Texas: Activist Fed Judge Halts Execution of Two Killers over Paperwork Issue

Texas: Activist Fed Judge Halts Execution of Two Killers over Paperwork Issue

U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gillmore, appointed by Democrat President Bill Clinton in 1994, stopped the execution of two Texas convicted killers due to the State of Texas’ refusal to disclose details about the drugs used in the execution process.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed an appeal to overturn the Judge Gillmore’s ruling.

The two convicted killers are: Tommy Lynn Sells who was convicted of killing a teenage girl in Del Rio in 1999; and Ramiro Hernandez Llanas who was convicted for the 1997 murder of Kerrville rancher Glen Lich. Lawyers representing the two killers filed appeals in Texas courts because the state would not disclose certain information about the drugs including the names of suppliers, lot numbers and information about purity testing according to an article the Houston Chronicle. A Travis County District Court had ruled the information should be made available confidentially to the convicts’ attorneys under a confidentiality agreement, but not be made public.

Bretibart Texas has learned that Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal of the judge’s ruling and a “Motion to Vacate Stay of Execution and Preliminary Injunction” was also filed at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 2, according to Deputy Communications Director Lauren Bean. 

In the Motion to Vacate filing Attorney General Greg Abbott stated, “The lower court improperly granted a stay of execution and ordered discovery.”  Abbott states in the document the defendant’s attorneys have failed to show the “burden of persuasion” on the elements necessary for the judge to grant a stay of execution and temporary injunction. He goes on to state the district court improperly granted the plaintiff-appellant’s request for a stay because the underlying claims are without merit.

“Their assertions,” Abbott said in the motion, “are nothing more than a calculated attempt to postpone their executions.”

Lucy Wilke, Assistant District Attorney for Kerr County, Kerrville, Texas said in a phone interview with Breitbart Texas that she remembered the case quite well.  She and District Attorney Bruce Curry co-prosecuted the crime committed against a local rancher, Glen Lich. Ramiro Hernandez Llanas was serving time in a Mexican prison for bludgeoning a man to death, according to Wilke.  In 1996, she said, “he escaped from prison in Mexico and came directly into the United States.” Wilke confirmed his status as an illegal alien.  Wilke confirmed that Mr. Lich was also bludgeoned to death with a crowbar by Llanas.

“The murder of Mr. Lich occurred on October 14, 1997,” Wilke said. While the Houston Chronicle article states that Llanas also killed a jailer while awaiting trial on the Lich murder, Wilke said that was not correct. 

“Llanas threatened to kill a jailer with a shank, but no one was hurt in the incident,” Wilke explained. She said he was convicted of the assault and sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Responding to a question about her personal feelings about the federal judge’s intervention into the case, Wilke seemed to take it in stride saying, “That is just the start and stop process of capital murder death penalty cases.”

Breitbart Texas also reached out the Val Verde County District Attorney’s Office for comment on the murder of 13-year-old Kaylene Harris in Del Rio. District Attorney Luz Clara Balderas was not immediately available for comment.

In an article titled The Last Murder by David Krajicek on CrimeLibrary.com, Krajicek details the brutality of the crime carried out in the early morning hours of December 31, 1999–against the innocent little girl and her then 10-year-old friend, Krystal Suries–who was also brutally assaulted.

According to the article, Sells broke into the Harris home just west of Del Rio and worked his way through the house’s bedrooms checking out the sleeping occupants until he found the sleeping Kaylene Harris.  She was sleeping in the bottom bunk in her room when Sells laid down next to her and nudged her awake.  He threatened her with a knife and then began cutting off her clothes.  When he began to molest her, she struggled free and tried to yell for help.  At that point he noticed Kaylene’s friend Krystal who was now awake on the top bunk.  She witnessed Sells slitting the throat of her friend twice and watched in horror as Kaylene dropped to the floor dying.  He went on to stab her 16 times according to the quoted coroner’s report.

Krystal promised to be quiet but Sells went on to cut her throat as well.  According to her testimony quoted in the article, Krystal said, “I just lay there and pretended I was dead. If he knew I was alive, he would come back and kill me for sure.”

Krystal managed to drag herself out of the house and go a quarter-mile down the road to a neighbor’s house for help. After she was treated at the hospital, Krystal was able to help police identify Sells and eventually help convict him in the brutal murder.  It was later learned this was the final murder in a twenty-year crime spree or rape, sexual mutilation and murders. 

De 11 – Notice of Appeal by BreitbartTexas

5th Cir Filed Copy by BreitbartTexas

Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX