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James Garrett Freeman - Texas Execution - January 27, 2016
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Thread: James Garrett Freeman - Texas Execution - January 27, 2016

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    James Garrett Freeman - Texas Execution - January 27, 2016


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    Facts of the Crime:

    On March 17, 2007, during the early morning hours in Lissie, Wharton County, the subject was attempting to elude game wardens who were attempting to pull subject over for shooting a bird sitting on a fence with his .22 rifle. Another game warden tried to block the road when the subject struck his vehicle, causing minor damage. Wharton County Sheriff's officers were also included in the chase of the subject. The subject was able to elude officers for approximately one hour before the wheels of the subject's truck was spiked. The subject exited his vehicle and began shooting a Glock model 33.357 Sig and an AK-47 assault rifle randomly at the officer's patrol vehicles. The subject fired approximately 30 rounds of ammunition, striking the victim, Wharton County Game Warden Justin Hurst, 34. The victim was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

    Freeman was sentenced to death on November 7, 2008.

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    November 7, 2008

    Wharton jury sentences game warden's killer to death


    WHARTON — James Garrett Freeman should forfeit his life for killing a state game warden last year during a shootout with police, a Wharton County jury decided this afternoon.

    The condemned man's parents were embraced and consoled by the parents of his victim after the trial ended.

    "We feel sorry for them," said Allen Hurst, whose son, Justin Hurst, died in the shooting. "They have a loss. It may not be as big as ours, but it is there."

    Freeman showed no reaction upon hearing the sentence from the jury that convicted him of capital murder on Monday for the March 2007 slaying.

    After the sentence was announced, Freeman, 27, sat calmly and listened as Hurst's mother, father and widow read victim-impact statements.

    Jurors announced their verdict after deliberating for a total of more than 13 hours.

    Freeman, of the Lissie community in Wharton County, was captured after being wounded in the shootout that resulted in the death of Hurst, a 34-year-old Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden who lived in El Campo.

    The shootout occurred after a lengthy police chase that meandered through Wharton and Colorado counties.

    Video recorded by police cars' dashboard cameras showed Freeman fired nearly 40 shots in less than a minute at seven officers who closed in on him after his tires were punctured during the pursuit.

    Freeman later told a Texas Ranger he didn't know why he killed Hurst, according to an audio recording played for the jury Thursday.

    "I don't know why the hell I did it," Freeman said on the recording. " ... There wasn't no reason for it, I mean."

    After the sentencing, Allen and Pat Hurst, of El Campo, embraced and consoled Jim and Lori Freeman, of Lissie.

    "We wanted them to understand, there were no winners or losers here," Pat Hurst said. "Both families suffered losses."

    She said she and her husband told the Freemans "that in no way do we want them to feel we held them accountable for what (their son) did that night.

    "They expressed to us how sorry they were for all of this," she said. "It was a sharing of the grief."

    The Freemans did not comment publicly after the trial.

    In choosing the death sentence, jurors agreed with prosecutors that Freeman is likely to commit violent acts in the future.

    During closing arguments Thursday, defense attorneys pleaded for his life, emphasizing that the unemployed welder had no history of violent crimes, but only alcohol-related and traffic violations before the shootout on March 17, 2007.

    Defense attorney Lee Cox said Freeman has been a model prisoner since his arrest and would pose no threat to other inmates or prison officials. Cox's co-counsel, Stanley Schneider, said a death sentence for Freeman also would amount to a death sentence for his parents and brother.

    "How do we stop the pain for this community? A life sentence without parole stops the pain, starts the healing, now," Schneider said.

    Prosecutors, who alleged that Freeman intended to commit a massacre when he opened fire, said he poses a future threat because of his actions and temper.

    "When will he erupt again?" Wharton County District Attorney Josh McCown asked the jury. "How it will manifest itself in prison, we can't be certain of. But we can be certain that it will happen."

    Special prosecutor Kelly Siegler said there were no mitigating circumstances that justify sparing Freeman's life. She scoffed at Schneider's assertion that a life sentence would stop the pain.

    "How rich. How dare he? Do you really think their pain is ever going to stop?" Siegler said, pointing to Hurst's parents sitting in the audience. "That kind of pain never stops."

    Jurors deliberated for about eight hours Thursday before being sequestered at a hotel overnight. They reached their decision today after more than five hours of additional consideration.

    Freeman did not testify during his three-week trial.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...n/6100749.html

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    Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Freeman's conviction and death sentence on direct appeal.

    Opinion here

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    Court denies appeal by game wardens killer

    A state court dismissed all 12 points of error in the appeal of the death sentence of James Garrett Freeman, who received the death penalty after being convicted of the 2007 murder of a Wharton County game warden.

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday issued its opinion on the automatic appeal, required in cases where one receives the death penalty.

    Freeman was sentenced to death in November 2008 after being found guilty in 329th District Court in Wharton of capital murder in the March 17, 2007 shooting death of game warden Justin Hurst. Hurst was killed in a shoot-out outside the Lissie Cemetery after a two-hour chase involving numerous law enforcement agencies. Freeman, of Lissie, was 24 years old at the time of the pursuit, which began after game warden Scott Blackburn heard gunshots on a county road.

    The appeal lays out 12 reasons the court should overturn Freemans conviction, including the district judges refusal to grant a change of venue, a move Schneider characterized as the single most important issue in this entire case.

    His appeal argued that there was too much publicity about the case for his client to get a fair and impartial trial, noting the court called 1,200 potential jurors to appear and found most had heard about the case, citing coverage in local newspapers and alleging a conspiracy existed among prominent people in Wharton County to sway public opinion against Freeman.

    That there were a large number of (potential jurors) who had heard of the case, or who could not set aside their opinions about the case, does not establish that pretrial publicity permeated the community to such an extent that it was impossible to seat a fair and impartial jury, Judge Lawrence Meyers wrote in the appeals courts decision.

    As to the conspiracy allegations, he has presented nothing other than speculation that such a plot existed.

    Another point of error argued in the appeal disagreed with the ways the jury decided Freemans future dangerousness to the public, a measure used to decide between sentences of death and life without parole.

    We determine that a rational jury could have found beyond a reasonable doubt a probability that appellant would pose a continuing threat to society, the decision states in dismissing the point of error.

    Other points raised in the appeal, all of which were overruled, included disagreement with a number of statements made by prosecutors during the trial, questions about the legality of Texas death penalty law, the jury selection process, the duties of the grand jury and due process rights. As well, one point argued that a bailiff banging on the jury room door when their arguments became shouting, then telling them to be quiet, violated the impartiality of the jury.

    The appeals court unanimously dismissed all 12 points of error.

    District Attorney Josh McCown, who prosecuted Freeman along with consulting attorney Kelly Seigler, felt it was interesting that the courts opinion was unanimous.

    All nine justices agreed on all 12 points of error I havent seen a lot of those recently in a death penalty case, McCown said. I was pleased to see that, it makes me feel better about the future appeals.

    He said the next steps in the appeals process take two tracks, one appealing this weeks decision directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, the other a lengthy process through every level of the state and federal court systems.

    This is a lengthy process, McCown said. It is going to take multiple years, anywhere from four to eight years, depending how far it goes, but based on what Im seeing so far, how the judges looked at our trial, I feel comfortable at this point.

    http://www.leader-news.com/articles/...6404904199.txt

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    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Freeman's petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis DENIED.

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    EX PARTE JAMES GARRETT FREEMAN

    In today's TCCA orders, Freeman's application for writ of habeas corpus was DENIED.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    On December 18, 2012, Freeman filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/tex...c00765/1038904

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    On December 22, 2014, Freeman's habeas petition was DENIED in Federal District Court.

    https://cases.justia.com/federal/dis...?ts=1419435701

    On January 22, 2015, Freeman filed an appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...s/ca5/15-70001

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    Well, that was fast.

    COA denied today by the 5th Circuit.

    http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions...15-70001.0.pdf

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    Execution date sought for EC game warden killer

    A request to put the killer of an El Campo game warden to death has been filed in Wharton County’s 329th District Court.

    The “motion to set execution date” comes less than two weeks after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied convicted killer James Garrett Freeman’s plea he was not adequately defended as he faced capital murder charges for the 2007 slaying of Texas Game Warden Justin Hurst.

    http://www.leader-news.com/news/arti...8339a350b.html
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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