Henry Earl Dunn, Jr.

Executed February 6, 2003 by Lethal Injection in Texas

10th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
830th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
8th murderer executed in Texas in 2003
297th 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
Henry Earl Dunn, Jr.

B / M / 19 - 28

Nicolas West

H / M / 23


Dunn, Donald Aldrich, and David McMillan decided to find and assault homosexuals at Bergfield Park in Tyler, a known meeting place for homosexuals. Aldrich approached a truck nearby, occupied by Nicolas West, and posed as a homosexual. West invited Aldrich to join him and the two drove together to a nearby Montgomery Ward parking lot. Dunn and McMillan followed in another car. Once there, the men forced West at gunpoint to a remote location. Dunn fired his pistol into the air, and this act triggered a fusillade of gunfire from Aldrich and McMillan. Dunn then walked toward West's body and fired at least four and as many as six shots into West. Two days later the body of Nicolas West was discovered, and the following day Dunn was arrested driving his vehicle. In custody he gave a videotaped confession, detailing the above facts. Accomplice Donald Aldrich was convicted of Murder and also sentenced to death. Accomplice David Ray McMillan received a life sentence.

Dunn v. State, 951 S.W.2d 478 (Tex.Crim.App. 1997).

Final Meal:
Cheeseburger with extra cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce and salad dressing, tray of french fries, ketchup, 25 fried shrimp, 4 cans of pineapple juice, 2 banana splits with a bottle of Hershey's syrup and one jar of apple butter jam.

Final Words:
"To all my family and friends, I want you to know that I love you very much. I appreciate all the good and bad times together. I'll always remember you, and love you forever. And to the West family, I hope you can find it in your heart to find forgiveness and strength, to move on and find peace."

Internet Sources:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Dunn)

Texas Attorney General Media Advisory

MEDIA ADVISORY - Wednesday, February 5, 2003 - Henry Earl Dunn, Jr. Scheduled to be Executed.

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information on Henry Earl Dunn, Jr., who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003.

On Sept. 7, 1995, Henry Earl Dunn, Jr., was sentenced to death for the capital murder of Nicolas West, which occurred 10 miles outside of Tyler, Texas, on Nov. 30, 1993. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows:


On the evening of Nov. 30, 1993, Nicolas West borrowed a red Nissan truck from his roommate, Lara Heidelburg, but never returned home. Henry Earl Dunn, Jr., Donald Aldrich and David McMillan kidnapped West from a Montgomery Ward parking lot in Tyler, Texas, and then drove to a clay pit where they fatally shot him.

Dunn later confessed that he, Aldrich and McMillan decided to find and assault homosexuals at Bergfield Park in Tyler. Aldrich, McMillan and Dunn went to the park, which was known as a local meeting place for homosexuals. Upon arrival, Aldrich spotted a red Nissan truck that he recognized from a previous visit to the park. Aldrich approached the red truck, occupied by West, and posed as a homosexual in order to gain West's attention. West invited Aldrich to join him and the two drove together to a nearby Montgomery Ward parking lot. Dunn and McMillan followed in another car.

Once in the parking lot, Dunn, Aldrich and McMillan brandished weapons and forced West into the passenger seat of their car. While Aldrich drove the red Nissan truck, Dunn held a gun on West, and McMillan drove the car to a clay pit approximately 10 miles outside of Tyler. Once they arrived, Dunn, Aldrich and McMillan led West at gunpoint away from the road and into the clay pit. Dunn struck West in the head, knocking him to the ground. Aldrich, Dunn and McMillan then began to push and taunt West as they continued toward the clay pit.

When they reached the clearing where the clay pit was located, Dunn fired his pistol into the air. According to Dunn's videotaped confession, this act triggered a fusillade of gunfire from Aldrich and McMillan, and West was knocked face down into the mud. Dunn then walked toward West's body and fired at least four and as many as six shots into West. Dunn admitted that one of his shots probably struck West in the head. West was shot as many as 15 times. As West writhed on the ground and begged for the shooting to stop, Aldrich, McMillan and Dunn ran back to the road where the vehicles were parked. Aldrich drove West's truck and McMillan and Dunn fled in the car. Two days later, on December 2, dirt-bikers Eddie Craft and Charles Hall found West's body lying face-down in the clay pit.

Dunn was arrested in possession of the red Nissan pickup. He gave a videotaped confession on December 3. Aldrich was convicted and sentenced to death for the same capital murder. McMillan received a life sentence for aggravated robbery and kidnaping.


December 16, 1993 - A grand jury indicted Dunn in the 241st Judicial District Court of Smith County, Texas, for the capital offense of murdering Nicolas West while in the course of committing kidnapping and robbery.

August 28, 1995 - A jury found Dunn guilty of capital murder.

September 7, 1995 - Following a separate punishment hearing, the court assessed a sentence of death.

September 17, 1997 - Dunn's conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in a published opinion.

May 26, 1998 - Dunn filed an application for writ of habeas corpus in the trial court.

September 15, 1999 - The Court of Criminal Appeals denied habeas relief in an unpublished order.

January 27, 2000 - Dunn filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

June 28, 2001 - The federal district court denied habeas relief.

August 6, 2001 - Dunn filed a notice for appeal eight days past the 30-day deadline provided for by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

September 5, 2001 - Dunn requested permission to file his notice of appeal late, but missed the 60-day deadline provided for by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

September 18, 2001 - Dunn dismissed his federal habeas attorneys and requested new counsel.

September 24, 2001 - The district court denied permission to file a late notice of appeal, but appointed Dunn a new attorney.

November 20, 2001 - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed Dunn's appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

January 3, 2002 - Dunn asked the district court to vacate and reenter its earlier judgment so that he would receive a new 30-day period for filing a notice of appeal.

February 12, 2002 - The district court declined to vacate and reenter its judgment.

March 18, 2002 - The district court denied permission to appeal.

April 23, 2002 - Dunn requested permission to appeal from the Fifth Circuit.

May 13, 2002 - Dunn's scheduled May 14 execution was stayed by the Fifth Circuit pending appeal.

August 15, 2002 - The Fifth Circuit denied Dunn's appeal and vacated the stay of execution.

November 12, 2002 - Dunn filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which remains pending.


Dunn previously assaulted a girl as they both exited a school bus. Dunn choked her and repeatedly struck her in the throat before the bus driver stopped the attack. Dunn then smashed the windows out of the bus door and attempted to follow the girl back onto the bus before the driver subdued him. Dunn also participated in the aggravated robberies of Jesus Godines and Kem Bishop on two other occasions. In each of these incidents, Dunn and others stole the victims' vehicles at gunpoint. Dunn was arrested but charges were dropped.


Convicted killer Henry Earl Dunn is scheduled to die for the 1993 murder of a Tyler man. Judge Diane Devasto set the execution date for February 6th. This is Dunn's 2nd execution date. Slated for death last May, the execution was stayed.

Dunn admitted to taking part in the kidnapping of 23-year-old Nicholas West of Tyler, who was targeted because he was gay. Nicholas was kidnapped, robbed and shot at least 9 times. There were 2 other people charged with his murder. Donald Aldrich, who's also on death row, and David McMillan, who was given a life sentence for aggravated robbery.

The murder was the culmination of a string of crimes of escalating violence and severity perpetrated by the trio of Dunn, Aldrich, and McMillan. The night Nicholas was abducted was bitterly cold. The trio, driving Nicholas's own pickup truck, took him to a remote rural location. Before marching him to the pit where he was murdered (which was located several hundred yards from the road), he was stripped of his clothes, but not his underwear. He had defecated in his underwear and the trio wanted to further humiliate him by making him wear his dirty underwear. Nicholas was then pistol-whipped. Blinded by the flow of blood from the gashes on his forehead and eyebrow, stripped of his shoes and clothes, he was then forced in the bitter cold to embark on his death march. If he fell, he was kicked, jeered, and taunted. At the pit, the shooting began - methodically, slowly, intentionally - apparently to prolong his life and to prolong the suffering as long as possible. The first shots were to the hand. Then there were shots to the arms. These were followed by superficial shots to the torso. A shot to the abdomen, which the forensic expert testified was not the killing shot, would have left Nicholas in terrific pain. And then finally came the coup de grace, a shot to the back of the head. His body was left laying face down and was not discovered until two days later.

A day after the body was found, the authorities, acting on an informer's tip, arrested 29-year-old Donald Aldrich, 17-year-old David Ray McMillan and 19-year-old Henry Dunn, Jr. for the murder of Nicholas West. Authorities in East Texas almost immediately classified the murder as a hate crime, noting that evidence obtained during suspect questioning made "it quite clear they targeted Mr. West because he was a homosexual." In fact, Donald Aldrich, the reported leader of the group, told authorities, "If you can walk into a 7-11 and rob a 7-11 for 15, 20 bucks, get your face on videotape, have somebody that's gonna call the police; or if you can go into a park, rob somebody that's out in the dark, come away with a hell of a lot more - because of the fact that they're homosexual and they don't want people to know it, they're not gonna go report it to the police. Who you gonna go rob? Where you're gonna get in the least amount of trouble."

United Press International

"Killer in gay-bashing murder executed." (UPI February 6, 2003)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A member of a gang that terrorized gays in an east Texas town was executed Thursday for the abduction and murder of a 23-year-old man nine years ago. Henry Dunn Jr., 28, was one of three men who abducted Nicolas West from a park, tortured him, and then shot him to death at Tyler. Dunn was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. CST after receiving a lethal injection. In his final statement from the death chamber gurney, Dunn told members of his family that he loved them and asked the family of West to forgive him.

