Alvin Avon Braziel Jr., 43, was executed by lethal injection on 11 December 2018 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a man and rape of his wife during a robbery.
On Tuesday, 21 September 1993, Braziel, then 18, was on the grounds of Eastfield College in Mesquite, which is in Dallas County. At 8:45 p.m., he stepped out of some bushes and confronted newlyweds Douglas and Lora White, who were walking on a jogging trail, with a pistol and demanded money. When he learned that neither of them had any money with them, Braziel fired two rounds at Douglas, 27, killing him. He then took Lora, 23, into some bushes and raped her. He then disappeared into the night.
Lora White gave police a physical description of her attacker. She said that although it was night, the crime scene was lit, and she had a close and unobscured view of her attacker's face for ten to twenty minutes. A police sketch artist made a drawing of the suspect based on White's description, but she said it did not accurately resemble him. Another sketch was done by a different artist a few months later, and White stated that drawing was accurate. She viewed a photo lineup in 1994, but did not identify anyone in it as the suspect.
In February 1996, Braziel sexually assaulted a 15-year-old. He was found guilty and began serving a five-year prison sentence in April 1997.
In January 2001, DNA taken from Braziel from the 1997 case was matched to the 1993 rape of Lora White. Detective Michael Bradshaw then contacted White and invited her to his office to view a photo lineup of six black males of approximately the same age. White unequivocally picked Braziel's photo out of the lineup. Braziel was subsequently charged with capital murder in the death of Douglas White.
At Braziel's trial, Lora testified that Braziel became angry when she and her husband told him they had no money. Douglas urged her to run, but Braziel threatened to kill Douglas if she ran away. She and Douglas then began praying. Braziel kicked Douglas and said, "yeah, you better pray." He then asked "where is your God at now?" and shot him in the head. Douglas let out a cry. Braziel pulled him up by the arm, put the gun under his chest, and shot him again. Douglas said, "Oh God, I'm bleeding," let out another cry, and stopped breathing.
Braziel testified that he did not commit the crime and was not present when it was committed.
During Braziel's trial, the prosecutor showed White a photo from her husband's autopsy. She began protesting and crying loudly. The jury was excused from the courtroom, but White's crying could be heard outside the courtroom. The defense moved for a mistrial. In response, the prosecutor denied that he deliberately intended to provoke an emotional response from White. The judge denied the motion. After a recess, White apologized and acknowledged that the prosecutor had told her in advance that he was going to show her the photo.
The state also presented evidence that Braziel had committed a carjacking, had been involved in a high-speed police chase, and had probation violations.
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