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Raymond Landry, Sr. - Texas Execution - December 13, 1988
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Thread: Raymond Landry, Sr. - Texas Execution - December 13, 1988

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    Raymond Landry, Sr. - Texas Execution - December 13, 1988


    Kosmas Prittis




    Summary of Offense: Sentenced to die for the August 1982 robbery and slaying of Kosmas Prittis, a 33-year-old Greek immigrant who owned the Dairy Maid restaurant

    Victim: Kosmas Prittis

    Time of Death: 12:45 a.m.

    Manner of execution: Lethal Injection

    Last Meal: Declined last meal

    Final Statement: He showed no movement except his lower lip was fluttering as if he were praying to himself. He made no final statement but turned to look at witnesses as they entered the death chamber.

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    Killer is executed; another wins stay

    HUNTSVILLE - A 37-year-old former electrician who robbed a Houston restaurant owner and then shot him in the back of the head while the man's wife watched was executed early today.

    Raymond Landry, an 11th-grade dropout from Lafayette Parish, La., was sentenced to die for the August 1982 robbery and slaying of Kosmas Prittis, a 33-year-old Greek immigrant who owned the Dairy Maid restaurant on East Bellfort.

    Landry was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m. after a 25-minute delay when the needle attached to his right arm began spurting fluid across the room.

    He showed no movement except his lower lip was fluttering as if he were praying to himself. He made no final statement but turned to look at witnesses as they entered the death chamber.

    The apparatus was attached to Landry at 12:21 a.m., but two minutes later it malfunctioned. It was reattached, but Warden Jack Pursley had the curtains drawn while the needle was repositioned. When the curtain was reopened at 12:39, Landry appeared to be already dead.

    He was officially pronounced dead after an examination by two physicians.

    Another condemned man, Samuel Hawkins, 45, the "traveling rapist" who said God directed him through dreams on where to find his victims, also had been facing execution early Tuesday but was granted a stay by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night.

    Hawkins' reprieve came less than three hours before he was to be killed for the 1977 murder of Abbe Rogus Hamilton, a 19-year-old Borger housewife who was six months pregnant. She had been stabbed more than 20 times and nearly decapitated.

    Hawkins' appeal had been bounced back and forth Monday between a federal district court and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before U.S. District Judge Halbert Woodward of Lubbock reversed the stay he had granted Hawkins last Friday.

    Had Hawkins been executed, it would have been the first multiple execution on the same date since 1951 when Texas sent three rapists to the electric chair on Sept. 5. At that time, the death penalty could be given in rape cases.

    Texas Department of Corrections spokesman Charles Brown said neither man had any response when notified of the Supreme Court's decision in their cases.

    Defense attorney Michael Charlton of Houston had asked the Supreme Court Monday morning to spare Landry's life until after it rules in the case of another death row inmate who is challenging the constitutionality of executing mentally retarded people.

    Charlton bypassed the federal district court and the 5th Circuit in Landry's appeal, saying those courts would not grant his client any relief.

    Landry had no response when he was informed Monday afternoon that the Supreme Court had rejected his appeal, Brown said.

    Landry was transferred from death row at the Ellis I Unit to the Huntsville "Walls" Unit about 4:45 p.m. and spent the rest of the day in a small room adjacent to the death chamber.

    Landry refused a final meal. He did not meet with any family members and requested no personal witnesses at his execution, but he met briefly with TDC Chaplain Carroll Pickett.

    Landry, who had a lengthy arrest record, including charges of sexual assault, abuse of a juvenile, assault, family neglect and petty larceny, came within three hours of being executed last January before the Supreme Court stepped in and blocked it.

    Landry robbed Prittis of $2,300 as Prittis was closing his restaurant on Aug. 6, 1982. Prittis' wife, Kelly, followed the men into the restaurant from the parking lot, where the Prittis' 12-year-old daughter, Jeannie, and 9-year-old son, Nick, waited in the car. After Prittis agreed to give Landry whatever he wanted, Landry shot him in the back of the head.

    Nick Prittis said Landry not only killed his father but also the whole family. His mother has never recovered from the death, he said.

    "A bad nightmare keeps chasing us," the boy, who now is 15, said Monday, but Landry's execution won't end it.

    The family moved from Houston to Chicago after Prittis' wife was severely beaten by two masked men who barged into the home in 1986 and ordered her to testify that she was insane and could not identify Landry as her husband's murderer.

    Instead, she reported the beating to police and a week later the Prittis' house was burned down. No one was arrested in those incidents.

    Attorneys for both Landry and Hawkins had asked the court to block the executions until it rules in the case of Johnny Paul Penry, whose appeal that executing the mentally retarded is unconstitutional will be heard next month.

    But state's attorney Bob Walt said Landry is not mentally retarded.

    Landry was arrested three days after Prittis' death. Authorities found a bank bag taken in the restaurant holdup at Landry's home.

    Texas has executed two other men this year and 26 since the death penalty was reinstated in 1982. Robert Streetman was executed in January, and Donald Gene Franklin was put to death last month.