Dunn condemned the Texas justice system and called for a moratorium on executions in a written statement he had prepared for release by prison officials. "When the officials of any state, such as the state of Texas, has so much confidence in their justice system, mistakes will be made, and innocent people will be executed," he wrote. "Texas has executed innocent people, and tonight, Texas has shown just how broke and unfair its system is."

The U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday turned down Dunn's latest request for a stay and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected his bid for clemency earlier in the week.

Dunn, Donald Aldrich and David McMillan had been terrorizing gay men in a hate crime spree when they abducted and attacked West on Nov. 30, 1993. West was abducted from Bergfeld Park in Tyler, taken to a gravel pit outside of town, shot nine times, and then left to die, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said Dunn fired the last shot into the victim's head and that shot was the one presumed to have killed West, a medical records clerk in Tyler.

The slaying drew national attention to Tyler in 1993, with mass demonstrations by gay rights groups at the park where West was abducted. In an interview with the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Dunn denied targeting West because of his sexual preference and refused to take responsibility for West's murder. "I didn't even know him," Dunn shrugged nonchalantly. "I didn't pick him up. I'm sad it happened but I still don't think I'm responsible for the actual shot that killed him. I never got that close. Nicolas West was still alive at the time we left."

Dunn made headlines again in 1998 when he and six other condemned killers escaped from death row in Huntsville. Dunn and five others were captured, but a seventh inmate escaped and died in nearby swampland. Because of that escape, the Texas death row was moved to another prison at Livingston, although executions are still carried out at the Walls Unit in Huntsville.

Aldrich, now 38, is on death row awaiting execution and McMillan, 26, is serving a life sentence for aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. Dunn was the eighth convicted killer executed in Texas this year and the 297th since the state restored the death penalty in 1982.

Huntsville Item

"Dunn Executed for 1993 Murder of Homosexual Man in Tyler," by Mark Passwaters. (02/06/03)

Henry Dunn, sentenced to death for his role in the murder of a Tyler man because he was gay, was executed Thursday night at the Huntsville "Walls" Unit. In his final statement, Dunn asked for forgiveness from the family of Nicolas West, who was shot to death by Dunn, Donald Aldrich and David McMillan on Nov. 30, 1993. "I hope you can find in your heart for forgiveness and move on and find peace," he said to West's brother, sister, and brother-in-law. In a written statement, released after the execution, Dunn wrote, "The victim of this case is not forgotten ... Nicolas West is not forgotten, and never will he be forgotten." After Dunn completed his final statement, in which he also said goodbye to his friends, the lethal dose of chemicals was started at 6:09 p.m. He was pronounced dead seven minutes later.

Dunn's scheduled execution drew the attention of homosexual rights activists, some of whom came to Huntsville on Thursday. Holding signs saying "Justice for Nick" and "Donald, you're next," the activists mingled with a small number of anti-death penalty protesters near the northwest corner of the unit. In an interview Wednesday, Dunn claimed West was not killed for his sexuality but in a botched robbery -- one he said Aldrich had orchestrated. "They were talking about money, how much (West) got. West told (Aldrich) he'd given all the money he had," Dunn said. "We start walking up a trail, and Aldrich finds some money while he's walking. West says he doesn't know whose it is. That's when everything got out of hand."

Smith County prosecutors disagreed, saying Dunn, Aldrich and McMillan shot West with .357-caliber handguns and left his body in a clay pit outside of Tyler simply because he was gay. It also contradicted a videotaped confession in which Dunn said West had been kidnapped and shot because he was "queer."

Dunn had hoped for a second stay of execution on the grounds he had been represented by competent attorneys during his appeal process. "I haven't had qualified lawyers," he said Wednesday. "You're supposed to be an attorney for five years before you can work a capital case, and one guy had only been a lawyer for two years. Another was supposed to write an appeal to the court and he told them he didn't know how to write one ... he's not a lawyer anymore. Neither of my attorneys fit their guidelines."

Dunn repeated those claims in his written statement, in which he said, "Please continue to struggle and fight against the death penalty, as its only use has been for revenge and it does not deter crime. It's time for a moratorium in the state of Texas."

Dunn, one of eight death row inmates who attempted to escape from the Ellis Unit in 1998, was the eighth person executed in Texas this year.

Texas Execution Information Center by David Carson.

Henry Earl Dunn Jr., 27, was executed by lethal injection on 6 February 2003 in Huntsville, Texas for the abduction, robbery, and murder of a 23-year-old man.

In November 1993, Donald Aldrich, 29, Henry Dunn, then 19, and David McMillian, 17, drove to a city park that was known as a meeting place for homosexuals. At the park, Aldrich spotted Nicholus West, 23. He got out of their car and approached West, who was in his pickup. Aldrich pretended to be interested in West, and West invited Aldrich to join him. The two drove together to a nearby parking lot. Dunn and McMillian followed in their car.

Once in the parking lot, the three men brandished weapons at West and forced him into their car. With Dunn holding a gun on West, McMillian drove them to a clay pit about ten miles outside of town. Aldrich drove West's pickup. When they arrived, the trio walked West away from the road, into the pit. They made him remove his pants and shoes and stole his wallet. They then shot him 9 to 15 times and left his body in the pit, face down. They then left the scene, with Aldrich driving West's truck and McMillian and Dunn in their car. West's body was discovered by dirt bikers two days later.

Dunn was arrested in posession of West's pickup. He gave a videotaped confession in which he admitted firing the first shot. He said he fired his gun in the air, and the others began firing their guns at West. Dunn also said that he fired at West from four to six times and that one of his shots probably hit West in the head. After his arrest, Aldrich told police that he and his accomplices went to the park on the night of West's murder with the intention of finding homosexuals to assault.

Evidence presented at Dunn's trial showed that he used a .357 Magnum and that matching bullets were found in the victim's body, including one in his head. Dunn had no prior felony convictions, but he had been arrested three times for assault and aggravated robbery. In each case, the charges were dropped.

A jury convicted Dunn of capital murder in August 1995 and subsequently sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence in September 1997. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.

Donald Loren Aldrich had prior convictions for burglary and robbery. He was also convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. He is currently on death row, with his case going through appeals. David Ray McMillian was convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping and received a life sentence.

Smith County District Attorney Jack Skeen, whose office prosecuted all three defendants, said that they were members of a group called the "CB gang", so named because they became acquainted over citizen's band (CB) radios. The gang, supposedly led by Aldrich, carried out other attacks on homosexual men in the Tyler area over a period of months.

Dunn was one of seven Texas death row inmates who attempted to escape the Ellis Unit in Huntsville on Thanksgiving Day 1998. He and five others surrendered after prison guards fired shots at them. Inmate Martin Gurule escaped, but was fatally shot and was found drowned in a nearby river. Following the escape, death row was moved to the new Terrell Unit (later renamed to the Polunsky Unit) in Livingston.

Dunn is the third participant in the escape to be executed. James Clayton and Ponchai Wilkerson were executed in 2000. Howard Guidry, Eric Cathey, and Gustavo Garcia remain on death row.

In death-row interviews, Dunn admitted to being at the West murder scene, but denied being responsible for the man's death. "I didn't pick him up. I'm sad it happened, but I still don't think I'm responsible for the actual shot that killed him - I never got that close," Dunn said in 2002. "Nicholus West was still alive at the time we left." In an interview the day before his execution, Dunn further distanced himself from the crime. "I didn't kidnap Nick West. Donald Aldrich did," he said. "He was already kidnapped, I guess you could say, when we [Dunn and McMillian] showed up." He also denied that West was murdered because he was homosexual. "I don't hate homosexuals," Dunn said. "That's their right to be that way if they want to." According to Dunn, the murder was the result of a robbery gone wrong. "West told [Aldrich] he'd given him all the money he had," Dunn said. "We started walking up a trail, and Aldrich finds some money while he's walking. West says he doesn't know whose it is. That's when everything got out of hand ... Aldrich was mad because the dude didn't give him all his money."

Dunn received a reprieve of a 2002 execution date from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He had claimed that his trial counsel was incompetent. The Fifth Circuit heard and rejected Dunn's claims in August, clearing the way for his execution to be rescheduled. "Every day I wake up, I know why I'm on death row," Dunn said. "I've several times apologized to [West's] family and hoped they'll forgive me. But my death won't bring him back."

In his last statement at his execution, Dunn expressed love to his family. He then told the victim's relatives, "I hope you can find it in your heart to find forgiveness and strength, to move on and find peace." his execution. The lethal injection was then started, and Dunn was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. Dunn also left a written statement, which was released after his death. It complained about the Texas death penalty, calling it a "broke and unfair" system.

TheDeathouse.Com (February 5, 2003)

"Hate-Killer To Be Executed for Murder of Gay Man," by Robert Anthony Phillips.

HUNTSVILLE - Henry Dunn, Jr. is scheduled for execution tonight for the murder of a purportedly gay man in Tyler. Prosecutors said the victim, Nicholas West, was targeted because he was gay and the murder was a hate crime. Dunn, 28, and two accomplices forced the victim to strip and then shot him numerous times. Prosecutors said Dunn and the other men had gone out on Nov. 30, 1993 to purposely find a homosexual man. Dunn was reportedly part of a gang that harassed homosexuals. They were known as the "CB" gang because they had met while using CB radios. Dunn was 19-years-old at the time of the murder. Two other men were involved in the kidnap and murder of West. Donald Aldrich, 17 when the murder occurred, also received a death sentence. David McMillan received life in prison. The men spotted West at a local park where homosexuals congregated. Aldrich lured West with the promise of sex. The two drove to a shopping center parking lot, where McMillan and Dunn were waiting. The trio then kidnapped West, taking him to a clay pit area about 10 miles away.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Henry Earl Dunn (TX) - February 6, 2003

The state of Texas is scheduled to execute Henry Earl Dunn, a black man, Feb 6 for the 1993 murder of Nicholas West. Dunn and two accomplices allegedly abducted West in Tyler and drove him 20 miles to an area known as Clay Hill off County Road 1101; there, they forced him to strip, stole his wallet, and shot him 9 times.

Investigators quickly classified the murder as a hate crime, noting that the suspects' comments during questioning indicated that they targeted West because of his sexual orientation. The Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas jumped on the case, using the brutality of the killing as a battle cry for stronger hate crime legislation. However, the former executive director of that organization, Dianne Hardy-Garcia, spoke out against Dunn’s death sentence, as well as capital punishment in general: “I just believe that you never show people that killing is wrong by killing them.”

Since his conviction, Dunn has argued that problems stemming from ineffective assistance of counsel have plagued his journey through the justice system. Gov. Rick Perry and Texas legislators have vowed to review the issue of ineffective counsel in the state’s death penalty system in recent years, and Dunn deserves to be a part of that evaluation process. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court’s acceptance of Kevin Wiggins’ case out of Maryland in November 2002 could redefine the standards for proving ineffective counsel claims on appeal.

Issues ranging from missed filing deadlines to inexperienced appeals lawyers all support Dunn’s ineffective assistance argument. His biggest complaints, however, deal with one man, Kerry Lee, his lawyer on direct appeal. This stage of the death penalty appeals process is undoubtedly the most critical, and aside from strategic mistakes, Lee made several errors that display his purely apathetic approach to the case. Most notably, he requested an oral argument before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, but then failed to show up at the scheduled time. Therefore, Dunn had no one there to argue on his behalf, and not surprisingly, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled against him.

Dunn claims his trial judge made several key errors during the penalty phase, which ultimately led to his death sentence. He argues that the state wrongly connected him to previous criminal activity – despite his perfectly clean record – in order to convince the jury to impose a death sentence. They used a jailhouse snitch – who, by coincidence, later walked free of 3 aggravated assault charges – to link Dunn to other offenses. Dunn claims his defense counsel ineffectively argued this point on direct appeal, and with better lawyers, this appeal could have changed the outcome of his case.

Finally, West was just 19 years old at the time of the offense, and even Hardy-Garcia, who used Dunn’s case as a rallying cry for stronger hate crime legislation, could not help but think about that aspect of the tragedy. “I had a profound sense Dunn was very much a child,” she said, reflecting on today’s culture, and how children are taught to hate. “By the time Nicholas [West] was murdered, we had already failed as a society.”

If the state of Texas continues to encourage society’s children to solve problems with violence by using the death penalty as a solution to hate crime, tomorrow’s generation will likely face the same dreadful tragedies. Please write the state of Texas and protest Henry Dunn’s pending execution.

Houston Chronicle

"Convicted Killer in Gay-Bashing Case Executed." (AP February 6, 2003)

HUNTSVILLE (AP) - An apologetic Henry Dunn Jr. was executed tonight for participating in the fatal shooting of a Tyler man who was abducted and targeted for robbery because he was gay. Strapped to the death chamber gurney, he expressed love for his family and asked for forgiveness from his victim's relatives. "I hope you can find it in your heart to find forgiveness and strength, to move on and find peace," Dunn said, looking at Nicolas West's sister, brother and brother-in-law. As the drugs began taking effect, Dunn let out a long, slight gasp. He was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m., six minutes after the lethal dose began.

In a written statement released following his death, he complained that the death penalty in Texas is "broke." He said unqualified attorneys were appointed for him under state law. "Texas has executed innocent people, and tonight, Texas has shown just how broke and unfair its system is," he said. Dunn accused the state of having no clemency and urged politicians to work to "fix the Texas justice system" and continue to "work for a moratorium on the death penalty in Texas." In the signed statement, he urged his family and friends to "continue to struggle and fight against the death penalty as its only use has been for revenge and it does not deter crime."

Dunn, 28, was the eighth Texas inmate executed this year and second this week. Three more are scheduled for lethal injection later this month.

The former fast-food restaurant worker acknowledged being present when the 23-year-old West was gunned down near Tyler more than nine years ago. But he said a companion also sent to death row primarily was to blame for the gay-bashing hate crime. "I don't hate homosexuals," Dunn, who was 19 at the time of the killing, said last week. "That's their right to be that way if they want to."

Donald Aldrich, now 38, also is on death row for the West slaying. A third man, David Ray McMillan, who was 17 when the crime occurred Nov. 30, 1993, received a life prison term. "I did admit to being at the crime scene," Dunn said in a death row interview. "I'm not saying I'm responsible."

The U.S. Supreme Court this afternoon refused to review the case and halt the execution. Dunn was one day away from injection last May when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped his punishment so it could consider an appeal.

Authorities believed Aldrich, on parole after a pair of burglary and robbery convictions, was the leader of what became know as the "CB gang" -- because they first became acquainted over CB radios. The gang for months preyed on homosexuals in the Tyler area. West, a medical clerk, was abducted from a Tyler park known as a homosexual meeting spot. Taken to a remote area of Smith County, he was stripped, ordered to his knees and shot as many as 15 times. Dunn called it "a crime that got out of control." Aldrich had lured West under the guise of seeking sex, then drove away with him. Dunn said he and McMillan were waiting nearby. According to a plan carried out several times before, Dunn and McMillan followed them out of town where the trio then could rob the unsuspecting victim. "Aldrich was mad because the dude didn't give him all his money," Dunn said.

"It was a deliberate, preplanned, cold-blooded kidnapping and murder," Smith County District Attorney Jack Skeen said. "This wasn't an isolated incident by them in these types of attacks but the violence stepped up in this one and went all the way to kidnaping and murder."

Aldrich at his trial blamed Dunn for starting the gunfire. Dunn replied from death row he could "not positively say" he did any shooting. Evidence, however, showed he used a .357-caliber Magnum and his shot to West's head was the last of the more than a dozen bullets and a shotgun blast fired into the victim. West's body was found two days later. Dunn was arrested driving West's truck.

Dunn was among seven death row inmates who tried to escape from prison Thanksgiving night 1998. Only one, Martin Gurule, cleared a pair of fences that surrounded the Ellis Unit prison northeast of Huntsville. He was found drowned a week later, still on prison property. Dunn and the other five were stopped by the razor-tipped wire fences and gunfire from corrections officers. As a result of the escape, death row was moved to the more restrictive Polunsky Unit near Livingston, about 45 miles east of Huntsville.


"Every Man's Death; Killing the Killers of Nicholas West," by Ann Rostow. (01/31/03)

Henry Dunn is a handsome young man, with a big genuine smile and an easy-going demeanor. On May 13, he spent what he thought would be the last full day of his life talking to friends and family from one of those prison phone booths we've all seen on TV. Because it was the eve of his scheduled execution, Dunn was allowed eight hours of visitation, from 9 to 5. Normally, death row offenders spend 23 hours in their cells, relieved by one hour of supervised individual recreation.

By that Monday, the 28-year-old Dunn had picked out his last meal. A cheeseburger with everything, two roast beef sandwiches with cheese, and everything. A tray of fries. Twenty breaded shrimp. A bottle of ketchup. Three cokes, and a banana split. A week or so later, he's laughing about it. Death row press liaison, Michelle Lyons shakes her head when she hears the menu. I'm laughing, too. How could you possibly eat all that? It's all a big joke now that Dunn won a last-minute stay of execution from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. What's not discussed, of course, is the fact that a month from now, three months from now, or maybe a year from now, Henry Dunn may well have to select another final meal, and relive that final day. If that happens, chances are he won't be around to give interviews a week later.

And what was it really like to count the rest of your life in hours? Dunn is an articulate man, but when it comes to questions like that, his permanent smile recedes and he just says softly: "It's extremely stressful." He has spent seven years facing a lethal injection, the last three in the new death row in Livingston's Polunsky Unit (pictured below), 44 miles east of Huntsville. Since January, when his execution was scheduled for May 14, he has been on "death watch," a special area monitored by guards every 20 minutes or half hour, night and day. He's happy now to be back on death row, in a cell with a view. "Now I get up, I can watch the sunrise. I can see the prison."

I liked Henry Dunn, one of a trio of men that abducted Nicholas West from a park in Tyler, took him out to a remote spot, tortured him, and killed him. West was 23 at the time, a good natured medical records clerk with a close circle of friends. His body was riddled with bullets, maybe a dozen or more. His finger was shot off. He was stripped naked, and killed with a bullet to the back of the head, possibly fired by Dunn. His roommate and best friend, Laurel Taber, says that he was so scared, he defecated on himself. After they killed him, the three men threw his body into a clay pit.

In that winter of 1993, West became the latest in a string of murdered gay men all over Texas. Prison sentences had been light. The gay panic defense had ruled. One Dallas judge had even admitted that he went easy on a killer, because the victims were homosexual. In Austin, Diane Hardy-Garcia had about a week or two under her belt as the new director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, when she got a call from a community member in Tyler.

"You know, this young man's been murdered and no one's talking about it, no one's saying why, and I've heard the murderers brag about it," he told her. "I think they're going to get away with it." With no better options, Hardy-Garcia promised to drive to Tyler. "It was the only thing I could do. There was no one to call, so I went up there. And I remember it was the first time that I removed my rainbow stickers from the back of my car. Because I was scared."

At 29, Donald Aldrich was an ex-con with a decade on many of the young men like Dunn who followed his lead. Tyler's Bergfeld Park was not exactly a cruising spot, but functioned more as a gathering place in the absence of bars or other centers of community life. Aldrich told investigators that targeting the gay men in the park was a simple business decision of sorts. Gay men carried more money, were easier to rob than a convenience store, and were less likely to even report a crime. But that didn't explain why Aldrich and his entourage went further. Before West's killing, Hardy-Garcia recalls that another man had escaped Aldrich and company by diving into a lake and keeping his head under water as bullets flew around him. Other witnesses suffered more than robbery as well. Indeed, Aldrich, who may have committed dozens of gay assaults of varying degrees, told police that he didn't approve of homosexuality for religious reasons.

