US Prison[s], one will see that there are mostly ethnic [minorities] and poor people on Death Row. And they call it justice!”

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