Gulf News

Schoolgirl’s killer will be 12th person Texas executes this year

Clark convicted of rape and murder

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Slapped with a 10-year prison term for burglary, James Lee Clark was paroled after only 10 months.

Some two weeks later, he was arrested for capital murder for the rape and fatal shooting of a 17-year-old Denton high school girl.

Clark was to be executed for the slaying almost 14 years ago of Catherine Crews, who died in an attack that also took the life of a fellow student.

“He shouldn’t have been out,” Bruce Isaacks, the former Denton County district attorney, who prosecuted Clark, said on Tuesday. “The parole board knew that.” But Texas prisons in 1993 were jammed. The response was to boost parole rates.

Evidence showed within days of his release, Clark, accompanie­d by fellow parolee James Brown, who were violating parole rules by living together, stole a shotgun and rifle in burgla- ries. The shotgun was used to kill Crews, an honours student, and Jesus Garza, 16, who shared an art class with Crews.

Brown somehow also was wounded with a shotgun blast to his knee during the attack. Clark, his clothing disheveled and splattered with blood, called Denton police from a convenienc­e store to report he and Brown had been robbed and Brown shot while they were fishing.

Authoritie­s took the informatio­n from Clark and Brown, also a convicted burglar. Clark was allowed to go home. Brown went to a hospital. Police, however, remained sceptical. The next day the two teenagers were found fatally shot.

Within days, Clark and Brown were arrested.

Clark, now 38, would be the 12th inmate put to death this year in Texas, which has accounted for all but one of the nation’s executions so far this year.

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