HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KETK) – A Texas inmate convicted of stabbing an 89-year-old woman and her daughter in Fort Worth is set to be executed Wednesday night in Huntsville.
Billy Jack Crutsinger, 64, will receive a lethal injection for the 2003 murders of Pearl Majouirk and her 71-year-old daughter Patricia Syren. After the killings, he stole Syren’s car and credit card. He was arrested three days later at a Galveston bar.
Crutsinger’s appellate attorney has asked courts to stay the execution, alleging his trial lawyer was incompetent in death penalty cases.
“The jury heard nothing from the defense that provided an explanation about the disease of alcoholism in relation to the offense conduct,” said Lydia Brandt.
At trial, prosecutor Michele Hartmann told jurors that Crutsinger’s actions had nothing to do with alcohol but were the result of “evil.”
Lower appeals courts and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles have declined to stop the execution. The only option remaining is a long shot stay by the U.S. Supreme Court.
If put to death, Crutsinger will be the fifth person in Texas to be executed in Texas this year, and the fourteenth nationally.
DNA evidence has tied him to the case and he has confessed. However, Brandt says his past lawyer, Richard Alley, was a “great word processor” who cut and pasted “worthless” legal arguments from other cases and has been suspended from practicing in federal court.
In 2006, three years after the murders, Alley was barred by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals from its list of lawyers eligible to represent death row inmates in their appeals. He died back in 2017.