Marion Butler Dudley, 33, was executed by lethal injection on 25 January 2006 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of four people in a drug house.
Marion Dudley ran a drug operation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. On 20 June 1992, Dudley, then 20, and three other men drove to Houston to buy cocaine from Jose and Rachel Tovar. Dudley had bought cocaine and marijuana from the Tovars on several occasions in the past. When they arrived, the Tovars told them that the didn't have the quantity of cocaine that they wanted - three kilograms - but they could get more. After a few hours, the men returned, but were told again that it would take more time for them to get the quantity they wanted.
Around dusk, Dudley returned with Arthur Brown, 21, and Antonio Dunson, 19. Armed with pistols, the three men rounded up Jose Tovar and three other people who were in the home - Rachel's son, Frank Farias, 17; Farias's pregnant girlfriend, Jessica Quinones, 19; and neighbor Audrey Brown, 21. Rachel Tovar then entered the home and was met by Dunson, who led her in at gunpoint with the other victims. The men then began using strips of bedsheets to tie up their victims. Nicholas Cortes, a friend of the family, was also tied up and robbed when he stopped by for a visit. The victims were tied with their hands behind their backs, and nooses around their necks, and placed in separate rooms. All six were then shot in the head. Jose Tovar and Frank Farias were killed. Rachel Tovar and Nicholas Cortes regained consciousness after a while and found Jessica Quinones and Audrey Brown still alive. Tovar crawled to a neighbor's house for help and called police. Quinones died before the police arrived. Brown died later at a hospital.
The killers evaded capture for several months. On 12 August 1992, Dudley and Dunson were arrested in North Carolina while hiding in a mobile home. They had $30,000 in cash on them at the time of their capture. Brown was arrested later in Tuscaloosa.
The two surviving victims identified Dudley as one of their assailants and testified against him at his trial. One of them testified that minutes before the six were shot, Dudley told Jose Tovar, "You stupid Mexican, I never did like you." Prosecutors claimed that the drug buy was a ruse, and that Dudley's true intention was to eliminate the Tovars from his drug operation, seeing them as unnecessary middlemen. Rachel Tovar also said that Dudley told Quinones, "You stupid (expletive), don't you go into labor on me."
Dudley had a prior history of drug possession, illegally carrying a weapon, burglary of a vehicle, assault, receiving stolen property, giving false identification, and attempting to flee from police. He had a felony conviction in Alabama for marijuana possession. Witnesses also testified that he had committed a drive-by shooting. A Tuscaloosa sheriff's deputy testified that Dudley had participated in a home invasion robbery on 20 April 1992, two months before the Houston murders.
A jury convicted Dudley of capital murder and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in June 1997. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Arthur Brown Jr. was also convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. He is on death row as of this writing. Antonio Lamone Dunson was convicted of capital murder and given a life sentence. He remains in prison as of this writing.
In an interview from death row, Dudley acknowledged that he dealt drugs. "Once you start getting easy money, it's so hard to slow down," he said. He denied being at the Tovar home when the murders occurred.
Dudley did not make a last statement at his execution. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 28 January 2006.
Sources: Texas Attorney General's office, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle.