James Edward Clayton

Executed May 25, 2000 by Lethal Injection in Texas

38th murderer executed in U.S. in 2000
636th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
18th murderer executed in Texas in 2000
217th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Since 1976
Date of Execution
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Method of
to Murderer
Date of
Lethal Injection
James Edward Clayton

B / M / 20 - 33

Lori Michelle Barrett

W / F / 27


Elementary school teacher Lori Barrett was last seen alive as she left her night job, at the Dillard's department store in Abilene, Texas, on the evening of Sept. 17, 1987. When she did not arrive home, the school superintendent, Cecil Davis, drove to Lori's house. He found no one at home and reported her missing to police. Later that day, police went to her home, which appeared in normal condition ecept for a bathroom window ajar and glass in the sink. Pry marks were found outside the window and her car was missing. Her car was later found abandoned at Abilene Christian University. A private investigator hired by the family eventually questioned an acquaintance of Clayton, who said that he had seen Clayton driving the car on September 17th, and that he had borrowed the car from someone named Lori. Clayton lived only a half block away from Lori's home and when questioned by police, admitted that he had been driving the car without her permission. He was then arrested for unlawful use of a motor vehicle. In a trash dumpster outside Clayton's apartment, Lori's sister discovered the license plate from Lori's car, mail with Lori's name on it, and a belt which Lori had worn on September 17th. Executing a search warrant on Clayton's home, police found an insurance card with Lori Barrett's name on it. Barrett's body was ultimately found on September 29th in neighboring Jones County. The body, already in a state of advanced decomposition, was wrapped in a blanket, secured with black electrical wire. The coroner stated that there had been two "through-and-through" high velocity gunshot wounds to Lori's head and neck. He also noted that a ligature and gag had been applied to her neck and mouth. A Remington Peters .243 caliber cartridge case was also found. Lori Barrett's body was identified through the use of dental records. In second search of Clayton's home, police recovered a Winchester .243 caliber rifle and ammunition, later determined to be the murder weapon. Clayton claimed that he had stolen the rifle that was used as the murder weapon from a former roommate's home about a week before the murder.


Internet Sources:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (James Clayton)

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Texas Attorney General Media Advisory

MEDIA ADVISORY: James Edward Clayton Scheduled to be Executed - May 25, 2000.

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on James Edward Clayton who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m.,Thursday, May 25th:


Lori Barrett was last seen alive as she left her night job, at the Dillard's department store in Abilene, Texas, on the evening of Sept. 17, 1987. That night, Barrett's co-worker, Pamela Cummings, unsuccessfully attempted to call Lori at home, between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. The next morning, Cummings again unsuccessfully tried to contact Lori. Lori, also a teacher at the Hawley, Texas, elementary school, failed to report to work on the morning of Sept. 18. Cummings was alarmed because Lori should have arrived home from Dillard's between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m on Sept. 17. Cummings then contacted Lori's school principal to determine if she was ill, and, finding that the administration had not heard from her, Cummings informed the Hawley School District's superintendent of her inability to make contact with Lori. The superintendent, Cecil Davis, was familiar with Lori's usual work habits and decided that her unusual absence warranted a visit to her house. Davis drove to Lori's house in Abilene, knocked on the door and, receiving no response, asked her neighbors if they had seen her. The neighbors stated that they had not seen Lori, and Davis immediately went to an Abilene police station. His report (along with another similar report by Lori's sister) prompted the Abilene Police Department to begin a missing person investigation.

Later that day, members of the Abilene Police Department, escorted by Lori's brother-in-law, entered Lori's house. The locked house appeared to be in normal condition (although the security chain had been left latched on the front door), but on closer inspection it was discovered that a bathroom window was slightly ajar, that a sink tile had been dislodged and that a small amount of grass was in the sink. The bathroom window was known to be difficult to operate, and Lori had always needed the assistance of her brother-in-law to open it. A police officer also found scrape marks on the outside of the window frame that were consistent with prying with a flat blade screwdriver. A screwdriver was found on a brick ledge nearby. Lori's car was also missing. Police also found an earring Lori had worn on Sept. 17, and a curling iron with the cord cut off.

Shortly thereafter, the Abilene police were called to the Abilene Christian University (ACU) campus to investigate a wrecked and abandoned car. The police determined that the car belonged to Lori Barrett. In the interim, Lori's family had decided to hire William Hurley, a private investigator. Hurley began to investigate the circumstances surrounding the wrecked car, and eventually questioned one of James Edward Clayton's acquaintances who had seen Clayton with the car around 11:00 p.m. on the night of Sept. 17, and also at the time of the wreck on the morning of the 18th. The acquaintance told Hurley that Clayton said that he had borrowed the car from someone named Lori.

On Sept. 23, police officers went to Clayton's residence, a garage apartment approximately half a block away from Lori's house. Clayton was told that the police were investigating the accident involving Lori's car, and Clayton admitted that he had been driving the car without her permission. Clayton was advised of his rights and then consented to a search of his apartment. Following questioning, Clayton declined to voluntarily accompany officers to the Abilene police station, and was arrested for unlawful use of a motor vehicle. In a trash dumpster outside Clayton's apartment, Lori's sister discovered the license plate from Lori's car, mail with Lori's name on it, and a bag. The bag contained a belt which Lori had worn on Sept.17th and a partially eaten hamburger. A search warrant for Clayton's residence was obtained on Sept. 24, and, once inside, the police discovered an insurance card with Lori Barrett's name on it.

Following publicity in the local media and at Barrett's church, a large scale search for her began in the Abilene area. Her body was ultimately found on Sept. 29 in neighboring Jones County. The body, already in a state of advanced decomposition, was wrapped in a blanket, secured with black electrical wire. A Remington Peters .243 caliber cartridge case was also found. Lori Barrett's body was identified through the use of dental records.

The police then obtained an evidentiary search warrant for certain items they had previously observed in Clayton's apartment. Among the items seized there were a pair of boots, a Winchester .243 caliber rifle, and .243 caliber ammunition. Lab analysis of the rifle and ammunition produced a positive match with the cartridge case found at the scene. Clayton was then charged with murder and capital murder.

Clayton had been extremely agitated because his girlfriend, in the days prior to Lori's disappearance, was trying to end their relationship. Clayton was reportedly upset and wanted to "kill his girlfriend and her parents and their dog." Clayton told a friend that he had been in the military, that he "was trained to kill," that "killing was the only way he could vent his anger, and it was the only thing he could do about it." Lori's neighbor recalled having heard screams at approximately 9:55 p.m. on the night of her disappearance, and the volume and duration of the screams prompted him to arm himself prior to investigating the sound. Although he was unable to locate the source, the screams were loud enough to be heard over the sounds of a rainstorm that night.

The coroner, Dr. James Weiner, stated that there had been two "through-and-through" high velocity gunshot wounds to Lori's head and neck. He also noted that a ligature and gag had been applied to her neck and mouth, respectively. The doctor explained that although Lori's body had only been deceased for a maximum of 12 days, the mechanics of decomposition had been accelerated by the mid-Sept. heat. This had produced a body condition in which it was impossible to determine whether other factors, e.g., manual or ligature strangulation, had contributed to Barrett's death. Thus, the medical examiner could only be certain as to the rifle wounds, and he announced that although strangulation could not be ruled out as a theoretical cause of death, the gunshot wounds were certainly fatal and that the proper cause of death should be listed as "homicidal violence."


Clayton was indicted in the 104th District Court of Taylor County, Texas on Dec. 10, 1987, for the capital offense of murdering Lori Barrett, in the course of committing burglary, kidnapping, and robbery, on or about Sept. 17, 1987. Clayton pleaded not guilty and a jury found him guilty of three counts of capital murder on Nov. 3, 1988. Following a separate punishment hearing, the trial court sentenced Clayton to death on Nov. 10, 1988. Clayton's conviction and sentence was automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and the court affirmed his conviction and sentence on Jan. 27, 1993. Clayton's petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 1993.

