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Lucky Ward - Texas Death Row
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Thread: Lucky Ward - Texas Death Row

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Lucky Ward - Texas Death Row



    Man charged in homeless woman's death

    Police: He's a possible suspect in strangulations of 2 other women

    The man arrested in the slaying of a homeless woman whose body was left on some church steps in downtown Houston is a possible suspect in the cases of two other women killed in a similar manner close by, homicide investigators said on Friday.

    Lucky Ward, also known as Lawayne Jackson, a 46-year-old homeless man who frequents the downtown area, was charged Friday with capital murder in the strangulation of Reita Lafaye Long. The 52-year-old woman was found dead Sept. 30 with a black bra around her neck, slumped on the steps outside Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart at 1100 Jefferson.

    Ward confessed to the killing, police say, and DNA evidence led to his arrest. He is being held in jail without bail.

    Court records supporting the capital murder charge say that Ward intentionally caused Long's death by choking her with a brassiere while robbing or attempting to rob her.

    Ward is a possible suspect in the strangulations of two other women, one of them also homeless, whose bodies were found in or near downtown since June, said Houston Police Department Homicide Division Lt. Humberto Lopez. But Ward has not yet been questioned about those other women, and there is no evidence connecting him to either of their deaths since DNA tests in those cases are continuing.

    Ward has a long criminal record in Harris County dating to 1984, with convictions for prostitution, drug possession, delivery of drugs, robbery by threats, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault causing bodily injury, evading detention by police, and theft, court records show. He previously has served time in prison.

    An argument

    Ward and Long may have known each other since both lived on the streets, but they did not have a relationship, Lopez said. Ward told investigators that he encountered Long while she was awake and sitting outside the church and they got into an argument that turned violent, Lopez said.

    A security guard later found Long's body at the top of some stairs leading to the cathedral's utility room that September morning, and homicide investigators noticed her front left pants pocket was pulled inside out, as if someone had stolen something from her, a police affidavit shows. Her purse, cell phone and common-law husband's Metro bus pass were missing, the affidavit shows.

    DNA matches suspect

    Homicide investigators learned Wednesday that DNA tests done on the bra found wrapped around Long's neck as well as scrapings taken from her fingernails matched Ward's DNA profile in CODIS, a national database of known DNA profiles, the affidavit shows. Ward was arrested Thursday after police found him walking downtown in the 2900 block of San Jacinto.

    Robert Ausberry, Long's common-law husband, said an HPD sergeant called him at 11 p.m. Thursday to tell him of the arrest.

    "Now she can rest in peace," Ausberry said of his wife , "and I feel like a burden has been lifted off my chest. I thank God that they have caught her killer. He deserves whatever he gets."

    Ausberry, 60, cried as he recounted the many things that Long, a former teacher who suffered from mental illness, used to do for him — things he said he is trying to learn to do for himself.

    But it's hard, he said.

    "All I think about is my wife. She was a lady, a true lady," he said.

    Body was fully clothed

    Long's body was fully clothed when she was found, and forensic pathologists told police she was not sexually assaulted, Lopez said.

    Another homeless woman, Carol Elaine Flood, 62, was found dead Oct. 10 on an outdoor stairwell outside the old YMCA building at 1600 Louisiana while it was closed for the weekend. She was nude from the waist down, also had been strangled with a ligature and suffered blunt injuries to her face. Forensic pathologists could not tell if she had been sexually assaulted, police said earlier this week.

    No evidence to link cases

    Another woman, a single mother from Galveston who was not homeless, also was found dead June 18 near downtown, at the dead end of the 300 block of St. Charles.

    Raquel Antoinette Mundy, 24, a mother of two small children, had last been seen at the downtown Greyhound bus station early the day before. She became stranded there when her car was towed while she dropped off her mother and children to take a bus trip.

    Her partially decomposed body, also nude from the waist down, was found dumped in a grassy area next to some railroad tracks. Forensic pathologists also could not tell police if she had been sexually assaulted due to the decomposition of her body. She also had been strangled.

    "We still have no evidence linking these two cases," Lopez said Friday.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...n/7281021.html

  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    February 28, 2011

    Homeless man linked to 5 strangulations in Houston


    DNA has connected a Houston man already charged in the September death of a homeless woman to four other strangulations last year and authorities said they suspect he could be linked to more deaths.

    Lucky Ward
    , 46, was charged on Monday with capital murder in the death of Carlos T. Rodriguez, one of two transgender women from Houston who were killed in 2010.

    The 40-year-old victim was known by the name "Gypsy," according a leader in Houston's transgender community, and was found dead on Sept. 13 inside her apartment in the 200 block of Frawley.

    Houston Police Department
    investigators called Ward a serial killer who targeted those he perceived as vulnerable — women who lived on the streets or in shelters as well as those born as men who dressed and identified as women.

    Ward, also known as Lawayne Jackson, was chronically homeless and frequented the downtown area where three of the bodies were found. He is being held in the Harris County jail without bail.

    Ward, who worked occasionally as a day laborer, was arrested Nov. 4 and charged with capital murder in the strangulation of Reita L. Long, a 52-year-old homeless woman from Houston. She was found dead on Sept. 30 with a bra around her neck.

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...on-1550678.php
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    District attorney to pursue death penalty against 4 suspects

    By Robert Arnold
    click2houston.com

    HOUSTON - After a review of 58 pending capital murder cases, officials with the Harris County District Attorney's Office told KPRC they have decided to seek the death penalty against four defendants in six cases.

    Many of the recently reviewed cases were filed under the previous administration.

    One of the cases involves in the February 2015 death of Kella Bracken. The 22-year-old was found stabbed multiple times in the parking lot of a northwest Harris County pizzeria.

    “She was like my other half. She was my best friend,” said Katelynn Schmidt, Bracken's sister. “We’re pretty much at a loss for words. This monster has taken everything from us.”

    The man charged with murdering Bracken is Maytham Alsaedy. Recently, the DA’s Office decided it would seek the death penalty in Alsaedy’s case.

    The head of the DA's trial bureau, David Mitcham, said the decision was reached after the case was examined by the office's capital review committee. Mitcham said the committee reviews every capital murder case filed in Harris County. Currently, the committee has reviewed 58 of these cases.

    Mitcham said after all the evidence is gathered and grand jury indictments handed down, each case is presented to a committee of at least five and up to 12 high-level prosecutors. Mitcham said the prosecutors on the committee all have numerous years of experience handling capital cases.

    “Eventually there’s a vote to determine which course of action we should pursue," Mitcham said.

    Mitcham said after being presented with the facts, the committee then discusses evidence and circumstances before voting, by a show of hands, whether the death penalty will be sought.

    The ultimate decision on whether to seek death rests with District Attorney Kim Ogg. However, Mitcham said Ogg has shown "great deference" to the committee's recommendations.

    Mitcham also said these decisions "are not set in stone" and can change if new evidence comes to light. He added there is no set formula for making a decision in a capital murder cases.

    “Where that crosses the line is determined by the evidence," Mitcham said.

    The other cases where the death penalty will be sought involves accused killers David Conley, Lucky Ward and Steven Hobbs.

    According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the number of executions and cases where a death sentence is sought have been dropping over the last several years.

    https://www.click2houston.com/news/d...nst-4-suspects
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    October 11, 2018

    Accused Houston serial killer declines court appearance after being accused of having a shank in jail

    By Brian Rogers
    Houston Chronicle

    A homeless Houston man who has been accused of being a serial killer will not appear in court on a new allegation that he made a shank, or a blade, in his cell in the Harris County Jail, his lawyers said Thursday.

    Lucky Ward, who has been behind bars for nearly a decade after being implicated in six deaths of homeless or impoverished women and transgender women, will waive his arraignment so prosecutors and his defense team can continue preparing for his pending death penalty trial. The weapon was discovered in his isolation cell last weekend, triggering the new charge.

    Allen Isbell, who is defending Ward with Jimmy Ortiz, said Ward would not have to come to court to be arraigned on the low-level felony.

    He said Ward, 53, had bigger things to worry about.

    They should dismiss it, said Isbell of the new charges. He has enough trouble.

