A Tarrant County judge set a new execution date Thursday for a man convicted of killing an 89-year-old Bell Helicopter retiree in 2004.
Tilon Lashon Carter, 37, was scheduled to be put to death Tuesday but received a stay of execution Friday on a legal technicality. His new execution date is May 16, according to an order signed by state District Judge Mollee Westfall, who presides over the 371st District Court in Tarrant County.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued the stay because notice arrived half a day late at a state office that sometimes handles Death Row appeals but is not handling Carter’s case.
Carter was convicted of the robbery and 2004 slaying of James Tomlin, 89. Prosecutors said Carter and his girlfriend, Leketha Allen, went to Tomlin’s home to rob him and took $6,000. Allen was sentenced to 25 years.
The law gives the trial court two days to notify the attorney who is representing the Death Row inmate and the state Office of Capital and Forensic Writs. Resetting the execution date is the only remedy once notice is late, according to judges who concurred with the order.
Judges voting with the majority encouraged Texas lawmakers to change the law.
“The trial court, the State, and even the Texas Legislature just got played,” Judge David Newell wrote in his concurring opinion.
Texas has executed two inmates in 2017 including one from Tarrant County. Christopher Wilkins was put to death on Jan. 11 for a double murder committed in Fort Worth and was the first person to be executed in the United States this year.
The state also executed Terry Edwards, on Jan. 26, for a holdup at a Dallas-area Subway restaurant during which two employees were gunned down in 2002.
Two other Tarrant County offenders are also scheduled to be put to death this year.
James Bigby, 61, is set to die March 14. In 1987, the former Kennedale auto mechanic fatally shot Mike Trekell and 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.
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.