On Feb. 4, 1994, Clayton requested an appointment of counsel for the purpose of filing a state habeas corpus appeal. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied the motion on Mar. 1, 1994. Clayton then requested counsel in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. On Feb. 25, 1994, the district court denied federal habeas counsel on the grounds that Clayton had not exhausted state court remedies by filing an application for writ of habeas corpus in state court. Clayton appealed the denial of counsel to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court remanded the matter to the Fifth Circuit, which sent the case back to the district court. The district court granted Clayton's request and appointed counsel to prepare a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Before filing his federal petition, Clayton requested expert and investigative assistance on Feb. 3, 1995, and his request was denied. Clayton appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which denied the request on June 27, 1995. Clayton then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, which was denied on Feb. 20, 1996. Clayton then filed a federal habeas corpus petition, which was dismissed on Dec. 15, 1995, for failure to exhaust state court remedies. The Court of Criminal Appeals then granted Clayton's second request for counsel on Dec. 16, 1996. Clayton filed an application for writ of habeas corpus in state court on Apr. 24, 1997. The trial court recommended that relief be denied on Dec. 5, 1997. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief based on the trial court's recommendation on Jan. 28, 1998.

On Aug.. 19, 1998, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas appointed counsel for the filing of a second federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The habeas petition was filed on Sept. 17, 1998, but the district court denied relief on Dec. 17, 1998. The district court denied permission to appeal on Jan. 19, 1999. Clayton requested permission to appeal from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Apr. 20, 1999. Permission was subsequently denied on Oct. 1, 1999. The Supreme Court denied Clayton's petition for writ of certiorari on Apr. 3, 2000.


Clayton claimed that he had stolen the rifle that was used as the murder weapon from a former roommate's home about a week before the murder. Clayton also bragged that he had broken into people's houses and that he considered himself a good burglar. Clayton told acquaintance Andy Vitez that his mind was "criminally oriented" and that he would never get caught in his actions. He thought of himself as "very intimidating and violent and aggressive." He had also charged an "enormous" telephone bill on a phone card stolen from Andy Vitez. Clayton had confessed to using a credit card stolen in a burglary. He was found in possession of property taken from a neighbor's home, as well as property taken from others' homes.

While on a skiing trip, Clayton told several acquaintances that he could "just go kill a guy . . . because he didn't like him," referring to an unknown man who was walking by. Clayton said he would stick an ice pick into the back of the man's neck and into his brain, and that he would scramble his brain and turn him into a vegetable. Then Clayton performed a demonstration of how he would do this and how the man would flop around on the ground afterward. He said he would hide the man's body and be long gone before anyone smelled it. Clayton entered a shuttle bus while on the skiing trip, saying that he wanted to "hotwire" it. He also stated that he wanted to break into a motel room and kill everybody in it. Clayton stated that he admired his father for killing his neighbor's dog because it barked. He also said that he wanted to be in the army because it was "a license to kill."

Also while on the ski trip, Clayton told a female classmate how to poke or pull someone's eyes out and how he could snap someone's neck. He further told the woman that he was mad at his girlfriend and would kill her, that he knew the layout of her house, that he would break into her house, disarm the burglar alarm, smother her to death, and be gone so that no one would ever know who did it. This woman described him as very full of hate, and as being very frightening. Clayton told her that he wanted to hit someone so hard that it would crush his or her skull and make a loud noise. The woman believed that Clayton was not concerned with right and wrong and that he wanted people to be afraid of him.

Earlier in his life,Clayton was removed from his home as an alternative to incarceration as a juvenile offender for a burglary and for carrying a firearm. At the Boles home for children, he had "worn out his welcome" by the time he was a senior in high school because of discipline issues. Clayton had been in trouble at school for crawling into the windows of girls' rooms at the school. He had been barred from the school for a year. Clayton had also stolen from a family who allowed him to stay in their home.

DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL - There was no evidence of drug or alcohol use connected with the murder.


James Clayton was sentenced to die for the September 17, 1987 abduction/murder of Lori Barrett in Abilene, Texas. Lori was kidnapped after Clayton broke into her apartment through her bedroom window. Her body was found 12 days later and she had been shot in the head, neck and left shoulder. Lori's hands and ankles were tied with telephone cord and she was wrapped in a blanket and dumped on the side of a country road.

CCADP Homepage and Pen Pal Request (James Clayton)

Links to: You can sign the petition here; original trial notes taken by James during his 1988 trial; Institute of Forensic Sciences Report; FBI Lab Report; Brief on Behalf of Applicant.

It was a tragic ending to an otherwise glorious beginning of a wonderfully bright future for Louise Michelle Barrett. To have had her life taken away was truly a tragedy indeed, but the tragedy is compounded, mulitplied and made worse by the Abilene Police Department's inept and shoddy investigative tacticts, the one time District Attorney's pandering to the public for the votes to put him as a judge, the theory that "We've no one better at hand so lets go with him" and ultimately the conviction and call for the life of a man who couldn't have done this crime yet and the courts all seem to overlook this simple fact.

Not only is there no evidence, but what little there is, is very questionable since no one can agree on not only that, but a basic part of any conviction ; the cause of death.

If no one can say how the victim who was killed, why isolate the cause of death as alleged in the indictiment as "death by firearm" ? Not only is this circumstantial but even judges can't say what the charge is, whether its kidnapping / murder , robbery / murder or burglary / murder, they just gloss over all that with "he was found guilty of capital murder," but what is the charge ? Surely they don't expect a man's life to be given up because they think he did something, only they aren't sure. First time in prison, never arrested before now.


I've been on Texas Death Row for 10+ years. Amazing I know but I'm still here fighting. The latest fight has me wondering how a lower court can deny help the Supreme Court says I'm entitled to. Its easy to see the why of it all, but I haven't the luxury of sitting about, deep in thought. The situation is this : My state habeaus was denied so we filed a Certificate of Appeals with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and they also turned down the appeal. The reason we appealed is because I've never been allowed investigative or forensic help and this is crucial in a habeaus and some judge just chooses not to give me what the Supreme Court has declared defendants are allowed. On top of that, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals turned it down just because Texas is known to never allow such help and saw no need to reverse the ruling on the initial habeaus.

I am looking for and requesting whether I can solicit help from those in the field of investigation and forensics ? All up and down the appeals process there's been nothing but stalling and plain old glossing over. There has to be an investigator found to look into how the police just didn't look into the case as they should have, plain and simple. I don't know what more to tell you that the facts don't already say. My lawyer will confirm that this case is worse than a fabrication its right along the area of injustice and help is needed, but as is the case with many of us, we've no money for a competent fight against any death penalty case. After 10 years of seeing Texas law legally kill my fellow prisoners, I know that even an innocent man can be killed. I'm praying not to be listed among the "OOPS WE MADE A MISTAKE" victims so I'm asking your help for me and my severely overworked attorney, who you are very much invited to call and speak to. I do pray something can be done.

Thank you for your time. Peace! Sincerely

ABOLISH Archives (Rick Halperin & Associated Press)

05-25-00 - TEXAS EXECUTION: In Huntsville, a former clerical worker convicted of abducting and killing an elementary school teacher in 1987 was executed by injection Thursday. It was the state's third execution this week.

James Edward Clayton, 33, was condemned for the murder of Lori Barrett, 27, who apparently surprised him while he was robbing her apartment near Abilene Christian University. Barrett's body was found bound with an electrical cord and wrapped in a blanket 12 days after she disappeared. She had been shot in the head, neck and shoulder, and her body had been dumped beside a rural road.

Before his execution, Clayton, who had maintained he was innocent, said he would like to follow Christ's example and ``leave with peace in my heart and forgiveness.'' ``There is no anger in my heart about this entire situation,'' he said.

Clayton, a New York native, was arrested four days before Barrett's body was discovered. A prosecutor said witnesses told authorities they saw Clayton driving Barrett's car after she was reported missing. Her car was found abandoned on the college campus. Police searched Clayton's home nearby and found items belonging to Barrett in a trash container and her car insurance identification card in his residence.

Clayton was among seven inmates who tried to break out of the Ellis Unit on Thanksgiving night 1998. One inmate escaped but was shot by guards as he climbed a fence and later was found dead in a creek not far from the prison. The six others surrendered.

Claton becomes the 18th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 217th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. Clayton becomes the 38th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 636th overall since America resumed executions on Jan. 17, 1977.

Abilene Reporter-News

"Clayton Executed for 1987 Murder," by Jason Gibbs.

(Friday, May 26, 2000) HUNTSVILLE — The convicted killer of a young Abilene woman offered few words of comfort and none that admitted his guilt before he died Thursday night. James Edward Clayton was executed behind the towering, red brick walls of the Huntsville Unit, fulfilling a sentenced handed down by an Abilene jury in 1988.

Clayton was convicted for the murder of 27-year-old Hawley Elementary School teacher Lori Michelle Barrett in 1987. He was the second Abilene killer to die this month. William Joseph Kitchens was executed May 9 for the 1986 rape, robbery and murder of Patricia Leanne Webb.