With West, Aldrich feigned interest, picked him up, and eventually drove with him to a Montgomery Wards parking lot, where he was joined on this particular night by Dunn and David Ray McMillan, another teen. Yes, they robbed him. Matthew Shepard was robbed as well. But neither murder was a robbery gone awry. Why do you shoot a man's finger off? Why do you strip him naked? Take his shoes? Tie him to a rail or throw him in a clay pit? Beat him? Scare him? Torture him? Because, by his very nature, he turns on a switch that lights you up with rage. If Aldrich's younger friends had any shadow of conscience, they lost it in that glare. Aldrich is also on death row in Livingston's Polunsky Unit, but he has not exhausted his appeals.

Hardy-Garcia made the drive to Tyler several times. She talked to police. She talked to West's friends and other gay men. She talked to the New York Times, and to U.S.A. Today. She organized a rally, attended by 2,000 people, a remarkably high number. The one thing she couldn't do was to convince even one east Texas legislator to make a public condemnation she could read to the crowd. Back in her native state after working in New York City with the AIDS activists of the early '90s, Hardy Garcia had clearly returned to a different world. "That's when I knew what I was up against," she said. "I thought, 'Oh, my God. They won't even come out against this?'"

The cry for action did not fall entirely on deaf ears, however. The hammer of Texas justice fell hard on Aldrich and Dunn, while McMillan, who is white, drew a life sentence. Dunn, a 19-year-old African-American with no criminal record, was successfully painted by prosecutors as a potential repeat offender. Some of the evidence at sentencing included witnesses to previous unsolved crimes, who pointed sometimes-vague fingers at Dunn even though he had not been charged, let alone convicted of the past incidences. Technicalities, you say? Maybe. But maybe a sentence of death should require that all the procedures of the system be followed to a T. This does not happen in Texas.

You may know, perhaps, that Texas leads the nation in executions since the death penalty was revived by the Supreme Court in 1976. In these last 26 years, Virginia has put 85 people to death, and Missouri 57. Florida has killed 51, and Oklahoma 50. Seven states have executed an average of about one person per year, and six others have averaged half that. Fifteen states have executed six offenders or less, and the U.S. government has killed two.

But since 1976, 268 people have been executed in Texas. Texas doesn't just lead the nation, it laps the nation. In the next three months, eleven executions are scheduled in the U.S., ten of which will take place in Huntsville's death chamber. A few hours after I interviewed Henry Dunn, Johnny Martinez was put to death. Martinez, a gay man who also murdered at the age of 19, represented one of Dunn's longest friendships on death row. He was executed despite a plea from the family of the man he killed. As I write today, Tuesday, it is Napolean Beazley's turn to be euthanized for a crime he committed at the age of 17, arguably in violation of International Human Rights Law. Beazley will likely be dead by the time I finish this article. On Thursday the 30th, Stanley Baker's number comes up. Five more will die in June, and the parade will continue.

Too young to vote? Tough. Bad lawyers? Sorry. Henry Dunn's state-appointed appellate lawyer did not know how to write a brief, and didn't attend oral arguments before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Dunn's case. Why? Because he had lost his temporary law license.

Dunn's next state-appointed lawyer appealed in federal court, and lost a summary judgment motion to the state. What did he do? Nothing. He missed the deadline to file an appeal to the Fifth Circuit. Then he missed the deadline to extend that time of appeal.

In a Kafkaesque journey through ever narrowing legal trails, Dunn filed his own motion to change counsel, and got a new lawyer to ask the federal court to grant the federal appeal on the basis of attorney negligence. The judge said no, insisting that Fifth Circuit precedent tied his hands on procedural grounds. Dunn's attorney, Michael Charlton of Houston, went back to the Fifth Circuit on an arcane point, winning the May 13 stay of execution while the appellate panel figures out what's what.

Henry Dunn isn't waiting for the Fifth Circuit to commute his sentence, or comment on his case. Dunn isn't even waiting for the judges to give him the chance to pursue his original aborted appeal. Dunn is simply waiting to find out some small point of order along the lines of: "Does a district court technically have the discretion and/or the obligation to restore an appeal under Fed.R.Civ.Pro.60(b)1 in the case of attorney negligence?" If the court rules yes, he must backtrack through the judicial maze before he even gets close to an appeal. If he ever gets an appeal, he must then win. The grand prize? Life in prison. The consolation prize? A few more sunrises out the prison window.

Laurel Taber has little sympathy for Henry Dunn. Her taxes are paying the $53.15 a day that it costs to keep him clothed, fed and jailed while his appeals continue. She would prefer to shell out the one-time fee of $86.08, which covers the three equally-lethal drugs that Texas uses to end a life. Her sympathies are reserved for West, the handsome son of missionary parents who she had met a couple of years before his death.

