Johnathan Bryant Moore, 32, was executed by lethal injection on 17 January 2007 in Huntsville, Texas for killing a police officer while burglarizing a home.
On 15 January 1995, Moore, then 20, Paul Cameron, 17, and Peter Dowdle, 17, drove to the San Antonio home of William Braden and burglarized it. After stealing some items and leaving, the men returned to the house to burglarize it again. Dowdle backed their car into Braden's driveway and stayed inside while Moore and Cameron burglarized the house.
San Antonio Police Officer Fabian Dominguez, 29, was driving home from work before sunrise and was a few blocks from home when he spotted what appeared to be a burglary in progress. Dominguez was driving his personal vehicle, but he was still in uniform. He pulled into Braden's driveway, blocking the suspects' car. The three men had concluded their second burglary and were inside the vehicle. Dominguez drew his gun, approached the vehicle, and ordered the men out of the car, but they failed to comply. Dominguez took the keys from Dowdle, then walked around to the passenger side. Moore, who was in the front passenger seat, then pulled out a .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol and shot Dominguez in the face. Dominguez dropped his gun into the car and fell to the ground. Moore then got out of the car, took the keys, and gave them back to Dowdle. He then grabbed Dominguez's gun and shot him three times in the head.
After leaving the scene of the crime, the men picked up Moore's girlfriend, Meredith Nichols, then they drove to a field near Pipe Creek in Bandera County, northwest of San Antonio. There, they disposed of both murder weapons and the stolen items.
The next day, San Antonio police put Moore under surveillance as a suspect in the murder. He was spotted committing traffic violations while driving around with Nichols in her car. When police signaled him to pull over, he sped away. He was captured and arrested after a 20-minute high-speed chase that ended in Bandera County when he lost control of his car and crashed into two police cars. After his arrest, he confessed to the murder and said he could see that the man he shot was wearing a police uniform. He said that he fled from the police because "I figured pretty much that the cops knew I was the one that shot the cop." Cameron and Dowdle were arrested a short time later.
Moore had a previous arrest for criminal trespassing in June 1993. He was given deferred adjudication. The state also presented evidence that Moore was charged with burglary in January 1995 and that he attempted to escape from the Bexar County jail twice while awaiting his capital murder trial.
A jury convicted Moore of capital murder in October 1996 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in April 1999. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Paul Cameron was also convicted of capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison. He is not eligible for parole until 2035. Peter Elmer Dowdle was convicted of engaging in an organized criminal act and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He becomes eligible for parole this July.
On a web site, Moore wrote that at the time of the murder, he was an anarchist, but while in prison, he rejected that philosophy and became "a full-blown fascist." He also wrote, "I have disappointed and let down everybody that has ever loved me."
"I've destroyed the Dominguez family," Moore said an interview from death row the week before his execution. "I put a whole lot of people through a whole lot of pain." He said that at the age of 20, he was enamored with guns, the punk/goth lifestyle, and the film "Natural Born Killers," and that he was mean and usually stoned. He blamed his actions on the night of the murder on "fear and stupidity."
Moore said that when Officer Dominguez approached him, Dominguez had his weapon pointed at his head. Instead of raising his hands as ordered, he brushed the policeman's gun aside and fired several shots from the gun in his hand. Then, he said he wondered what would happen to him if Dominguez survived. He decided that since the officer had just held a loaded gun to his head, he would make him pay. It was a decision he would regret.
Moore said in the interview that he learned about Fabian Dominguez and his family and came to admire him. "He was the man," Moore said. "He was taking charge, and he was running right into a situation that required a lot of strength and courage. I think about that a lot."
At his execution, Moore scanned one of the viewing rooms for the widow of his victim. "Jennifer, where are you at?" he asked. After he spotted her, he said, "Jennifer, I'm sorry. I did not know the man but for a few seconds before I shot him. It was done out of fear, stupidity, and immaturity. It wasn't until I got locked up and saw the newspaper ... I saw his face and his smile, and I knew he was a good man. I am sorry for all your family and my disrespect. He deserved better." Moore then told his father, half-brother, and a longtime friend that he loved them. He told a woman who he had met by mail while on death row and had married by proxy a few days earlier to "quit the heroin." The lethal injection was then started. Moore tried to speak again, but the chemicals quickly took effect, and he lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m.
"I'm feeling relief," Jennifer Morgan - who has remarried since her husband's slaying - said afterward. "Almost like we held our breath for twelve years, and now we can let it out."
By David Carson. Posted on 17 January 2007.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, Associated Press, Huntsville Item, San Antonio Express-News.