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Billy Thessing - Arkansas Death Row
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Thread: Billy Thessing - Arkansas Death Row

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    Billy Thessing - Arkansas Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    On February 11, 2003, Thessing went to 67-year-old Mattie Bassinger’s home to rob and beat her to death. Thessing stole Bassinger’s car and planned to return to her home to set the house on fire to make the death appear accidental. Thessing was arrested after he wrecked Bassinger’s car. A friend testified that Thessing confessed to killing an elderly woman and gave her Bassinger’s food and a television set. Thessing had a long record of felony convictions. He maintained his innocence and testified twice he was a victim of a satanic conspiracy.

    Thessing was sentenced to death on September 10, 2004.

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    Inmate Personal Information

    DOB: 09/11/1968
    Race: White
    Gender: Male

    Crime and Trial Information

    * County of conviction: Pulaski
    * Number of counts: One
    * Race of Victim: White
    * Gender of Victim: Female
    * Date of crime: 02/11/2003
    * Date of Sentencing: 09/10/2004

    Legal Status


    Attorneys

    William Simpson, Jr.
    Clint Miller
    Deputy Public Defender

    Court Opinions

    Thessing v. State, 230 S.W.3d 526 (Ark.), cert. denied, 549 U.S. 891 (2006).

    Legal Issues

    On direct appeal:
    (1) whether defendant's post‐murder drug use was admissible as res gestae evidence;
    (2) whether alleged error in denying defendant's motion for mistrial or for admonishment of jury to disregard prosecutor's comment, during guilt phase closing arguments, that defendant had been judged competent to stand trial, required reversal of death sentence;
    (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to support jury's findings; and
    (4) whether any error in instruction on mitigating circumstances at penalty phase, that a mitigating circumstance is shown if jury believes from the evidence that it “probably existed,” constituted reversible error

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