Four Tarrant County men are scheduled to be executed in 2017 for killings that occurred during robberies, a drug rage and a bad drug deal.
The last person to be executed from Tarrant County was Lisa Coleman, 38, of Arlington, who was put to death on Sept. 17, 2014.
Coleman was executed for the abuse and starvation of the 9-year-old son of her live-in girlfriend. The child, Davontae Williams, had been beaten and bound, weighing 35 pounds, and his body bore more than 250 scars, according to evidence presented in her trial in 2006.
Texas juries sent only three convicted killers to Death Row this year. Seven convicted killers were given lethal injection in Texas this year, the fewest since three were executed in 1996. Besides the seven executions carried out, 12 other inmates were scheduled to die in 2016 but at least temporarily avoided the death chamber. Seven lethal injections were halted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and one by a federal court to more fully examine appeals in the cases. The other inmates either had their dates withdrawn by their trial courts or were rescheduled for 2017.
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While the number of executions declined in 2016, it could pick up next year when at least nine Texas inmates are already set to die, including three in January.
Here are the four Tarrant County convicted killers who are set to be executed:
▪ Christopher Wilkins, 48, is scheduled to be put to death Jan. 11. A Tarrant County jury convicted Wilkins in 2008 of fatally shooting Willie Freeman and Mike Silva on Oct. 27, 2005. Wilkins told jurors that he killed Freeman because the victim ripped him off in a drug deal and that he shot Silva because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wilkins said he had also killed a third man, Gilbert Vallejo, a day earlier outside a south Fort Worth bar during a dispute at a pay phone.
▪ Tilon Carter, 37, is set for execution Feb. 7. He was condemned to die for the robbery and 2004 slaying of 89-year-old James Tomlin, a Bell Helicopter retiree. Tomlin was known to keep cash in containers around his Handley home in Fort Worth. Prosecutors said Carter and his girlfriend, Leketha Allen — whose mother, a prostitute, had a 20-year relationship with Tomlin — went to Tomlin’s home to rob him. The couple took $6,000. Allen was sentenced to 25 years.
▪ James Bigby, 61, is set to die March 14. In 1987, the former Kennedale auto mechanic fatally shot Mike Trekell, who was cooking steaks for himself and Bigby in Arlington. He then drowned Trekell’s 4-month-old son, Jayson, in a bathroom sink. Prosecutors said his methamphetamine use and his aggressive personality led to the killings. Bigby was also suspected of killing Clavin Crane of Fort Worth and Frank Johnson of Arlington.
▪ The execution for Paul Storey, 32, is set for April 12. Storey was convicted of killing Hurst Putt-Putt assistant manager Jonas Cherry, who was shot in the head and legs as he begged for his life during a robbery in 2006. Accomplice Mark Porter pleaded guilty to capital murder and received a life sentence.
This report includes material from The Associated Press and the Star-Telegram archives.