Caruthers "Gus" Alexander

Executed January 29, 2001 by Lethal Injection in Texas


10th murderer executed in U.S. in 2001
693th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in Texas in 2001
242nd murderer executed in Texas since 1976


Since 1976
Date of Execution
State
Method
Murderer
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
Birth
Victim(s)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Murder
Method of
Murder
Relationship
to Murderer
Date of
Sentence
693
01-29-01
TX
Lethal Injection
Caruthers "Gus" Alexander

B / M / 32 - 52

09-07-48
Lori Bruch

W / F / 19

04-23-81
Ligature Strangulation
None
Received 02-15-82
04-26-89

Summary:
Collided with car of night club waitress as she drove home at 4 am. Her bound, gagged, raped and strangled body was found nearby by schoolchildren the next morning. Witnesses gave a description of a van that had been parked nearby, which police traced to Alexander's employer, Abby Medical. Alexander admitted taking the van home for the night. The victim's earring and belt were found in the van, along with a moving pad with traces of blood. There was recent damage to the front of the van and white paint which matched the victim's vehicle. Reversed in 1987 and resentenced to death in 1990. Postconviction DNA confirmed guilt. Defendant had prior convictions for arson and paroled in 1975 for involuntary manslaughter, paroled in 1975.

Citations:
Alexander v. State, 740 S.W.2d 749 (Tex.Crim.App.1987).
Alexander v. State, 866 S.W.2d 1 (Tex.Crim.App.1993), cert. denied 511 U.S. 1100 (1994).
Alexander v. Johnson, 211 F.3d 895 (5th Cir. 2000).

Internet Sources:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Caruthers Alexander)

Texas Attorney General

Friday, January 26, 2001 - MEDIA ADVISORY - Alexander Scheduled To Be Executed.

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Caruthers Alexander who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Monday, January 29th: On April 26, 1989, Alexander was convicted of murdering Lori Bruch in San Antonio, Texas, during the course of an aggravated rape. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows:

On the evening of April 22, 1981, Lori Bruch, a 19-year-old, married, mother of a two-year-old child, went to her job as a waitress at a nightclub in San Antonio. After the nightclub closed for business, she and several other employees ate at a nearby restaurant. Bruch left the restaurant alone at approximately 4 a.m. Approximately 20 minutes later, Bruch's damaged vehicle was found abandoned in a rain-swollen, low water crossing, with her handbag still in the front seat. The right rear bumper and tail light of her vehicle had been damaged, and despite the heavy rains, the windows of her vehicle were open. There appeared to be white paint on the back of her vehicle where it had been damaged. At approximately 6:30 a.m. that same morning, two witnesses noticed a large white van parked on a street in San Antonio. Both witnesses noticed writing on the side of the van. The writing on the van appeared to consist of two lines of blue letters; the first line started with an "A" or "AB" and the second line began with either "medic" or "medical."

Approximately 15 minutes later, two elementary school children arriving for class saw the nude, lifeless body of Lori Bruch laying in the street, a short distance from where the two witnesses had spotted the white van just moments before. Bruch's wrists and ankles were secured by rope, a gag was stuffed into her mouth and a piece of cloth was wrapped around her head to secure the gag. Another piece of rope was wound tightly around her neck. Bruch's jewelry, including her wedding and engagement rings, another gold ring, and one earring, remained on her body.

An autopsy revealed that Bruch had (1) sustained a superficial stab wound to the right side of her neck, (2) suffered an abrasion to her right cheek and a scratch near her right eye, (3) suffered rope burns to her wrists, ankles, and neck, and bruising to the back of her neck, (4) recently engaged in sexual intercourse, probably within two to three hours prior to her death, (5) died within 30 to 90 minutes after finishing her last meal, and (6) died of ligature strangulation. A foreign hair fragment was found on her body.

Law enforcement officers quickly located a white delivery van owned by Abbey Medical that matched the description given by the two witnesses. There was evidence of a recent collision on the front bumper of the van, including paint on the bumper that matched the paint on Bruch's vehicle. The van was assigned to Caruthers Alexander. Alexander told his employer and police officers that he had taken the van home with him on the night of Bruch's murder. Under questioning by his employer and the police, Alexander stated that he did not know how the van had been damaged but insisted that no one else could have had access to the van on the night of Bruch's murder. The damage to Bruch's vehicle began 18 inches above the ground, and the bottom of the front bumper of the white Abbey Medical van measured that same distance from the ground. When confronted by homicide detectives at his place of employment just days after Bruch's murder, Alexander appeared to those present to be either "shocked," "startled," or "anguished." Attempts in 1988 to conduct analysis of DNA from the semen stains on the moving pad found inside the van were fruitless because there was insufficient DNA from those stains to permit comparison with known sources. In July 2000, the state trial court ordered, by agreement of the parties, that DNA testing be conducted on the foreign hair fragment recovered from Bruch's pubic region. On December 27, 2000, the Department of Defense Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, issued a report concluding that the DNA sequence of the recovered hair fragment was consistent with the DNA sequence of Alexander.

At the punishment phase of trial, the state introduced evidence which showed that Alexander had been convicted and sentenced to prison for two felony convictions: arson and involuntary manslaughter.

APPEALS TIME-LINE

June 1981 - Alexander was charged by indictment in the 186th District Court of Bexar County, Texas, with the capital murder of Lori Bruch in the course of committing and attempting to commit aggravated rape.

October 7, 1987 - After Alexander had been found guilty of capital murder by a jury and sentenced to death, Alexander's conviction and sentence were reversed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and a new trial was ordered. The reversal was based on evidentiary error during the State's questioning of Alexander when he testified at his first trial.

April 26, 1989 - The second jury also found him guilty of the capital offense. Following a separate punishment hearing, the jury answered affirmatively the two special sentencing issues submitted pursuant to state law. In accordance with state law, the trial court assessed Alexander's punishment as death.

Alexander's conviction and sentence were appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed on April 28, 1993, and denied rehearing on September 29, 1993.

May 16, 1994 - The United States Supreme Court denied Alexander's petition for writ of certiorari.

Alexander filed an application for state writ of habeas corpus, which was denied by the Court of Criminal Appeals on November 26, 1997.

July 1, 1998 - Alexander filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division.

November 30, 1990 - The district court entered final judgment denying Alexander's federal habeas petition. The district court also denied Alexander permission to appeal.

May 5, 2000 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit similarly denied permission to appeal.

Alexander filed another application for state writ of habeas corpus, which was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeals as an abuse of the writ on September 13, 2000.

October 2, 2000 - The United States Supreme Court denied Alexander permission to file an out-of-time petition for writ of certiorari regarding his federal habeas petition.

January 26, 2001 - No litigation is pending as of this publication.

Texas Execution Information Center by David Carson.

Caruthers Alexander, 52, was executed by lethal injection on 29 January in Huntsville, Texas for the rape and murder of a nightclub waitress.

In April 1981, Lori Bruch, 19, left her job at a nightclub. At about 4:00 a.m., police found her car at a low-water crossing. The car was damaged, the windows were open, and Bruch's purse was inside. Later that morning, two elementary school children walking to school saw Bruch's nude body lying in a rain-filled gutter. Her wrists and ankles were bound by a rope and a gag was in her mouth. A piece of cloth was wound tightly around her neck. Police also noted that she was wearing one earring.

Witnesses near the scene recalled having seen a white delivery van parked near the club. Police located the van and noted evidence of a recent collision, including paint that matched Bruch's car. The van's assigned driver, Caruthers Alexander, 32, said he didn't know how the van was damaged. Searching the inside the van, police found blood that matched the victim's and an earring matching the one found on her body. When he was told that the victim's missing earring had been found inside the van, Alexander became physically ill.

Prosecutors said that Alexander intentionally hit Bruch's car with his van in order to stop her and lure her from her car. Alexander had previously served 7 months of a two-year sentence for arson in 1972, and 10 months of a three-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter in 1975.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out Alexander's original conviction, ruling that certain testimony given during his trial was improper. He was retried, convicted, and sentenced to death again in 1990. Alexander had three execution dates set in 2000 and avoided execution all three times. In July, he was given a stay so that a hair found on the victim could be DNA tested. In early January 2001, the judge announced that the DNA test was positive and immediately scheduled a new execution date for Alexander.

While on death row, Alexander maintained his innocence. He called his conviction and the DNA test "bunk." At his execution, he declined to make a final statement. As he lay strapped to the gurney, a single tear streamed down his left cheek. He gave a loud cough and gasped several times after the lethal drugs were administered. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m.

The Lamp of Hope (Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

January 29 - TEXAS - A man who raped and strangled a woman he abducted after a staged traffic accident in 1981 was executed by injection Monday. Caruthers Alexander, 52, was set to die last year but the execution was halted so more sophisticated DNA testing could be performed on evidence. Test results, received last month, confirmed his guilt.