    Two other Texas killers are scheduled to die this week. Kavin Lincecum, 25, faces execution early Wednesday for the 1985 slaying of a Brenham schoolteacher, and Herman Clark, 42, convicted in the 1987 murder of a Houston bartender, who has a Friday execution date. Both executions, however, are expected to be postponed.

    http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/ar...id=1988_590576

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    Woman leaves executed killer a message: `Tell my husband hello'

    HUNTSVILLE - For the six years since her husband was killed during a robbery at his restaurant, nightmares have dogged Kelly Prittis and her two children - following her from Houston to Chicago where she sought the comforting support of relatives.

    Early Tuesday morning, the man who caused those nightmares, Raymond Landry, a 39-year-old former electrician from Louisiana, was executed for murdering Kosmas Prittis during a 1982 robbery that netted the killer $2,300.

    Kelly Prittis had stood in the family's Dairy Maid restaurant on East Bellfort and watched as Landry shot her husband in the back of the head.

    "A bad nightmare keeps chasing us," said Nick Prittis, who was only 9 when he and his sister Jeannie waited in the family car and heard the shot that killed their father.

    Even with Landry's execution, he said, "it won't be over. The execution will end one chapter in the book."

    Landry became the third killer to be executed in Texas this year, but his execution came after a 14-minute glitch when the catheter carrying the lethal mixture to his vein popped out of his right arm, spurting the fluid about 2 feet in the direction of reporters and prison officials witnessing his death.

    He was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m., after the team of executioners repositioned the catheter in Landry's arm.

    It was the first time such an incident occurred since Texas pioneered the use of lethal injections for executions in 1982, said Charles Brown, spokesman for the Texas Department of Corrections.

    "There was something of a delay in the execution because of what officials called a `blow-out'," he said. "The syringe came out of the vein, and the warden ordered the (execution) team to reinsert the catheter."

    The curtains around the death gurney were closed as the catheter was repositioned, and Landry appeared dead when they were reopened.

    The 11th-grade dropout from Lafayette Parish, La., made no final statements. He had a lengthy arrest record on charges of sexual assault, abuse of a juvenile, assault, family neglect and petty larceny.

    "Raymond Landry did not just kill my father," Nick Prittis said Wednesday. "He killed my mother. Her life ended in 1982."

    The 41-year-old woman has been unable to cope with the grief, he said. "It's been perpetual grief. There's not a day that goes by that we don't talk about it," the teen-ager said. "She cries and says it would have been better if she had been killed."

    He said he and his sister, now 19, both have intervened on several occasions as their mother contemplated suicide. "She probably won't find peace until she dies," Nick Prittis said.

    His mother would have liked to have talked to Landry Monday night.

    "With the death of Raymond Landry, she leaves a message for him to take with him: Tell my husband hello," Nick said.

    But Kelly Prittis rarely talks about her husband's murder to anyone outside the family.

    She is still afraid to speak out, for fear that Landry's friends will find them and harm them.

    It's happened before, they say.

    Two masked men barged into the Prittis home in Houston two years ago. They severely beat Kelly Prittis and told her she was to claim at Landry's appeal that she did not recognize him as the man who shot her husband. They then slapped her and held a gun to Nick's head.

    Instead, she reported the incident to police, and two weeks later the family's house was burned to the ground.

    No one was ever arrested either in Mrs. Prittis' beating or in the house fire, but Jim Leitner, the Houston attorney who prosecuted Landry, said the Prittises believe it was Landry's friends. "They're still afraid."

    After the house burned, Kelly Prittis and her children left the area, ending the dream life the 33-year-old Greek immigrant had thought he had built for his family in Houston.

    Prittis thought he had overcome the hardships of growing up poor in Greece and then working 15 hours a day in Houston when, on July 31, 1982, he bought his "dream house" and decided to "start living it up."

    Seven days later, he was murdered.

    Nick Prittis remembers that the family, including a cousin, was getting into their car after closing the restaurant at 7102 Bellfort when Landry approached.

    Landry stuck a gun to Prittis' head, demanded money and took him to the back of the restaurant. His wife followed.

    While Prittis' 12-year-old daughter ran across the street, yelling for help, the rest of the family listened, helplessly and painfully, to the gunshot blast that killed him.

    "When I heard the gunshot, I knew my father was shot," said Nick, now 15.

    "And I didn't feel anything. I didn't care about anything. I just sat and stared. It was like I was in a trance."

    But if Nick had indeed been in a trance, he said he was rudely awakened when he felt Landry, who returned to the car after killing Prittis, put the gun to his head and cock the trigger.

    "I was so shocked," Nick said. "Raymond just stared at me, and my mother came, held him by the shoulders and said, `Sir, please don't shoot my son."'

    Landry left, but not before slapping his mother and taking two bags of money she had retrieved from the cash register, Nick said.

    Kosmas Prittis immigrated to America at the age of 23. He started with odd jobs in Chicago, finally buying the restaurant and other property after moving to Houston in 1978.

    "He was finally going to sit down and relax and start living it up, instead of work, which is what he did all his life," said Nick.

    "And when he did, Raymond had to come along and destroy all of our lives."

    Just a couple of hours before prison officials began administering the lethal dose to Landry, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the execution of another condemned man also set to be killed early Tuesday.

    Samuel Hawkins, 45, was sentenced to death for the 1977 slaying of Abbe Rogus Hamilton of Borger. She was 19 and six months pregnant when Hawkins stabbed her about 20 times and nearly decapitated her.

    http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/ar...id=1988_590422

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