    Keri Fuller, who is part of the team of prosecutors, declined to comment after appearing in state District Judge Vanessa Velasquezs court to update the judge on the status of the prosecution.

    Even though Ward was arrested in 2010, there is still evidence being tested for DNA.

    Ward, who has been scheduled for trial twice before, could go to trial in the Spring of 2019.

    https://www.chron.com/news/houston-t...t-13300023.php
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #5
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    10 years after arrest, one of Houston's 'most dangerous' inmates heads to death penalty trial

    Houston police arrived to find a homeless woman lying dead on a stairwell near the old YMCA building downtown. Investigators noted that she had been strangled and was missing clothes, similar to a number of murder cases that year.

    They had encountered strangling after strangling in 2010: another homeless woman slumped over on steps near the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, a black bra hanging around her neck; a transgender woman in her north Houston apartment; a young mother in a grassy field, nude from the waist down; and a partially clothed transgender woman in a Montrose parking lot.

    A DNA profile linked some of the deaths to a chronically homeless man who was charged with double counts of capital murder. And now, after almost a decade in the Harris County Jail, Lucky Ward is scheduled to finally sit before a jury on Monday for his death penalty trial.

    “10 years is an exorbitant amount of time,” said Kenneth Williams, a professor who teaches courses on criminal procedure and capital punishment at the South Texas College of Law.

    Ward has been labeled a serial killer, as well as one of the lockup’s most dangerous defendants. And he is the 2nd person to face a possible death sentence at the urging of District Attorney Kim Ogg’s office.

    Ward’s attorneys did not respond to several phone messages last week, and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment in advance of the trial.

    Jurors will decide on Ward’s guilt or innocence in the killings of 52-year-old Reita Long, who was found dead near the Co-Cathedral, and the 40-year-old transgender woman discovered in a north Houston apartment. She went by “Gypsy,” but is identified in court records as Carlos Rodriguez.

    The other 3 deaths — Myra Ical, 51; Raquel A. Mundy, 24; and Carol E. Flood, 62 — might be incorporated in the punishment phase of Ward’s trial if he is convicted in the first 2 slayings. Prosecutors have said in court records that he is also a suspect in the 1985 slaying of Birdell Louis, another Houston woman who was strangled.

    Lengthy wait for trial

    As Ward’s case worked its way through the court, he remained in a high-security cell at the Harris County Jail, according to previous reports. He’s been held without bond since his arrest in November 2010, all the while cycling through multiple defense teams, prosecutors and judges.

    It isn’t entirely clear why his case took almost 10 years to get before a jury. But some court records reference difficulty finding witnesses until at least 2014, and DNA testing continued throughout the pre-trial process. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 canceled one trial setting.

    David Kwok, associate professor at the University of Houston Law Center, said it’s typical for cases to be delayed because of procedural issues, such as crowded dockets or unavailable witnesses. That means the length of time for a “speedy trial” is not defined.

    “There’s no hard and fast number, because delays occur at different points in the trial process,” he said.

    But even for a death penalty trial, 10 years is unusual, and Ward has more than waited his turn for a shot at justice, Williams said.

    Defendants need to go to trial fast, because evidence can dry up or witnesses can forget what they saw. But it’s most incumbent to usher cases through the courts quickly because the defendant is always presumed innocent until proven guilty, the professor said. If Ward is found innocent, then he has suffered extreme prejudice by being locked up for so long, he said.

    “You could have an innocent person that’s been sitting in jail for 10 years,” Williams said. “If he’s as dangerous as they claim, it seems like you would want to try that person as expeditiously as they can.”

    The slayings

    After Ward’s arrest, police were quick to label him a serial killer. They pointed to five stranglings, only two of which resulted in charges.

    The scenes had common themes — 3 occurred near the downtown area and some of the dead were found partially clothed. T2 of the victims were homeless, 2 were transgender, and one was a young mother who was stranded when her car was towed. They were all vulnerable, police said.

    In Texas, prosecutors can seek the death penalty even if the crimes weren’t committed in the same act — just in the same course of conduct.

    Jurors might have to overcome their own misconceptions about Houston’s homeless population during the trial, a local advocate said.

    Many people assume homeless people are driven to the streets by mental illness, but that’s not the case for the majority, said Ana Rausch, vice president of operations for the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston. About 30 % of people that are enrolled in one of the coalition’s homelessness programs report that they’re even dealing with a mental health issue, she said.

    And studies show that people experiencing homelessness are more likely to be a victim of a crime than someone who is housed, but are less likely to commit crimes themselves.

    “A lot of people think that homeless people are violent and drug addicts or lawbreakers,” Rausch said. “If you have a negative experience with someone that’s living outside, that’s going to stick with you.”

    Ward’s mental health could be part of the trial, but attorney Allen Isbell told the Chronicle in 2018 that it wasn’t expected to be his defense. He said prosecutors had a high bar to prove Ward killed both people listed in the indictment, although they might be able to prove one.

    During Ward’s initial court hearings, police said they found DNA on at least two scenes that matched his profile. When confronted about Long, Ward confessed to the murder, according to previous reports.

    If their clients are convicted in death penalty trials, defense attorneys usually try to prove that the defendant is not a danger to society — in this case, the prison population.

    ‘High-maintenance’ inmate

    Ward’s record dates back to 1984 with convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft, assault causing bodily injury, drug possession and prostitution.

    His time awaiting trial has been marked by repeated jail violations for alleged threats, suicide attempts and misuse of medication.

    Jail records show the former day laborer, who is also known as Lawayne Jackson, is adept at using every-day objects to escape from his cell, and on one occasion, he was happy to show guards how he could accomplish it.

    “He’s considered one of our most dangerous, high-maintenance inmates,” sheriff’s office spokesman Jason Spencer said in a 2018 article. “He’s someone who requires constant attention, someone who’s frequently trying to agitate other inmates and staff.”

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/new...s-15057337.php
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #6
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    Does any of this even matter to him? Like does he even really care? He was homeless before this. So I imagine living in jail is kind of an upgrade, at least then you have a bed and shower!

  7. #7
    Moderator Ryan's Avatar
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    Sounds like he's got his future home on Texas' death row, a very different kind of upgrade. Ward will be lucky to have an opportunity to see the outside world on execution day!
    "How do you get drunk on death row?" - Werner Herzog

    "When we get fruit, we get the juice and water. I ferment for a week! It tastes like chalk, it's nasty" - Blaine Keith Milam #999558 Texas Death Row

  8. #8
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Sheriff: Accused serial killer Lucky Ward convicted of capital murder

    By Samantha Ketterer
    Houston Chronicle

    A Harris County jury on Monday found accused serial killer Lucky Ward guilty in two strangling deaths from 2010, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a tweet.

    The jury will now hear evidence in the punishment phase of the capital murder trial and decide whether to sentence Ward to life in prison or death.

    Prosecutors and defense attorneys brought forward two weeks worth of evidence in the first phase of the trial. He was convicted Monday of killing Reita Long, a woman who was homeless at the time of her death, and a transgender woman named Charlie, whose legal name was Carlos Rodriguez.

    Ward is the longest-serving inmate in the Harris County Jail and awaited trial for nearly 10 years.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime...er/ar-BB10EhNp
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #9
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Mastro Titta's Avatar
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    Convicted killer Lucky Ward sentenced to death

    By Samantha Ketterer
    The Houston Chronicle

    A Harris County jury on Tuesday sentenced accused serial killer Lucky Ward to death in the 2010 stranglings of two Houston women.

    Eight deputies took posts around the courtroom as state District Judge Chuck Silverman read the jurys decision, preparing for a possible outburst from the defendant who has been described as one of the countys most dangerous inmates. Ward, 55, stood upright while hearing his fate but didnt visibly react.

    Jurors deliberated for less than five hours before choosing a death sentence instead of life in prison without parole. They found him guilty of capital murder last week in the slayings of Charlie Rodriguez and Reita Long, but he is also accused of strangling at least three other women.

    Harris County prosecutors argued that Ward was a continuing threat to society a belief which jurors ultimately shared.

    Jurors had the courage to look at all the evidence, give a voice to the victims, and declare that he was the worst of the worst, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said after the verdict. Ward tortured and brutalized his victims with no mercy.