Four members of Barrett’s family and one family friend witnessed the execution. “He lived too long and died too easy,” Joe Insall, Barrett’s stepfather, said after the execution. Barrett’s mother, Myrna Insall, did not witness the execution, but attended a news conference after the death sentence had been carried out. “She was a wonderful person,” the victim’s mother said as she broke into tears. “This never should have happened to her. This was terrible.” Among the family members who witnessed Clayton’s execution was the victim’s brother, David Barrett. He said he was there to see that Clayton was put to death to ensure he could not repeat his crime. David Barrett noted his sister’s killer had tried to escape once and said he feared Clayton would make the same attempt again.

Clayton was one of seven death row inmates who attempted an escape from the Terrell Unit on Thanksgiving 1998. Shots fired from a watchtower froze all but one of the inmates in their tracks. Martin Gurule, a Corpus Christi killer, was found dead in a creek a week later.

“I don’t think it’s painful enough,” the still-grieving brother said of Clayton’s demise. “I wish the judicial system was a little quicker. But according to the Constitution, even murderers have rights. “I don’t forgive him,” he added.

Before he died, Clayton feasted on a last meal of three fried chicken breasts, a lettuce and cucumber salad with light vinegar dressing and a pitcher of ice water. Dressed in black slacks and a blue shirt, he licked his lips nervously as he lay on the executioner’s gurney.

A former Abilene Christian University athlete and Reserve Officers Training Corps member, Clayton’s still-muscular body was held to the gurney with five restraint straps. He glanced at the window behind which his lawyer, four friends and a spiritual adviser stood to witness his death. “I would like to use this moment as an example for Christ,’’ Clayton said. “I would like to follow his example and leave with peace in my heart and forgiveness. There is no anger in my heart about this entire situation.” Barrett’s family stood silently as the lethal cocktail began to course through the veins of their loved one’s murderer. Clayton struggled to take his last breath before expiring. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m., maintaining his innocence to the end.

During a jailhouse interview Wednesday, Clayton, who was 33, said he did not commit the crime for which he was sentenced to die. He said he bore no ill feelings toward those who he claimed falsely prosecuted him. He said his thoughts the day before his execution were of his family and friends. The killer said he was grateful for their support. “I’m just amazed by the love I’ve been shown for the past 14 years,” said the convicted murderer. “I never thought I was worthy of it.”

Clayton had been on death row since November 1988, almost a year after he was arrested for Barrett’s murder. His execution was repeatedly delayed while state and federal courts heard his appeals. He was slated to die in 1994, but the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of execution the day before because it opened a review in a similar case involving another condemned prisoner. The court later retracted its stay, but Clayton continued his appeals, claiming errors that ranged from insufficient evidence to the judge’s decision not to move the trial despite intense publicity. All of those appeals were denied. “I spent many nights thinking what a change of venue would have changed,” Clayton said. “There is no way I should have been tried in Taylor County.”

In 1995, Congress passed legislation that limits to one the number of appeals death row inmates may pursue in the state and federal courts. Where in years past, inmates and their attorneys raised issues one point at time — filing endless motions that delayed executions — the new law required all points of appeal to be included in one filing. Successive appeals can be raised only if the defense discovers information previously unavailable to it. State reforms, also passed in 1995, have further sought to limit delays in the execution of justice. Condemned prisoners must file writs within 90 days of their convictions so those issues can be considered simultaneously with their automatic direct appeals.

On Wednesday, Clayton said he was tying up loose ends before his execution. “I’ve been giving my property away,” he said. “I don’t want to leave anything important. It’s like when you go on vacation and you have the feeling you have forgotten something. But I can’t figure out what I forgot.”

Abilene Reporter-News

"Clayton Ready to Face Death," by Jason Gibbs.

(Thursday, May 25, 2000) LIVINGSTON — James Edward Clayton says his only regret in life is that he once strove toward a career in the military to defend a government and its laws that he believes failed him. During a jailhouse interview Wednesday, the convicted murderer, former Abilene Christian University student and member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Hardin-Simmons University maintained his innocence. But he said he is ready to face the ultimate punishment.

Clayton, sentenced to death for the 1987 slaying of Hawley fifth-grade teacher Lori Michelle Barrett, is to be executed this evening. He likened his 13-year journey through the Texas penal system to a fighting retreat. “It’s been a long road, like a battle when you are running in retreat,” Clayton said. “You see so much land to cross and the enemy is still there, at your heels.” Barring an unlikely stay from Gov. George W. Bush, Clayton’s execution will be the 217th carried out in the state since Texas resumed execution as a form of capital punishment in 1982. He will be the second Taylor County inmate executed this month. William Joseph Kitchens was put to death May 9 for the 1986 rape, robbery and murder of Patricia Leanne Webb.

Calm and well-spoken, Clayton said he made his peace years ago. “If I die, I die,” he said. “If you are in a position where you really cannot win, what are you supposed to do? Hang on, try to stay on until the ride is done.”

Late for school

Barrett was relatively new to Abilene when she was murdered. She arrived in the city in 1987 after teaching several years in College Station. She worked a night job at Dillard’s department store and taught part-time until she caught the attention of Hawley Elementary School principal Cecil Davis. She was hired full time at Hawley in September 1987. Clayton, who had dropped out of ACU a few months prior to the murder, said he met Barrett at the Mall of Abilene and invited her to his home for a party. Co-workers later testified they saw her leaving the Dillard’s parking lot on the evening of Sept. 17. It was the last time they would see her alive. Clayton claims Barrett showed up at his home about 9:30 p.m. After awhile, Clayton said, he went to bed and left Barrett visiting with someone he knew only as “Andy.” When he awoke, he said, they were gone.

Evidence at trial, however, showed that someone had pried open Barrett’s bathroom window and crawled inside. The next morning, Clayton said he found Barrett’s keys and took her car to run some errands. He wrecked it on East North 16th Street and a passer-by helped him tow the car to a dormitory parking lot on the ACU campus. The car, which Barrett’s family found four days after her disappearance, eventually led police to Clayton.

Members of her family have declined to comment on Clayton’s impending execution, other than to say it will mark the end of 13 years of pain. A massive manhunt for Barrett was launched. More than 100 people converged on Abilene to search a 20-mile area for the schoolteacher. Barrett’s family hired a private investigator and eventually consulted three psychics to aid in their search. A hunter found Barrett’s body in a field northwest of Abilene. Her partially clad and decomposing body was spotted north of Interstate 20, just yards from the Tye city limits. The body had been there several days. She was bound and gagged and wrapped in a blanket, and had been shot to death with a high-powered rifle.

Inside Clayton’s apartment, police found the murder weapon, matched by forensic tests to a cartridge case discovered near Barrett’s body. Other possessions belonging to Barrett were also in the apartment and in a trash container outside. Though he claimed he had stolen the rifle from a former roommate, Clayton was charged with capital murder.

The trial

At trial, jurors heard testimony that Clayton was extremely agitated in the days prior to Barrett’s disappearance, upset that a girlfriend was ending a relationship. The ex-soldier, who often bragged about his killing skills, told a friend that “killing was the only way he could vent his anger, and it was the only thing he could do about it.” Though District Attorney James Eidson was disqualified from prosecuting the case by a potential conflict of interest, he said he remembers the facts well. “This case was a cold, calculating murder,” Eidson said. “This is the type of individual who is deserving of the death penalty.” The result of Clayton’s trial, Eidson said, was just.

The seven-man, five-woman jury deliberated about five hours over two days before finding Clayton guilty on three counts of capital murder. Jurors needed about three hours to sentence him to death by lethal injection. When State District Judge Billy John Edwards announced the sentence, two jurors as well as the victim’s mother and sister openly wept. But Clayton did not react. At no time during nine days of testimony and arguments did Clayton openly display any emotion.

On Wednesday, he remained calm and soft-spoken even as he recalled the events of his trial and his impending execution. Denying any role in the murder of the teacher, Clayton said his thoughts are of his family and Barrett’s — and of the political system he said is to blame for his death. “I have friends and family trying to understand all this,” he said. “I just hope the bloodlust of our society will be sated and they will stop executing people.

“I’m locked up with men who know more about right and wrong than any politician,” he said. As for the family of the slain schoolteacher, Clayton said he hopes they will someday realize he did not commit this heinous crime. “They have been duped,” he said.