19-year-old Lori Bruch, the mother of a 2-year-old, was driving home when her car was hit from behind by a van authorities said was driven by Alexander. Prosecutors said Alexander lured Bruch from the car, tied her up, and raped and strangled her. "It's every woman's worst nightmare to be driving on the street and be abducted and it's every husband's nightmare that your wife would be out and not come home," said Lyndee Bordini, a former assistant district attorney who prosecuted Alexander.

Bruch's body was left in a rain-flooded gutter near an elementary school, where it was found by children walking to classes. A priest had seen the van in the area and reported it to police. When they tracked it down they found one of Bruch's earrings and her belt inside. Paint scrapes on the van matched the paint of Bruch's car.

In a death row interview earlier this month, Alexander maintained his innocence. "There's a lot of stuff in the conviction that was bunk," Alexander said. "I'll say that straight off the bat: Bunk! The test shouldn't have come back positive. If anything, this last test should have come back inconclusive or not mine."

Alexander becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 242nd overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. Alexander becomes the 10th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 693rd overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

Justice Denied: Innocent

"Commute the Death Sentence of Caruthers Alexander," by Barbara Aldave, Appellate Attorney for Mr. Alexander (Editor, Stormy Thoming-Gale)

Caruthers Alexander was 32 years old when he was arrested in 1981 for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old white woman. Alexander has maintained his innocence for 20 years. He was 33 when he was sent to Texas' death row, where he has spent the past 20 years. During this long period of time, Mr. Alexander, now 52, has compiled a near-perfect record of compliance with all prison rules. He is scheduled for execution on January 29, 2001.

He would not be facing execution if the jury at his 1989 trial had not ultimately said "yes," by a unanimous vote, to the question whether there was "a probability" that he "would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society." It was a jury of his "peers" that did not include any African-Americans. Although several Blacks were called and available to serve on the jury, each of them was stricken from the panel. It was a jury that did not easily arrive at the conclusion that Mr. Alexander ought to be executed.

After the 12 jurors had been deliberating for some time, the jury foreman sent the judge a note asking what "recourse" they might have if their deliberations did not produce 1) a unanimous verdict for the death penalty or 2) a 10-2 vote against death. The judge declined, however, to tell the jurors that they had a third, critical option: The law provided that they could return a "blank" verdict. If the jurors had understood that they could exercise this third option and chosen to do so, Mr. Alexander would automatically have been sentenced to life in prison. Denied the guidance that they sought, the jurors continued to deliberate until they finally rendered a unanimous verdict, declaring Mr. Alexander a dangerous man and sending him to Death Row.

No one who knows him well, including family members, friends, lawyers, and prison guards, believes that Mr. Alexander is dangerous. Even official representatives of the State of Texas have implicitly conceded that Mr. Alexander is not a dangerous person. Prior to his second trial, in 1989, he was offered a plea bargain under which he eventually would have been released from prison. Mr. Alexander, who has maintained his innocence for 20 years, refused to plead guilty and rejected the State's offer.

Like many other death row inmates, Mr. Alexander is African-American and poor. Unlike a high percentage of his prison-mates, however, he is intelligent, articulate, good-natured, and likable. Prior to his arrest he worked hard, avoided people who he feared might lead him into trouble, and supported his common-law wife, her two children, and her niece.

Mr. Alexander has been a model prisoner for 20 years, has paid and is continuing to pay a high price for the crime of which he was found guilty. He is a danger to no one in prison, and the State will do no service to justice by executing him. His case cries out for clemency. Please urge Governor Rick Perry to grant Caruthers Alexander a 30-day reprieve and to direct the Board of Pardons and Paroles to hold a hearing in his case.

Call, write or fax the Governor on Caruther's behalf.

The Daily Texan Online

"Condemned Inmate set to die for Bexar County woman's slaying nearly 20 years ago " (01-30-2001 Associated Press)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Almost 20 years after the bound and naked body of a young woman was found in a rain-flooded gutter near a San Antonio elementary school, the man convicted of killing her headed to the Texas death chamber Monday night. Two-time ex-convict Caruthers Alexander was set for lethal injection for raping and strangling 19-year-old Lori Bruch. Alexander, 52, would be the third condemned killer to be executed this month in Texas, where a record 40 executions were carried out last year. Bruch, the mother of a 2-year-old, was driving home in the early morning hours of April 23, 1981, after getting off work at a Bexar County country-western club when her car was hit from behind by a van authorities said was driven by Alexander. Lured from her car, authorities said the woman was grabbed by the driver of the van, driven away, tied with a rope, raped and strangled. "It's every woman's worst nightmare to be driving on the street and be abducted and it's every husband's nightmare that your wife would be out and not come home," said Lyndee Bordini, a former Bexar County assistant criminal district attorney who prosecuted Alexander. "It was a terrible, terrible crime, very brutal. It was a ligature strangulation and the ligature was on so tight you could see bruising from his knuckles imbedded on the back of her neck." Alexander was set to die last year but the execution was halted so more sophisticated DNA testing could be performed on evidence. The test results, received last month, confirmed Alexander's guilt. "There's a lot of stuff in the conviction that was bunk," Alexander said earlier this month from death row. "I'll say that straight off the bat: Bunk! The test shouldn't have come back positive. If anything, this last test should have come back inconclusive or not mine." Alexander was arrested two days after the killing. A priest driving past spotted a van with lettering painted on the side parked in the area where the woman's body was found by children headed to school. Police tracked down the van, determined Alexander had it the night of the murder, then found one of the victim's earrings and her belt inside. In addition, paint scrapes on the van matched the paint of Bruch's car and measurements of the damage on each vehicle matched. "There's nothing here to suggest the man did not commit this murder," said Mark Luitjen, who also helped prosecute the case and is now a state district judge. "I don't hurt women," Alexander said. "I've been known to bump heads with a knucklehead if he gets at odds with me, but I've never hurt a woman, not like that. That's bunk." Alexander already had two stints in prison behind him when he was arrested for the Bruch killing. In 1972, he was released after serving seven months of a two-year term for arson in Houston. In 1975, he was paroled after serving 10 months of a three-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

ProDeathPenalty.Com

On April 23, 1981, Lori Bruch was attacked while leaving her job as a waitress at a Perrin-Beitel Road nightclub. Caruthers "Gus" Alexander was convicted of raping and strangling Lori. Alexander had previous convictions for arson, for which he served only 7 months of a two year sentence and involuntary manslaughter for which he served only 10 months of a 3 year sentence. Alexander was first convicted of capital murder and given a death sentence in October 1981.

Lori's nude body was found by two children in a rain-clogged gutter in front of Flower Mound School. Her hands and feet were bound and rope was tied around her neck. In 1987, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed Alexander's conviction. He was retried in May 1989 and received the death penalty again. In July of 2000, a Bexar County judge halted Alexander's scheduled execution a week before so that hair found on the victim could be examined with modern DNA testing techniques.

UPDATE: A former truck driver remains on death row after DNA tests failed to clear him of raping and strangling a cocktail waitress. DNA tests showed hair found on 19-year-old Lori Bruch belonged to Caruthers Alexander, who has been convicted twice for her slaying, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Prosecutors and Alexander's lawyers agreed to delay the execution in July to conduct DNA tests not previously available. "We believed we had the right guy. However I believe there shouldn't be a question about people we execute," Prosecutor Susan Reed said. "We should leave no stone unturned." Reed said she will seek the earliest execution date possible. Alexander's attorney, Jeff Pokorak, declined comment. Alexander, 52, has been on death row since 1982. Bruch was attacked and killed in 1981 after leaving her job as a club waitress. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out Alexander's original capital murder conviction, ruling certain testimony improper. Alexander was convicted and sentenced to death again in 1990.

UPDATE: A man who raped and strangled a woman he abducted after a staged traffic accident in 1981 was executed by injection Monday. Caruthers Alexander, 52, was set to die last year but the execution was halted so more sophisticated DNA testing could be performed on evidence. Test results, received last month, confirmed his guilt. 19-year-old Lori Bruch, the mother of a 2-year-old, was driving home when her car was hit from behind by a van authorities said was driven by Alexander. Prosecutors said Alexander lured Bruch from the car, tied her up, and raped and strangled her. "It's every woman's worst nightmare to be driving on the street and be abducted and it's every husband's nightmare that your wife would be out and not come home," said Lyndee Bordini, a former assistant district attorney who prosecuted Alexander. Bruch's body was left in a rain-flooded gutter near an elementary school, where it was found by children walking to classes. A priest had seen the van in the area and reported it to police. When they tracked it down they found one of Bruch's earrings and her belt inside. Paint scrapes on the van matched the paint of Bruch's car. In a death row interview earlier this month, Alexander maintained his innocence. "There's a lot of stuff in the conviction that was bunk," Alexander said. "I'll say that straight off the bat: Bunk! The test shouldn't have come back positive. If anything, this last test should have come back inconclusive or not mine." After the execution, Lori's family said in a statement, "Our family and friends, as well as who knows how many countless other lives she would have touched, have lost so much. Today marks the end of a very long and tragic chapter in our lives and we are relieved it is over. Today is finally the day for this victim. Justice for Lori. We loved her then, we love her now and we will love and miss her forever."