    As with all death sentences, Wards case will be automatically appealed. Defense attorneys had hoped jurors would find circumstances that were mitigating enough to reject the death penalty, including his mental health history and a pattern of abuse he suffered as a child.

    Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes, lawyer Jimmy Ortiz said Tuesday morning, while arguing that jurors sentence Ward to a life sentence in prison without parole. In this case, Mr. Ward was dealt a very bad deck of cards.

    Wards experiences as a child were terrible, prosecutor Colleen Barnett acknowledged, but they dont justify his crimes.

    Does that excuse him for what hes done? she said in her closing statements. He made those decisions.

    Police arrested the chronically homeless man in 2010 after a string of stranglings that killed two homeless women, two transgender women and a young mother. He was only charged in the murders of Rodriguez, a transgender woman, and Long, who was homeless.

    After the jury convicted Ward in those slayings, prosecutors told them that Ward is a suspect in three other stranglings: Carol Flood, a homeless woman, in 2010; Myra Ical, a transgender woman, in 2010; and Birdell Louis, in 1985. Ward was a named suspect in the strangling of Raquel Mundy, a 24-year-old single mother who had last been seen stranded with a flat tire near downtown Houston, but her murder was not mentioned to jurors in the trial.

    Defense attorneys were hoping that the jury panel will find Wards childhood experience or mental health history mitigating enough to sentence him to life in prison without parole. Witnesses testified to them about a mother who neglected Ward, and a father who beat him as if he were a man, Ortiz said.

    Ward, who is now 55, suffered from complex trauma as a child, causing long-term harm to his mental state. And he entered the adult prison system at the age of 16, according to testimony.

    On Tuesday, prosecutors focused on Wards long history of violence. When he was 14, he raped an 83-year-old woman, Barnett said. He robbed a teenager and assaulted an elderly woman weeks after his release from juvenile custody.

    Despite defenses claims that his mother wasnt present, she had expressed an interest in getting her son help while he was in the juvenile system, prosecutors said. Still, he never seemed to improve.

    Louis death in 1985 marked the first of Wards signature murders, Barnett said, where he would strangle his victims often with items of their own clothing, sometimes leaving them partially nude.

    And he faced a slew of other charges, including evading arrest, possession and prostitution, before being accused in the deaths of Rodriguez, Long, Flood and Ical.

    Barnett said Ward continued to be dangerous while held for the past 10 years in the Harris County Jail, where he has been the longest-serving defendant in custody. His time there has been marked by repeated jail violations for alleged threats, suicide attempts and misuse of medication, according to court records.

    Ward remained quiet for most of the proceedings, occasionally leaning over to whisper to Ortiz. But Barnett noted that he acted out in smaller ways, wearing a yellow jumpsuit one day just because he wanted to, and choosing not to sit in testimony for at least a day after his conviction. Judge Chuck Silverman instructed the jury not to consider those facts.

    Ortiz countered that some former corrections officers testified that Ward had been respectful to them while in prison. And he said that the prosecutors didnt have conclusive evidence for all of the five murders.

    Barnett urged the jurors to consider that Ward would likely continue to be a threat to fellow inmates if he is placed in prison for life without parole. And even on Death Row, he will be given rights that he did not grant to his victims, she said.

    Theres really nothing you can do to help him anymore, Barnett said. The fight for justice here, its not on the streets the fight for justice is in the jury room.

    Defense attorney Allen Isbell instead pleaded to the jurors humanity, adding that he has spent 43 years defending capital murder cases because he believes in the dignity of life.

    He pointed to Wards history of mental illness - documented as schizoaffective disorder - and said that it could become a mitigating circumstance they could consider.

    I may well lose this case, but I would rather lose it by pleading for a mans life than win it by asking you to kill him, he said.

    Jurors began deliberating Wards punishment around 10:25 a.m. They heard just more than three weeks of testimony in both the guilt or innocence and punishment stages of the trial.

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/new...photo-19156591

  10. #10
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Neil's Avatar
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    Will he officially be sentenced to death? This is a liberal county now. I’m getting bad vibes after what that pathetic so called conservative judge did in Ohio with that cellmate murderer

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