Killer of Texas corrections officer set to die
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A Texas inmate was headed for execution Tuesday evening for causing the death of a corrections officer during a short-lived escape from prison six years ago.
Jerry Martin, 43, requested that no additional appeals be filed on his behalf, clearing the way for his lethal injection.
His execution would be the 16th and last scheduled for this year in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state.
"There really isn't much I can say," one of Martin's attorneys, David Schulman, said. "He doesn't want us to do anything and he's made that clear.
"He is not crazy. This is not some delusional thing."
Martin already was serving a 50-year sentence for attempted capital murder when he and another inmate broke away from a work detail outside a Huntsville-area prison in September 2007.
In the ensuing chaos and gunfire, a 59-year-old prison officer on horseback, Susan Canfield, suffered fatal head injuries. Martin and another inmate, John Falk Jr., sped away in the truck but were quickly captured.
"I made a mistake there's ... no turning back from," Martin, who declined to speak with reporters, told a state district judge in June when he made his intentions clear about volunteering for execution. "I know the consequences of what I'm doing, and I've put a lot of thought into it.
"I've done the wrong thing all my life. I'm tired. This is my one chance to do the right thing."
The day of the break, Sept. 24, 2007, he and Falk were among about 75 inmates working in a vegetable patch outside the Wynne Unit prison at the northern edge of Huntsville, just a few miles from the death chamber at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit.
Authorities said the getaway began when Martin used the ruse of a broken watch to get close to an officer and snatch that officer's weapon. He tossed it to Falk and ran to steal the truck, hit Canfield and sped off as shots were being fired. Her head struck the truck, killing her.
The prisoners abandoned the pickup about a mile away and carjacked a woman at a bank drive-thru. Huntsville police pursuing them shot out a tire in that car and the inmates fled on foot.
Falk was apprehended within an hour. Martin was caught a few hours later hiding in a tree.
Martin was convicted in 2009 for Canfield's death. A judge declared a mistrial in Falk's capital murder case and he's awaiting a retrial.
The 16 executions this year in Texas are about average in recent years for the state that accounts for nearly half of all executions in the U.S. in 2013. Martin's would be the 36th nationally. Florida is second with seven. Texas has at least six scheduled for the early months of 2014.