Fort Worth

Execution set Wednesday for killer who called death penalty ‘no big deal’

Christopher Chubasco Wilkins
Christopher Chubasco Wilkins

A Texas man who admitted to killing three people in Fort Worth in 2005 and told jurors at his murder trial that a death sentence would be “no big deal” is scheduled to be executed Wednesday.

Christopher Chubasco Wilkins, 48, was convicted in the killings of Willie Freeman and Mike Silva after Freeman sold him a rock instead of crack cocaine during a drug deal.

Wilkins also admitted to killing a third man, Gilbert Vallejo, a day earlier outside a Fort Worth bar during a dispute over a pay phone, according to Star-Telegram archives.

Pending the outcome of an appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court, Wilkins’ execution Wednesday will be the nation’s first this year, The Associated Press reported. He is one of four men from Tarrant County scheduled to be executed in Texas in 2017.

A Tarrant County jury sentenced Wilkins to die by lethal injection in 2008.

During his trial, Wilkins testified and admitted to his crimes, saying he didn’t care whether he received life in prison or the death penalty.

“You’ve got a job to do,” he told jurors. “You tell the judge ‘Get a rope’ or not. … Look, it is no big deal. It is no big deal.”

Wilkins has appealed his execution, which was initially scheduled for October 2015.

In their appeal to the Supreme Court, his attorneys, Hilary Sheard and Seth Waxman, argued that he received ineffective counsel from his previous lawyers during his trial and in the appeals process.

“He has never had a meaningful opportunity at any stage to develop that claim, to have any court address it on the merits, or even to have it considered as part of a petition for executive clemency,” attorney Seth Waxman, told the justices in his appeal, The Associated Press reported.

Stephen Hoffman, an assistant Texas attorney general, said investigation of those arguments “would either be redundant or fruitless,” the AP reported, and called the appeals a delaying tactic.

‘I have a fuse that is short’

In 2005, Wilkins was living in a Houston halfway house when he got a day pass, stole a pickup truck and drove to Fort Worth.

When he went to the East Lancaster Avenue area to buy crack in October 2005, he met Freeman, who took him to a dealer, prosecutor Kevin Rousseau said at the trial.

Wilkins handed the men $20. But instead of drugs, the men gave Wilkins a piece of a rock and laughed at him.

Later that month, on Oct. 28, Wilkins killed Freeman out of revenge and he killed Silva — Freeman’s friend who had been giving the two men a ride — because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Wilkins told jurors.

Wilkins said he killed Vallejo the day before because he made him mad.

Wilkins acknowledged that he also nearly killed two more people about a week later when he intentionally ran them down on a sidewalk in a stolen car because he believed that one of them had stolen his sunglasses.

“You can consider drugs if you want to,” Wilkins told jurors in 2008. “But I wouldn’t put too much weight on that. When I get wound up, I have a fuse that is short. I don’t think about what I am doing. I don’t care.”

Staff writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report, which includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.