Executed June 11, 2008 at 06:30 p.m. CDT by Lethal Injection in Texas
6th murderer executed in U.S. in 2008
1105th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Texas in 2008
406th murderer executed in Texas since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Karl Eugene Chamberlain
W / M / 21 - 37
W / F / 29
Chamberlain v. State, 998 S.W.2d 230 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999) (Direct Appeal).
Chamberlain v. Quarterman, 239 Fed.Appx. 21 (5th Cir. 2007) (Habeas).
A variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, lunch meat, deviled eggs, six fried cheese-stuffed jalapenos, a chef salad with ranch dressing, onion rings, french fries, a cheeseburger, two fried chicken breasts, barbecue pork rolls, an omelet, milk and orange juice.
Smiling broadly as he looked at Prechtl's relatives watching him through a window, he told them he loved them, repeatedly said he was sorry and thanked them for coming to watch him die. "We are here to honor the life of Felecia Prechtl, a woman I didn't even know, and to celebrate my death," he said in the seconds before he was injected with lethal drugs. "I wish I could die more than once to tell you how sorry I am."
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Karl Chamberlain)Inmate: Chamberlain, Karl Eugene
Summary of incident
On 08/02/91 in Dallas, Texas the subject fatally shot the victim, a 30-year old white female. Chamberlain was a resident of the same apartment complex and had gone to the victim's apartment under the pretense of borrowing sugar. Chamberlain left the apartment and returned minutes later with duct tape and a rifle. Chamberlain entered the apartment, displayed the weapon to the victim, and forced the victim into a bedroom. Chamberlain taped her hands and feet, and sexually assaulted her. Chamberlain took the victim into the bathroom and shot her one time in the head with a .30 caliber rifle, causing her death. Chamberlain left the apartment and returned to his own apartment.
Texas Attorney General
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Media Advisory: Karl Eugene Chamberlain Scheduled For Execution
AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information about Karl Eugene Chamberlain who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, 2008.
In 1997, Chamberlain was convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Felicia Prechtl in Dallas. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
Karl Chamberlain entered neighbor Felicia Prechtl’s apartment on August 2, 1991, and forced her into a bedroom. Chamberlain taped the 29-year-old Prechtl’s hands and feet and raped her. Chamberlain took the victim into the bathroom and shot her in the head with a .30 caliber rifle.
Police questioned Chamberlain the night of the murder, but he was not arrested until July 17, 1996, after a fingerprint search returned his name as a possible match. Police arrested Chamberlain, who gave investigators a written confession. He also directed them to a weapon of the same type used to kill Prechtl, and provided DNA samples that matched the profile of samples taken from Prechtl’s body.
Aug. 19, 1996— A Dallas County grand jury indicted Chamberlain for capital murder
Jun. 5, 1997— Judgment was entered after a jury found Chamberlain guilty of capital murder and following a separate punishment hearing, the court assessed a sentence of death.
Nov. 30, 1998— Chamberlain filed a state writ application in the trial court. Jun. 16, 1999— The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Chamberlain’s conviction and sentence.
Sep. 3, 1999— Chamberlain petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari review.
Jan. 10, 2000— The Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Sep. 13, 2000— The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Chamberlain’s application for state habeas relief.
Sep. 12, 2001— Chamberlain filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the federal district court.
Nov. 29, 2005— The federal district court denied Chamberlain’s habeas petition.
Nov. 3, 2006— Chambers requested a certificate of appealability from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
May 10, 2007— The Fifth Circuit Court denied Chamberlain’s request for a certificate of appealability.
Aug 8, 2007— Chamberlain petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari review off federal habeas.
Nov. 13, 2007— The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY Chamberlain robbed a woman in Houston two months after he murdered Prechtl but before he was arrested for killing Prechtl. He had a juvenile incident for misdemeanor theft.
"Dallas Woman's Killer Put to Death," by Michael Graczyk. (AP June 12, 2008, 12:03AM)
HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Idle for almost nine months because of a court challenge to lethal injections, the nation's busiest death chamber is again carrying out executions. Convicted killer Karl Eugene Chamberlain received lethal injection Wednesday evening after late appeals to the state and federal courts failed to block his execution for raping and fatally shooting Felecia Prechtl, a 30-year-old single mother, at her Dallas apartment almost 17 years ago.
Smiling broadly as he looked at Prechtl's relatives watching him through a window, he told them he loved them, repeatedly said he was sorry and thanked them for coming to watch him die. "We are here to honor the life of Felecia Prechtl, a woman I didn't even know, and to celebrate my death," he said in the seconds before he was injected with lethal drugs. "I wish I could die more than once to tell you how sorry I am."
As the drugs took effect, he urged them to "not hate anybody because...." He slipped into unconsciousness before completing the thought. He was pronounced dead nine minutes later.
"It has been 11 years since his conviction," said Ina Prechtl, whose daughter was murdered. "He has been housed, clothed, given blankets, pillows. at some point TV, mail, sunlight, clean clothes, food and drink, appeal lawyers all paid by our tax dollars... "The victim, Felecia, our daughter and mother, has been in a sealed concrete vault and casket 6 feet under dirt for the past 17 years, since the crime was committed. Paid for by her family."
Attorneys for Chamberlain unsuccessfully appealed in state and federal courts, trying to block the punishment. The Supreme Court, which rejected in April the constitutional claims brought last year from two Kentucky inmates who said lethal injection was too cruel, rejected Chamberlain's request for a reprieve and review of his case.
Then in a filing just hours before his scheduled execution time, lawyers for the Texas Defenders Service, a legal group that opposes capital punishment, went to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, questioning the state Department of Criminal Justice's implementation of lethal injection.
When that appeal also failed, Chamberlain became the sixth prisoner executed nationally this year, all in recent weeks. At least another 12 inmates have execution dates in the coming months in Texas, where 26 prisoners were executed last year, more than any other state.
On Monday, the Court of Criminal Appeals, ruling in a different appeal, refused to stop Chamberlain's punishment. At the same time, the court lifted a reprieve it gave a week ago to Derrick Sonnier just 90 minutes before he was to be executed for killing a suburban Houston woman and her young son. Sonnier, like Chamberlain, had argued the Texas lethal injection procedures were unconstitutionally cruel.
A Dallas County jury deliberated just seven minutes before convicting Chamberlain of capital murder for killing Prechtl and took 2 1/2 hours to decide he should be put to death. It took 11 years to carry out the sentence.
"One question I ask myself every day," Ina Prechtl said. "Why does it take so long for justice to be served?"
Chamberlain, who would have turned 38 next week, lived upstairs in the same apartment complex as his victim. He denied any knowledge of the crime when questioned by police the day of the 1991 slaying. He was arrested five years later after his fingerprint was matched to a print on a roll of duct tape used to bind Prechtl. Chamberlain's prints had been entered into a database after he went on probation for an attempted robbery and abduction in Houston. When he was arrested in Euless in suburban Dallas, he confessed.
