Billy Jack Crutsinger, 64, was executed by lethal injection on 4 September 2019 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder and robbery of two women in their home.
On Sunday, 6 April 2003, Crutsinger, then 48, entered the Fort Worth residence of Patricia Syren, 71, and her mother, Pearl Magourika, 89 and stabbed both of them to death. He then stole several items from the home, including credit cards and Syren's Cadillac.
The women's bodies were found inside the home two days later. That same day, the victims' blood-stained Cadillac was found outside a Fort Worth bar. The clothes Crutsinger wore during the killings were later recovered in a nearby trash bin, also covered in blood.
Detectives began tracking purchases made on Syren's credit card and located Crutsinger at a bar in Galveston, where he was arrested on 9 April.
Crutsinger confessed to the murders and told officers where other evidence of the crime could be found. Blood found at the crime scene was matched to him.
At Crutsinger's trial, the defense argued that his confession should not have been admitted as evidence because it was the product of an illegal arrest. While officers had suspected him of credit card abuse, they did not have an arrest warrant for him at the time. Instead, he was arrested for failure to identify himself to police, which is not a crime in Texas for someone who is not already under arrest. The trial court agreed that Crutsinger's arrest was illegal, but found that the police conduct was not "purposeful or flagrant" because officers had probable cause to arrest him, therefore his arrest was "not a gross violation of the legal process." Furthermore, the court found that his confession was purely voluntary and was given after he had been informed of his rights, thus removing any taint from the illegal arrest.
Crutsinger had a previous conviction for reckless injury to an elderly person in 1998. He was sentenced to 3 years' probation on deferred adjudication, but he was subsequently sentenced to 1 month in state jail. He also had convictions for robbery, driving while intoxicated, and driving with a suspended license.
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