Prechtl's brother and his girlfriend had taken her 5-year-old son to a store for some food and a video while she got ready to go out with friends. While they were gone, Chamberlain knocked on Prechtl's door and asked to borrow some sugar. After she filled the request, he returned with a rifle and the roll of duct tape, attacked the single mother and shot her in the head. Her son found her body.
After his arrest, Chamberlain told police they could find the murder weapon, a .30-caliber M-1 rifle, at his father's house. DNA evidence, plus the fingerprint evidence and confession, tied him to the crime scene.
"Evidence of his guilt was overwhelming," said Toby Shook, one of the prosecutors at his trial. "We were able to develop a good history of what we believed to be a sexual predator and a continuing danger."
Another execution is set for next week. Charles Hood faces injection Tuesday for the 1989 slayings of Ronald Williamson and Tracie Lynn Wallace at Williamson's suburban Dallas home.
"Inmate’s family, friends protest execution," by Meagan Ducic. (Tue, Jun 17 2008)
— The family of Felecia Prechtl watched Karl Eugene Chamberlain become the first Texas death row inmate to be executed since late September 2007. Chamberlain, who raped and killed Prechtl 17 years ago in Dallas, was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday after he was given the lethal injection at 6:21.
While Chamberlain’s half-sister and five friends witnessed his execution from behind another glass window, his mother stood in front of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Walls Unit protesting the death penalty. Mu’ina Arthur of Las Vegas, N.M., chose not to see her son executed a short distance away. She was among 20 protesters waving signs in opposition of the death penalty or voicing their viewpoint verbally.
Chamberlain became the 406th person executed in Texas. “This country is a fascist country,” Arthur said, using a megaphone. “This is not a compassionate America. We have to stand on God’s law. Jesus was a pacifist. Jesus was a pacifist.” “How many men has the state of Texas murdered who were innocent?” she cried out. “Many. They’re dead, they’re gone, they’re martyrs.” “Let all the countries around the world put the pressure on The United States of America,” Arthur said with Ron Carlson standing next to her. “The leader of killing. The leader of mayhem. We’re talking about human beings, we’re talking about my son. “He’s a jewel; he’s a teddy bear; and yeah, he messed up. He didn’t have a criminal record, and he’s not a bad man. He’s a good man. He’s a jewel compared to most. Compare him to Bush. God, oh Jesus save us. “God is truth. My son is a believer, you’re gonna, hey ... he ain’t dead yet.”
“This is not the first time I’ve stood with an inmate’s family,” said Carlson, brother of Deborah Thornton Carlson, who was killed by Karla Faye Tucker. “Not only are the people that were murdered, their families, are victims, but every time an execution takes place the family of the inmate is being victimized, too,” Carlson said. “And that’s something that the media needs to report. “I’m sure you’ve heard her sobs; I’m sure you took photographs; you know she’s hurting. That’s the reality of the death penalty. Nothing is going to change by killing Karl Chamberlain. “The victim’s family may think that now this is over, but in the end, it never ends. If it did, I wouldn’t be here today.”
When asked why she would not bear witness to the end of her son’s life, Arthur said, “My daughter is there. I’ve been with people who’ve died. It’s a real special reality; murder is a different thing. They’re murdering my son; he’s not dying.” To the family of Felecia Carol Prechtl, Arthur had a solitary message. “I love ... I just love,” she said. “I wish that moment had never happened. There aren’t any words when you lose a child. I love them.”
Standing in front of Arthur was Capital “X” – best known for his work with Walk 4 Life. He was videotaping her message for his own use to help demonstrate the pain felt by the families of the executed, a view he felt was not appropriately covered by today’s media. “It really hurts me to see all these people hurting, all these people with love and compassion, and then you’ve got these jokers over here (gestures to TDCJ guards standing close by) smirking and laughing,” he said. “I’m not saying they’re all bad, there’s some of them who don’t believe in the death penalty. “But to stand there and smirk while this woman is getting her heart torn out to me is like disrespect. There’s not even a word for it. But if you put the camera on them they’re quick to turn their faces.”
As the news reached Arthur that her son had been executed, she hugged Lamp of Hope member Karen Sebung, and cried out in agony.
"Texas resumes executions after moratorium." (Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:05pm EDT)
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (Reuters) - Convicted killer Karl Eugene Chamberlain was put to death by lethal injection in Texas on Wednesday, becoming the first prisoner executed in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty in April.
Texas -- the country's busiest death penalty state -- is the fifth state to resume executions since the high court rejected a legal challenge to the three-drug cocktail used in most executions for the past 30 years.
Chamberlain, 37, was convicted of the 1991 murder of a 30-year-old Dallas woman who lived in the same apartment complex. He went to the woman's apartment on the pretext of borrowing sugar, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He returned minutes later with duct tape and a rifle. After sexually assaulting the young mother, he shot the victim once in the head.
Chamberlain was the 406th inmate executed in Texas since 1982 and the first this year. Another Texas inmate scheduled to be executed on June 3 received a stay from Texas' highest criminal court. That court stay has been lifted and Derrick Juan Sonnier's execution will be rescheduled, according to news reports.
In April, the Supreme Court rejected by a vote of 7-2 a challenge by two Kentucky death row inmates who argued the current lethal injection method inflicts needless pain and suffering in violation of a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Executions have since been carried out in Georgia, Mississippi and Virginia. Texas has scheduled 12 more executions this year. A Texas convict was executed on September 25 last year hours after the court said it would listen to the arguments and the unofficial moratorium began.
In his last statement, Chamberlain expressed remorse. "I wish I could die more than once to tell you how sorry I am," he said.
For his last meal he requested food including a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, lunch meat, deviled eggs, six fried cheese-stuffed jalapenos, a chef salad with ranch dressing, onion rings, french fries, a cheeseburger, two fried chicken breasts, barbecue pork rolls, an omelet, milk and orange juice.
Texas Execution Information Center by David Carson.
Karl Eugene Chamberlain, 37, was executed by lethal injection on 11 June 2008 in Huntsville, Texas for the rape and murder of a woman in her apartment.
On 2 August 1991, Chamberlain, then 21, went to the apartment of Felecia Prechtl, 30, bringing duct tape and a .30-caliber rifle with him. Chamberlain and Prechtl lived in the same apartment complex in Dallas. Chamberlain forced Prechtl into her bedroom and bound her hands and ankles with duct tape. After raping her, he shot her once in the head. He then left and returned to his own apartment.
A few minutes later, Prechtl's brother discovered the victim's body in her bathroom, with her jeans and underwear pulled down to her knees, and wearing no other clothing. Police found a roll of duct tape at the scene. Some fingerprints were taken from the duct tape, but no matches were found in the police department's data base. Investigators also found sperm in the victim's anal cavity. Chamberlain was questioned on the night of the murder, but he denied any knowledge of the crime and was not arrested.
The case remained unsolved for five years. In 1996, the fingerprints from the duct tape were checked again. One of the potential matches identified was Chamberlain, whose prints had been taken after an arrest for attempted robbery in Houston. Police arrested him on 17 July 1996. In a written confession, he stated that on the day of the murder, he went to Prechtl's apartment to borrow sugar, and she was scantily dressed when she answered the door. He went back to his apartment with the sugar, but then decided to return. He claimed that he had consensual anal intercourse with the victim, but shot her after she threatened to tell his wife. Chamberlain also told police that the murder weapon could be found at his father's house. DNA from a blood sample he gave at the time of his arrest was matched to the sperm sample taken from the victim's body.
Chamberlain also had a conviction for theft as a 17-year-old juvenile.
A jury convicted Chamberlain of capital murder in June 1997 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in June 1999. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
In an interview from death row the week before his execution, Chamberlain admitted his guilt and expressed regret over his actions. "My greatest regret is going down there and not killing myself," he said. "I had kind of like a slip into delusion. It makes absolutely no sense ... It was like I lost all control." Nevertheless, Chamberlain said that prosecutors, his lawyers, and the jury should have paid more attention to the fact that in the five years following the murder, he managed to stay out of trouble.
Chamberlain's execution was attended by Prechtl's brother, son, and parents. The condemned killer looked at them directly, with a big smile on his face, as he spoke his last words: "I want you all to know I love you with all my heart. I want to thank you for being here ... We are here to honor the life of Felecia Prechtl, a woman I didn't even know, and celebrate my death. My death began on August 2, 1991, and continued when I began to see the beautiful and innocent life that I had taken. I am so terribly sorry. I wish I could die more than once." Chamberlain continued speaking as the lethal injection was administered. "I love you. God have mercy on us all," he said, still grinning. "Please do not hate anybody because ..." He then lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m.
Chamberlain's execution was the first to take place in Texas since September 2007, when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Kentucky case challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection. The court upheld lethal injection in April, allowing executions in Texas and other states to resume. Chamberlain was the sixth prisoner executed in the United States since the court's decision.
Karl Eugene Chamberlain lived next door to Felicia Prechtl, a single mother, and her five-year-old son. On August 12, 1991, Chamberlain observed Felicia’s brother leaving with Felicia’s son. Chamberlain went next door “to borrow a cup of sugar.” Upon gaining entry to Felicia’s apartment, Chamberlain bound her with duct tape and sexually assaulted her. Chamberlain then shot Felicia in the forehead, killing her. Felicia’s semi-nude body was discovered on the bathroom floor some thirty-five minutes later by her brother and son upon their return to the apartment. Chamberlain walked his dogs after the murder.
Chamberlain’s guilt was not uncovered until 1997. In the meantime, he confessed the murder to others, relating that he had gone to borrow a cup of sugar from his neighbor and that she had answered the door naked and seduced him. Chamberlain further elaborated that Felicia had delighted in their sexual intercourse and explained that he had killed her in a panic only when she threatened to inform his wife of their sexual encounter. While Chamberlain says his non-violent past supports his contention that the evidence is insufficient to show that he is a continuing threat to society, the evidence does show a history of violence. The State introduced evidence that Chamberlain had attacked a fellow soldier with a knife and a woman at a shopping mall with a stun gun. The State also introduced evidence that Chamberlain broke into a pornography shop when, seeking pornography, he had found the shop closed.
In addition to this evidence of a violent past, the State introduced the testimony of Dr. Kenneth DeKleva, a psychiatrist. DeKleva asserted that the facts of the offense reveal a sexually sadistic, antisocial personality disorder. DeKleva noted that the crime scene revealed that the perpetrator needed to inflict humiliation, degradation and pain to achieve sexual gratification. DeKleva testified that leaving Felicia uncovered and exposed evinced a lack of regard for her humanity and utter lack of remorse. Similarly, DeKleva testified that the fact that Chamberlain walked his dogs after committing the offense also revealed a disturbing lack of remorse. The subsequent fantasies blaming Felicia for seducing him, along with Chamberlain’s claims that she enjoyed the assault and then blaming her for the murder because she was going to tell his wife, were all, according to DeKleva, evidence of a dangerous personality disorder. DeKleva noted the evidence of Chamberlain’s overpowering sexual urges, i.e., that as a teenager he kept a mannequin with the crotch cut out, that he burglarized the pornography store when he found it closed and had stolen inflatable sex dolls. DeKleva testified that there is no known treatment for a sexually sadistic killer and no evidence that their fantasies eventually subside. DeKleva testified that these traits reveal a dangerous person, particularly when that person had already fulfilled some of his violent fantasies. DeKleva concluded the evidence established that Chamberlain would probably commit criminal acts of violence constituting a continuing threat to society.
At trial, evidence showed that a number of obscene calls were traced by the phone company to Chamberlain’s telephone at work. A phone company spokesperson testified that after receiving complaints about obscene phone calls to two Pennsylvania establishments, they traced a number of subsequent calls to a telephone extension registered to a telemarketing firm. The owner of the company testified that each salesman’s telephone was limited to an assigned geographical area. He testified that a computer system recorded each salesman’s calls, so that supervisors could see from what extension a call was made, what time it was made, the number dialed and the length of the call. When he was informed by the police about the obscene calls to Pennsylvania, he ran the two phone numbers given to him by the police through his computer system. Chamberlain’s extension was shown as the number from which the calls originated.
Chamberlain was confronted with these facts and though he never admitted to the phone calls, the calls ceased after he was confronted.
Karl Chamberlain: Life on Death Row
Karl Eugene Chamberlain - IN MEMORIUM
Karl was born in 1970 in Oklahoma City. On Wednesday 11th June 2008 at 6.30 in the evening, after 11 years on Death Row in Texas, Karl was executed by lethal injection. A memorial service was held at 6.00pm on the 12th June at the Friends Meeting Hall in Houston.
Karl's execution followed a temporary stay of execution in February 2008 in response to a Supreme Court interim ruling on lethal injection. However the justices on the 16th April upheld the use of lethal injection and the order for his execution was reinstated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
A last minute appeal for clemency was denied on the 10th June despite his attorney again bringing attention to the court the circumstances surrounding his original trial (MORE HERE).
Friends of Karl around the world campaigned to have his death sentence commuted to life but ultimately failed. This website now stands as a memorial to Karl's life and explains why his friends believed that despite the severity of his crime he deserved a chance to live. We originally established this site to highlight the plight of Prisoner 999241 who faced the death penalty instead of life imprisonment due to a miscarriage of justice.
As you will read in these pages, Karl had always admitted his guilt and had full remorse for the terrible crime he committed. His argument with the State of Texas is not that he didn't deserve punishment but that during his trial he was not given the representation he deserved, in a trial that did not take mitigating circumstances into account, and he argued that he was misadvised over a plea bargain that would have seen him serving a double life sentence instead of facing execution.
Join with us as we meet the man that was prisoner 999241 and explore his world, a world where prison walls were banished from his mind. Here you can also get to understand why Karl's many friends worldwide find the death penalty so abhorrent.
An Enigma, An Argument, A Question
What is life? Where does it come from? Why are we here? What are we supposed to do with life? Some argue that there is no 'right' to life - but if you take theirs, they'll quickly fight for the right to live.
Whether or not there is a right to life most people will agree life is a precious gift - but what if you lived in a seven foot by nine foot concrete and steel tomb? What if you were locked in 22 to 24 hours a day, for eleven years? Out to 'rec' a few times a week, food miserable, degraded and dehumanized daily - and terrorized and demonized by your country.
What would your life be worth then? How would you live? Why would you want to live? What reason would be good enough?
Chamberlain v. State, 998 S.W.2d 230 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999) (Direct Appeal).
Defendant was convicted in the District Court, Dallas County, Gerry Meier, J., of capital murder, and he was sentenced to death. On automatic appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals, Meyers, J., held that: (1) evidence supported finding of future dangerousness; (2) introduction of defense psychiatric expert would constructively waive right against self-incrimination; (3) state made sufficient showing that defendant was perpetrator of obscene telephone calls to establish their admissibility; (4) there was no Batson violation; and (5) photographs of victim's body were admissible. Affirmed. Womack, J., delivered a concurring opinion.
Appellant was convicted in May 1997 of capital murder committed in August 1991. Tex. Penal Code § 19.03; Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 37.0711.FN1 The jury's verdicts required the trial court to sentence appellant to death. Art. 37.0711 § 3(g). Appeal from the sentence of death is automatic to this Court. Tex. Const. Art. I, § 5; Art. 37.0711 § 3(j). Appellant raises sixteen points of error. We affirm.
In his second point of error, appellant claims the evidence is legally insufficient to support the jury's finding that a probability exists that appellant will commit criminal acts of violence constituting a continuing threat to society. Art. 37.0711 § 3(b)(2). A brief account of the facts in the light most favorable to the verdict, Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979), is necessary.
Appellant lived next door to the victim, a single mother, and her five-year-old son. On August 12, 1991, appellant observed the victim's brother leaving with the victim's son. Appellant went next door “to borrow a cup of sugar.” Upon gaining entry to the victim's apartment, appellant bound her with duct tape and sexually assaulted her. Appellant then shot the victim in the forehead, killing her. The victim's semi-nude body was discovered on the bathroom floor some thirty-five minutes later by her brother and son upon their return to the apartment. Appellant walked his dogs after the murder.
Appellant's guilt was not uncovered until 1997. In the meantime, he confessed the murder to others, relating that he had gone to borrow a cup of sugar from his neighbor and that she had answered the door naked and seduced him. Appellant further elaborated that the victim had delighted in their sexual intercourse and explained that he had killed her in a panic only when she threatened to inform his wife of their sexual encounter.
While appellant says his non-violent past supports his contention that the evidence is insufficient to show that he is a continuing threat to society, the evidence does not show a history of violence. The State introduced evidence that appellant had attacked a fellow soldier with a knife and a woman at a shopping mall with a stun gun. The State also introduced evidence that appellant broke into a pornography shop when, seeking pornography, he had found the shop closed.
In addition to this evidence of a violent past, the State introduced the testimony of Dr. Kenneth DeKleva, a psychiatrist. DeKleva asserted that the facts of the offense reveal a sexually sadistic, antisocial personality disorder. DeKleva noted that the crime scene revealed that the perpetrator needed to inflict humiliation, degradation and pain to achieve sexual gratification. DeKleva testified that leaving the victim uncovered and exposed evinced a lack of regard for her humanity and utter lack of remorse. Similarly, DeKleva testified that the fact that appellant walked his dogs after committing the offense also revealed a disturbing lack of remorse. The subsequent fantasies blaming the victim for seducing him, along with appellant's claims that she enjoyed the assault and then blaming her for the murder because she was going to tell his wife, were all, according to DeKleva, evidence of a dangerous personality disorder. DeKleva noted the evidence of appellant's overpowering sexual urges, i.e., that as a teenager he kept a mannequin with the crotch cut out, that he burglarized the pornography store when he found it closed and had stolen inflatable sex dolls. DeKleva testified that there is no known treatment for a sexually sadistic killer and no evidence that their fantasies eventually subside. DeKleva testified that these traits reveal a dangerous person, particularly when that person had already fulfilled some of his violent fantasies. DeKleva concluded the evidence established that appellant would probably commit criminal acts of violence constituting a continuing threat to society.
The evidence sufficiently supports the jury's verdict. See, e.g., Keeton v. State, 724 S.W.2d 58, 61 (Tex.Crim.App.1987) (opinion on rehearing). Appellant's second point of error is overruled.
In his third point of error, appellant challenges the factual sufficiency of the evidence to establish that he presents a continuing threat to society. Article 37.0711 § 3(b)(2). We have repeatedly declined to apply the review announced in Clewis v. State, 922 S.W.2d 126 (Tex.Crim.App.1996), to the future dangerousness special issue. McGinn v. State, 961 S.W.2d 161, 169 (Tex.Crim.App.1998). We overrule appellant's third point of error.
In his first point of error, appellant argues that the trial court erred in not permitting him to rebut the psychiatric testimony of Dr. DeKleva unless he first submitted to a psychiatric examination by the State's expert. According to appellant, the trial court's refusal to permit him to rebut the State's psychiatric testimony violated his fifth amendment right to remain silent, his sixth amendment right to counsel, and his right to due process of law under the United States Constitution.
The facts are undisputed. The trial court granted the State's pre-trial motion to order appellant to submit to psychiatric examination by the State if he intended to introduce psychiatric evidence based on an examination by a defense expert. At punishment Dr. DeKleva testified for the State based on the facts of the offense and facts related during appellant's trial but not on an examination of appellant. Outside the presence of the jury, defense counsel announced its intent to rebut DeKleva's testimony with that of Dr. J. Crowder who, unlike DeKleva, had the benefit of having interviewed and tested appellant for the purpose of testifying about his future dangerousness. The trial court refused to permit any testimony based on Crowder's testing and interview unless appellant submitted to like testing and interviews by DeKleva. Emphasizing that he offered Crowder's testimony merely as rebuttal evidence, appellant objected to the trial court's conditional exclusion of the evidence on grounds that it violated his right to counsel and his right against compulsory self-incrimination.
Appellant acknowledges that under Lagrone v. State, 942 S.W.2d 602 (Tex.Crim.App.1997) and Soria v. State, 933 S.W.2d 46 (Tex.Crim.App.1996), the trial court had the authority to exclude Crowder's testimony unless appellant conceded to psychiatric examination by the State, but only if he had introduced the psychiatric testimony first. Appellant argues that his case is factually distinguishable from Lagrone and Soria because in his case the State introduced psychiatric testimony first, and he merely offered Crowder's testimony in rebuttal.
The holdings of Soria and Lagrone are governed by the principle that if a defendant breaks his silence to speak to his own psychiatric expert and introduces that testimony which is based on such interview, he has constructively taken the stand and waived his fifth amendment right to refuse to submit to the State's psychiatric experts. The focus is the defendant's choice to break his silence. The issue is not whether appellant introduced psychiatric evidence or merely rebutted such evidence. The issue is whether the psychiatric testimony he intended to introduce was based on his own participation in the psychiatric testing and examination. Appellant intended to introduce psychiatric testimony based upon his participation in a psychiatric examination. This “constitute[s] a waiver of the defendant's fifth amendment privilege in the same manner as would the defendant's election to testify at trial.” Soria, 933 S.W.2d at 54. Appellant cannot claim a fifth amendment privilege in refusing to submit to the State's psychiatric examinations and then introduce evidence gained through his participation in his own psychiatric examination. The essential principles at work in Lagrone and Soria are waiver and parity; if a defendant testifies, even in mere rebuttal, the State may be allowed to cross-examine him. Lagrone, 942 S.W.2d at 611; Soria, 933 S.W.2d at 54. That appellant intended to introduce Crowder's testimony in rebuttal after the State had introduced DeKleva's testimony does not address, much less override, these waiver and parity principles. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in conditionally excluding Crowder's testimony. Appellant's first point of error is overruled.
In point of error four appellant argues that direct appeal to this court denies him due process, in violation of the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the federal constitution. In point of error five appellant avers he is being denied due course of law, in violation of Article 1, section 19 of the Texas Constitution. Appellant argues that he is being treated disparately because if his case were reviewed by a court of intermediate appeals, as are all non-death criminal cases, the intermediate court would be compelled to review the factual sufficiency of the evidence supporting the special issues.
Appellant's argument is flawed. It is not a lack of power or jurisdiction that prevents this Court from conducting a factual sufficiency review of the special issues. See Clewis, 922 S.W.2d at 129-131. It is the nature of the special issues, which are mixed questions of fact and moral responses to the evidence, which makes factual sufficiency reviews impossible. See McGinn v. State, 961 S.W.2d 161, 168 (Tex.Crim.App.1998). Such questions evade factual sufficiency reviews because the reviewer has no accurate means of weighing the jury's moral response to the evidence. Id. Thus, even if appeal were to the intermediate appellate courts, the special issues would elude factual sufficiency review. Appellant's fourth and fifth points of error are overruled.
Citing Simmons v. South Carolina, 512 U.S. 154, 114 S.Ct. 2187, 129 L.Ed.2d 133 (1994), appellant argues in his sixth point of error that the trial court offended the federal constitution when it instructed the jury at punishment that it was not to consider “how long [appellant] may be required to serve a sentence that is imposed” as “such matters ... come within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.” FN2 Article 37.0711 § 3(b)(2). Acknowledging that our decision in Smith v. State, 898 S.W.2d 838 (Tex.Crim.App.1995)(plurality), is against him, appellant argues that Simmons ' rationale compels instructing the jury on parole. Nothing in appellant's arguments is distinguishable from those rejected in Smith or its progeny. See Broxton v. State, 909 S.W.2d 912, 919 (Tex.Crim.App.1995) (making Smith plurality a majority). Appellant's sixth point of error is overruled.
FN2. Appellant's request for the following charge was denied:When you decide whether the Defendant will continually commit violent crimes, you must consider the fact that if given a life sentence he will be sentenced to life in prison and will therefore not live among society in the free world. Thus, if you believe that the Defendant will not continually commit violent crimes in prison, you must answer Special Issue No. I “no”, even if you believe there is a likelihood he would do so if he was a free man.”
In point of error seven appellant complains the trial court erred in admitting into evidence State's Exhibit No. 90, which shows that a number of obscene calls were traced by Bell Atlantic to appellant's telephone at work. At trial appellant objected generally on hearsay grounds; on appeal he argues that the proper predicate was not laid for the admission of the records under the business records exception to hearsay. Tex.R.Crim. Evid. 802 and 803(6). The State responds that the general hearsay objection was not specific enough to preserve the arguments raised on appeal and that any error was harmless because the same information contained in the records was admitted through the un-objected to testimony of various witnesses.
It is well established that questions regarding the admission of evidence are rendered moot if the same evidence is elsewhere introduced without objection; any error in admitting evidence over a proper objection is harmless if the same evidence is subsequently admitted without objection. McFarland v. State, 845 S.W.2d 824, 840 (Tex.Crim.App.1992). In the case at bar, the information contained in State's Exhibit No. 90 was introduced without objection in the examination of the witness who produced the exhibit, Caroline Hogan of Bell Atlantic, and in the cross examination of appellant's former employer, Jeff Werner. Appellant's seventh point of error is overruled.
In point of error eight appellant claims the trial court erred in admitting evidence of his obscene phone calls because the State failed to “clearly prove” that he perpetrated the offenses. Burks v. State, 876 S.W.2d 877, 909 (Tex.Crim.App.1994). Appellant correctly asserts that the admission of unadjudicated extraneous offenses is contingent upon clear proof that the offense was committed and that the defendant perpetrated the offense. Applying the “clear proof” standard on review, we evaluate the trial court's ruling solely to determine whether it was in that zone of reasonable disagreement. Id. We will not conduct a de novo review of the evidence so as to superimpose our own analysis of the evidence over an equally plausible interpretation of the trial court. Id. The evidence is sufficient to establish appellant's identity as perpetrator of the alleged offenses.
Caroline Hogan testified that after receiving complaints about obscene phone calls to two Pennsylvania establishments, Bell Atlantic traced a number of subsequent calls to a telephone extension registered to Meridian Computer, a telemarketing firm. Jeff Werner, owner of Meridian Computer, testified that each salesman's telephone was limited to an assigned geographical area. Werner testified that a computer system recorded each salesman's calls, so that supervisors could see from what extension a call was made, what time it was made, the number dialed and the length of the call. When Werner was informed by the police about the obscene calls to Pennsylvania, he ran the two phone numbers given to him by the police through his computer system. Appellant's extension was shown as the number from which the calls originated. Appellant was confronted with these facts and though he never admitted to the phone calls, the calls ceased after appellant was confronted. This evidence “clearly proves” appellant's identity as the perpetrator of the offenses. Appellant's eighth point of error is overruled.
In his ninth point of error, appellant argues the State violated Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), in its peremptory strike against venireman Frankie Jordan. Appellant claims the trial court erred in overruling his Batson objection. The State responds that appellant failed to establish a prima facie case of racial discrimination and alternatively, that appellant failed to prove purposeful discrimination.
In Batson, the Supreme Court outlined the test for challenges to the State's peremptory strikes. Initially, the defendant must establish a prima facie showing of racial bias in the State's exercise of its peremptory strikes. The burden then shifts to the State to articulate race-neutral explanations for its questioned strikes. The defendant may rebut these explanations. The trial court must then determine whether the defendant has carried his burden of proving racial discrimination. The trial court's determination represents a finding of fact accorded great deference and will not be overturned unless clearly erroneous. Adanandus v. State, 866 S.W.2d 210, 224 (Tex.Crim.App.1993).
The State argues appellant did not establish a prima facie case. However, because the State failed to object to the absence of a ruling on appellant's prima facie case, that issue is moot. Chambers v. State, 866 S.W.2d 9, 23 (Tex.Crim.App.1993). The only question remaining is whether appellant met his burden of establishing racial discrimination. Id. Appellant fails to carry his burden.
After appellant challenged the State's peremptory strike of Jordan, the prosecutor explained, essentially, that her instincts about Jordan told her that he was not a good juror for the State, noting in particular Jordan's comments that though he had not contemplated the death penalty, per se, his verdict would include the knowledge that mistakes can be made and occasionally result in people being wrongly convicted of crimes which they did not commit. Appellant rebuts that there was no meaningful examination of Jordan and argues that the State's explanation is obviously a pretext for a racial strike since it bears no rational relationship to the case at bar.
Contrary to appellant's assertions, the State's explanation is race neutral on its face and in the context of peremptory strikes, which may be more intuitive than rational, the explanation is reasonable. Noting the absence of any real rebuttal-for example, that no white venire members with similar views were ignored by the State-we cannot hold that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that appellant failed to carry its burden. Appellant's ninth point of error is overruled.
Appellant contends in point of error ten that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence photographs that were more prejudicial than probative. Tex. R. Evid. 403. Specifically, appellant complains of the following: (Exhibit No. 63) a closeup of the victim's face with brain matter extruded through the large wound on the side of the head, (Exhibit No. 64) a closeup of torn skin around the bullet wound to the head, (Exhibit No. 65) a closeup of the exit wound in the back of the head, (Exhibit No. 66) an overview of the rear of the victim's body with exit and reentry wounds clearly visible, (Exhibit No. 67) a closeup of the reentry wound on the back of the victim's shoulder, (Exhibit No. 71) a closeup of the victim's duct-taped hands from underneath, (Exhibit No. 72) a closeup of the victim's bound hands from the side, and (Exhibit No. 73) a closeup of the victim's bound hands from the side. The photographs were in color and accompanied the testimony of the State's pathologist.
Rule 403 provides that although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury. Several factors may be considered in determining whether the danger of unfair prejudice substantially outweighs the probative value of photographs, including the number of exhibits offered, their gruesomeness, their detail, their size, whether they are black and white or color, whether they are close-up, whether the body is naked or clothed, and the availability of other means of proof and the circumstances unique to each individual case. Emery v. State, 881 S.W.2d 702, 710 (Tex.Crim.App.1994)(quoting Long v. State, 823 S.W.2d 259, 272 (Tex.Crim.App.1991)). The admissibility of photographs is within the sound discretion of the trial judge. Jones v. State, 843 S.W.2d 487, 501 (Tex.Crim.App.1992).
According to the briefs, the size of the original exhibits is uncertain but probably 8 1/2 ” x 11” and the exhibits were in color. Appellant does not allege any tampering, enhancement, or attempt by the State to inflame, confuse, or mislead the jury in its presentation of the photographs. The photographs depict nothing outside of what was included in the testimony of the State's pathologist, Dr. Jeffery Barnard. Indeed, appellant's primary argument is that because the photographs merely corroborated Barnard's testimony and communicated uncontested information, their probative value was insignificant compared to their inflammatory nature.
We reject the premise that visual evidence accompanying oral testimony is cumulative of the testimony or that it is of insignificant probative value. Visual evidence accompanying testimony is most persuasive and often gives the fact finder a point of comparison against which to test the credibility of a witness and the validity of his conclusions. Nor do we agree with appellant's assertion that the photographs are inflammatory. The photographs are gruesome in that they depict disagreeable realities, but they depict nothing more than the reality of the brutal crime committed. And it is precisely because they depict the reality of this offense that they are powerful visual evidence, probative of various aspects of the State's case. As we stated in Sonnier:
Appellant must realize that it is precisely the quality which we describe as “powerful” which gives rise to his arguments that the photographs are prejudicially inflammatory. But when the power of the visible evidence emanates from nothing more than what the defendant has himself done we cannot hold that the trial court has abused its discretion merely because it admitted the evidence. A trial court does not err merely because it admits into evidence photographs which are gruesome. 913 S.W.2d 511, 519 (Tex.Crim.App.1995). Indeed, we find the photographs in this case and appellant's complaints legally indistinguishable from those raised and rejected in Sonnier.
Finding that the photographs are not more prejudicial than probative, we hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the photographs of which appellant complains. Appellant's tenth point of error is overruled.
In his eleventh point of error, appellant argues the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the definitions of the statutory terms probability, deliberately, criminal acts of violence and continuing threat to society. Art. 37.0711 § 3(b)(1) and (2). Appellant also argues that the trial court erred in refusing to define the terms because they are unconstitutionally vague and violate the requirement that capital offenses be narrowly defined and death be imposed without caprice. It is well settled that no jury charge defining these terms is required. King v. State, 553 S.W.2d 105, 107 (Tex.Crim.App.1977). Similarly, appellant's attack on the constitutionality of Article 37.0711 on grounds of vagueness and caprice cannot survive the holding of Jurek v. Texas, 428 U.S. 262, 96 S.Ct. 2950, 49 L.Ed.2d 929 (1976)(upholding the constitutionality of Article 37.071). Appellant's eleventh point of error is overruled.
Appellant complains in his twelfth point of error that the 12-10 rule of Article 37.0711, § 3(d)(1) and (2), which requires at least ten “no” votes for a jury to reach a negative answer to the first and second special issues and at least ten “yes” votes for the jury to return an affirmative answer to the mitigation special issue, violates the eighth amendment and due process guarantees of the United States Constitution. See also Art. 37.0711 § 3(f)(2). This Court has repeatedly rejected this argument. E.g., McFarland v. State, 928 S.W.2d 482, 519 (Tex.Crim.App.1996). Appellant also argues that jurors must be informed that their single vote may give effect to the mitigation special issue; apparently, appellant is here challenging the constitutionality of Article 37.0711 § 3(i), prohibiting anyone from informing jurors of the effects of a deadlock. This Court has repeatedly rejected this argument. Id. Appellant's twelfth point of error is overruled.
In points of error thirteen and fourteen, appellant cites Justice Blackmun's dissenting opinion in Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141, 114 S.Ct. 1127, 127 L.Ed.2d 435 (1994), to argue that there exists irreconcilable tension between the constitutional requirements of eliminating caprice from the imposition of the death penalty and of allowing each juror a well reasoned moral response to the evidence. Appellant argues under the federal and state constitutions, respectively. This argument has been repeatedly rejected. E.g., McFarland, 928 S.W.2d at 520. Appellant's thirteenth and fourteenth points of error are overruled.
In points of error fifteen and sixteen, appellant argues the cumulative effect of all of the above alleged errors denies him due process and due course of law. Appellant argues that even if none of the errors alone rose to the magnitude of constitutional breach, their cumulative effect does. It is conceivable that a number of errors may be found harmful in their cumulative effect. See e.g., Stahl v. State, 749 S.W.2d 826, 832 (Tex.Crim.App.1988) (holding harm lies in the cumulative effect of the outburst and the improper arguments). But, we are aware of no authority holding that non-errors may in their cumulative effect cause error. Appellant's fifteenth and sixteenth point of error are overruled.
The judgment of the trial court is AFFIRMED. WOMACK, J., joins the opinion of the Court, except as to point of error three; WOMACK, J., delivered a concurring opinion. WOMACK, J., filed a concurring opinion.
I join the judgment of the Court and, except as to Point of Error Three, its opinion. The Court should review the factual sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury's verdict on the probability that the appellant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society.
Chamberlain v. Quarterman, 239 Fed.Appx. 21 (5th Cir. 2007) (Habeas).
This case was not selected for publication in the Federal Reporter.
Background: Following appellate affirmance, 998 S.W.2d 230, of his state court conviction of capital murder and sentence of death, and denial of his state court habeas petition, petitioner sought federal writ of habeas corpus. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas denied petition, and petitioner sought certificate of appealability (COA).
Holding: The Court of Appeals, Edith Brown Clement, Circuit Judge, held that petitioner did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel at any phase of trial. Certificate of appealability denied.
The district court denied Karl Chamberlain's petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which Chamberlain challenged his capital murder conviction and death sentence. Chamberlain requests a certificate of appealability (“COA”) on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims. We DENY Chamberlain's request for COA.
I. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
Felicia Prechtl was murdered on August 2, 1991. That day, she had arranged for her brother and his girlfriend to babysit her young son so that she could go out with her friends in the evening. Around 6:00 p.m., Prechtl's brother and his girlfriend departed with Prechtl's son to go to the grocery store, leaving Prechtl to get ready. When they returned to Prechtl's apartment, they noticed that the bathroom door was closed and that Prechtl's clothes were still in the hallway. Eventually, Prechtl's brother entered the bathroom and saw Prechtl lying face down, with her jeans and underwear pulled down to her knees, and her wrists and ankles bound by duct tape. She was otherwise wearing no clothing, and blood was pooled around her head.
An autopsy determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the head. The trajectory of the bullet was consistent *23 with Prechtl sitting on the toilet or kneeling on the floor. A .30 caliber cartridge was recovered. A rape examination found sperm in Prechtl's anal cavity, and a specimen was preserved as evidence. A roll of duct tape was also collected as evidence. Fingerprints from the duct tape were submitted for comparison with records in the police department's database, but no matches materialized.
Five years later, in 1996, the fingerprints were resubmitted for comparison, and several potential matches were identified, among them those of Chamberlain. Chamberlain had lived in the same apartment complex as Prechtl at the time of the murder. On July 17, 1996, he was arrested. Detective Kenneth Penrod interviewed Chamberlain, and Chamberlain provided a written statement to the police that he had killed Prechtl. According to the statement, he had been drinking on the day of the murder and went to Prechtl's apartment to borrow some sugar. He claimed that, when she answered the door, she was scantily dressed and that she gave him the sugar and told him to leave. He stated that, while preparing to take his dogs for a walk, he decided to return to Prechtl's apartment and did so with duct tape and a rifle. He claimed that he had consensual anal intercourse with her but shot her after she threatened to tell his wife. He stated that, afterwards, he took his dogs for a walk. In the interview, Chamberlain alerted the police that the rifle could be found at his father's house. Chamberlain also provided samples of blood that were used to match the DNA profile from the sperm collected.
In 1997, a jury found Chamberlain guilty of capital murder and sentenced him to death. The case was appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and the court affirmed. See Chamberlain v. State, 998 S.W.2d 230 (Tex.Crim.App.1999). Chamberlain petitioned for a writ of certiorari, but the Court denied the petition. Chamberlain v. Texas, 528 U.S. 1082, 120 S.Ct. 805, 145 L.Ed.2d 678 (2000). Chamberlain filed a state habeas petition that was denied in an unpublished order in September 2000. In 2001, Chamberlain filed a federal habeas petition, which was denied in November 2005. The district court also denied Chamberlain a COA on his claims. Chamberlain now requests a COA before this court on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Because this appeal arises from a federal habeas petition filed in 2001, after the effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), AEDPA applies to Chamberlain's claims. See Neal v. Puckett, 286 F.3d 230, 235 (5th Cir.2002). This court will grant a COA only if the petitioner makes “a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). To satisfy this standard, a petitioner must demonstrate that “jurists of reason could disagree with the district court's resolution of his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327, 123 S.Ct. 1029, 154 L.Ed.2d 931 (2003).
The Supreme Court has emphasized that determining whether a COA should issue is a threshold inquiry and that “[t]he question is the debatability of the underlying constitutional claim, not the resolution of that debate.” Id. at 342, 123 S.Ct. 1029. At this stage, we do not conduct a full investigation into the factual and legal bases for each claim but instead “conduct an overview of the claims and a general assessment of their merits.” *24 Wright v. Quarterman, 470 F.3d 581, 585 (5th Cir.2006). Because the petitioner is subject to the death penalty, any doubts as to whether a COA should issue must be resolved in the petitioner's favor. Hernandez v. Johnson, 213 F.3d 243, 248 (5th Cir.2000).
We recognize that the district court's review of Chamberlain's claims was subject to the standard imposed by AEDPA. A federal court may not issue a writ of habeas corpus “with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings” unless the state court's decision was (1) “contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court,” or (2) “was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
The Sixth Amendment right to counsel entitles the defendant to “a reasonably competent attorney, whose advice is within the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases.” United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 655, 104 S.Ct. 2039, 80 L.Ed.2d 657 (1984) (internal quotation omitted). To succeed on an ineffective assistance claim, Chamberlain must demonstrate that (1) his counsel's performance “fell below an objective standard of reasonableness” and (2) that the “deficient performance prejudiced the defense.” See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-88, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). Prejudice to the defense means that “counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable.” Id. at 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052. There is an initial presumption that counsel's decisions are reasonable. Id. at 689, 104 S.Ct. 2052. Deficient representation occurs when “counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the ‘counsel’ guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment.” Id. at 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052. As we have said, It bears repeating that the test for federal habeas purposes is not whether [the petitioner] made that showing [under Strickland ]. Instead, the test is whether the state court's decision-that [the petitioner] did not make the Strickland showing-was contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, the standards, provided by the clearly established federal law ( Strickland ), for succeeding on his [ineffective assistance of counsel] claim. Schaetzle v. Cockrell, 343 F.3d 440, 444 (5th Cir.2003). Additionally, an ineffective assistance of counsel claim is a mixed question of law and fact, and under AEDPA, a state's factual findings are presumed correct unless rebutted by the petitioner with clear and convincing evidence. Kitchens v. Johnson, 190 F.3d 698, 700-01 (5th Cir.1999).
Chamberlain argues that his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated by virtue of ineffective assistance of counsel during three stages: (1) the plea bargaining stage, (2) the guilt-innocence phase of the trial, and (3) the punishment phase of the trial.
A. Ineffective assistance during plea bargaining
Chamberlain argues, as he did before the district court, that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately explain the plea bargain that the state had offered. Under the plea bargain offered by the state, Chamberlain would plead guilty to murder and burglary and receive two stacked life sentences. Chamberlain alleges that he was dissuaded from accepting the plea offer because of his counsel's representations about how long he would *25 spend in jail and whether he would be paroled. According to Chamberlain, no competent counsel would make predictions about the length of time a defendant could spend in jail or the possibility of a defendant's parole.
While the state habeas court did not issue its own written opinion, it adopted various factual findings and conclusions of law. Among them, the court determined that Chamberlain's attorney at that time, Rick Magnis, told Chamberlain that, if he accepted the plea, he would not be eligible for parole for thirty years. The court found this calculation to be correct. According to the findings, Magnis told Chamberlain that he might never be paroled and that he could not predict how long Chamberlain would spend in prison because of the seriousness of the offense. The court found that Magnis correctly told Chamberlain that only the Board of Pardon and Paroles could ultimately decide when, or if, Chamberlain would be paroled. Based on an affidavit submitted by Magnis, the court determined that Magnis had another attorney with experience in death penalty cases explain the plea offer to Chamberlain as well. The court concluded that Chamberlain opted not to accept the plea offer and that Magnis rendered effective assistance of counsel by frankly advising Chamberlain that he might never be paroled.
“In determining whether or not to plead guilty, the defendant should be made aware of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences so that he can make an intelligent choice.” Teague v. Scott, 60 F.3d 1167, 1170 (5th Cir.1995). Generally, the failure of defense counsel to inform the defendant about a plea bargain amounts to ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. Here, Chamberlain was made aware of the plea offer, and both his defense counsel and another experienced attorney advised him about the possible consequences of accepting the plea offer. Though Chamberlain argues that his attorney should not have made predictions about the possibility of parole, the state court's factual findings show that Magnis told Chamberlain that only the Board of Pardon and Paroles could ultimately decide about Chamberlain's parole. Chamberlain was not misled by his attorney, and if he was dissuaded from accepting the plea because of the potential length of the prison term, it was Chamberlain's choice to decline the plea offer.
The federal district court determined that Chamberlain failed to demonstrate that the state habeas court was unreasonable in finding his counsel's assistance effective. We agree with the district court that the state court's conclusion that the performance of Chamberlain's attorney was not deficient was a reasonable application of Strickland. We hold that jurists of reason would not find the district court's resolution of this claim debatable or wrong.
B. Ineffective assistance during the guilt-innocence phase of trial
Chamberlain had new counsel at trial, Wayne Huff and Doug Parks. Before the state habeas court, Chamberlain argued that his attorneys provided ineffective assistance because they failed to call any fact witnesses during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. The state habeas court determined that, because Chamberlain confessed to the crime and because there was overwhelming corroborative evidence of his guilt, it was a reasonable trial strategy for defense counsel to decline to present witnesses. The court also noted that Chamberlain failed to demonstrate that there were any witnesses who could have testified on his behalf.
In federal district court, Chamberlain argued that his attorneys provided ineffective assistance because they failed to call any fact witnesses, and specifically, Chamberlain himself. He claims that, if he had been put on the witness stand, he could have testified that the statement in which he confessed to the crime was not entirely in his own words. Chamberlain argues that, because his confession statement reflected a violent and unprovoked murder, he should have testified in order to establish that the statement was partially crafted by the detective to whom he spoke. In response, the Director contends that Chamberlain's claim that he received ineffective assistance because he was not put on the witness stand is procedurally defaulted.
The federal district court determined that Chamberlain's claim was procedurally barred because he did not raise it before the state habeas court; the district court also found that, even if the claim were not procedurally barred, it would fail on the merits. Our task at this stage is only to determine whether Chamberlain's claim deserves encouragement to proceed further. See Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 327, 123 S.Ct. 1029 (“A petitioner satisfies [the COA standard] by demonstrating that jurists of reason could disagree with the district court's resolution of his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.”). Accordingly, because we agree with the district court that Chamberlain's claim fails on the merits, we will assume without deciding that his claim was not procedurally defaulted.
Chamberlain argues that his counsels' strategy to not put him on the witness stand during the guilt-innocence phase was unreasonable. However, in addition to the signed confession, the prosecution had strong corroborating evidence of his guilt, including fingerprint matches, DNA evidence, and a rifle cartridge. With such strong evidence of guilt, trial counsel may have decided that, as a matter of strategy, it would be futile to place Chamberlain on the witness stand and to do so would also have exposed him to damaging cross-examination. Both the state habeas court and the federal district court observed that the focus of trial counsels' efforts, because of the overwhelming evidence of guilt, was not on the guilt-innocence phase of the trial but instead on the punishment phase. The state habeas court concluded that, because of the overwhelming evidence of guilt, Chamberlain could not show that his counsels' performance in not putting him on the witness stand during the guilt-innocence phase fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and prejudiced his defense. We hold that the state habeas court's conclusion was a reasonable application of Strickland and that jurists of reason would not find the resolution of this claim debatable or wrong.
C. Ineffective assistance during the punishment phase of trial
Finally, Chamberlain argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the punishment phase because his attorneys did not call him as a witness to testify as to his remorse. Chamberlain acknowledges that the jury heard evidence of his remorse from other sources but contends that a jury could not be convinced about his remorse without hearing from him directly.
The state habeas court determined that it was a reasonable strategy to advise Chamberlain against testifying. The court noted that defense counsel called twenty-one witnesses during the punishment phase, including Chamberlain's parents, a former therapist, and sixteen friends. *27 Each of Chamberlain's friends testified that he had never acted in a dangerous manner in their presence. Chamberlain's former therapist testified that, during their sessions, Chamberlain admitted to his involvement in the murder and that Chamberlain was “seeking forgiveness in some way.” The therapist stated that, when he instructed Chamberlain to address an empty chair as if Prechtl were there, Chamberlain was “grief-stricken” and expressed sorrow for both Prechtl and her son. A former Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor testified that Chamberlain admitted having committed the crime to him and that Chamberlain was “very regretful” and concerned in particular about Prechtl's son. The AA sponsor stated that he believed that Chamberlain was being genuine. Through these witnesses, defense counsel presented evidence of Chamberlain's remorse. The state habeas court concluded that it was a reasonable trial strategy to use these witnesses and to advise the defendant against testifying so as not to expose him to cross-examination. The court also noted that the ultimate decision whether or not to testify was Chamberlain's.
Where defense counsel's decision concerning which witnesses to place on the stand during the punishment phase reflects a sound tactical strategy, a court will not find ineffective assistance of counsel. See Boyle v. Johnson, 93 F.3d 180, 187-88 (5th Cir.1996). The state habeas court determined that Chamberlain had not demonstrated that his defense counsel's advice against testifying constituted ineffective assistance. In light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding, we hold, as the district court also found, that the decision of the state habeas court was not based on an unreasonable application of the Strickland standard. Jurists of reason would not find the district court's resolution of this claim debatable or wrong.
IV. CONCLUSION This court may not grant a COA if there is no doubt that reasonable jurists would agree with the district court's resolution and that the issues presented are not adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further. Chamberlain's request for a COA is DENIED.