West, she said "was the kind of guy that no matter what was going on in his life he would be there for you. He would listen to you. He always cared about what you had to say. At the time, we had a pretty tight group of friends and he was probably the center of it and everybody loved him, especially the girls, the girls absolutely adored him. And he was pretty much the center of attention not because he tried to be, but because he just stood out. He just had that type of personality."

On that Tuesday evening in November of 1993, West, Taber and some other friends were hanging around in the apartment, when West borrowed a friend's truck to do an errand. It was payday, Taber recalls, and he wanted to deliver some money to his former landlord. Hours passed, and the group became worried. "It wasn't like him," said Taber, "because he's very responsible. He would never take someone's vehicle and not return it or not call." The next day, Taber went to West's job, and called his mother. That evening, after 24 hours had elapsed, his panicked friends called the police.

A couple of days later, Taber walked into her apartment and found her friends watching TV, where Nicholas West's body was being retrieved from the pit on Clay Hill. The news stunned the small community, where Taber says everyone knew everyone else, or at least knew each other's faces. Taber, who led off Hardy-Garcia's rally with her memories of West, said she was in denial for a long time. "It was unbelievable," she said, "that someone who was so upbeat and lively just wasn't around anymore."

As I write, Napoleon Beazley has about 3 1/2 hours left to live. He has already taken the drive from Livingston to Huntsville, over the long causeway that spans Lake Livingston, and past the Hilltop Ice House, where I stopped for a beer last week and thought about Johnny Martinez. At Huntsville, he is waiting in a cell near the death chamber, where he will be strapped down and injected at about six. It will take him about seven minutes to be declared dead. Beazley was interviewed for the Austin American Statesman by Alberta Phillips the other day. A thoughtful man, who regrets the cold blooded murder of 63-year-old family man John Luttig, he leaves a large family and lot of frustrated attorneys. "I'm not afraid to die," he told Phillips. "Do I want to? Hell, no."

And nor does Henry Dunn. Like Martinez, Beazley and the others, Dunn was a violent young man. Dropping out of high school, he was working at a Sonic restaurant during the day, hanging out with McMillan, Aldrich and other hoods at night. Nine years later, Dunn is a lay expert in criminal law, a smart, soft-spoken man who plays chess, helps his fellow inmates with legal questions and has studied the law surrounding his own case for years.

"One thing I have a problem with right now is that a court does not want to acknowledge that an attorney is ineffective," says Dunn. " [But] when your attorney fails to file an appeal to the federal appellate court, every issue in your case is procedurally barred. You cannot raise them again. You cannot take them to the Fifth Circuit. You cannot take them to the Supreme Court. They will not look at them. And the problem I have with that is that I did not waive my appeals. You're telling me that you're going to dismiss my appeals process because of a mistake? Because of something that a state-appointed attorney did, which is paid for by the state? He does not have to answer to the courts for anything that he does, but I suffer the consequences for it."

Who would argue with that? Well, amazingly, the state of Texas disagrees.

UPDATE: As the Triangle goes to press, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a mentally ill lawyer, who failed to make a closing argument at the sentencing of Gary B. Cone, did not deprive Cone of constitutional rights. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had granted the double-murderer a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, based on what appears to be a violation of Cone's right to effective counsel. But the Court reversed that decision with a majority of 8-1. According to Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times, the justices relied on one of their previous rulings, which sets out a two-pronged test for evaluating legal performance. First, the defense has to be horrendous, but second, the lawyer's incompetence has to have an impact on the result. In the lone dissent, John Paul Stevens wrote that the Court should have followed one of their other precedents, which holds that a lawyer who "entirely fails to subject the prosecution's case to meaningful adversarial testing," does not meet the definition of effective counsel. The Supreme Court had shelved the Texas challenge to the Fifth Circuit's sleeping lawyer decision in Burdine, pending the resolution of the Cone case. Greenhouse reports that the justices are likely to take action on this case shortly.

Last January, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 6-3 that the right to a defense does not include the right to competent counsel. That was in the case of a lawyer who ignored obvious exculpatory evidence and did not know how to file a motion for habeas corpus, the constitutionally-based criminal appeals process. But that ruling really wasn't surprising. Six months ago, when the Fifth Circuit ruled that Calvin Burdine had the right to a new trial because his lawyer slept through the first one, Texas actually challenged the federal appellate decision.

The Burdine opinion, wrote Texas Solicitor General Julie Parsley, "will invite countless ineffective assistance claims based on any type of intermittent 'unconsciousness' by counsel during trial" by "…imaginative petitioners." According to the court reporter in Burdine's trial, his lawyer fell asleep "for long periods of time during the questioning of witnesses," once for "at least ten minutes." But this type of representation is just fine in Texas, where once convicted by an emotional jury, many condemned men find themselves on an assembly line of routine court hearings, where mediocre public defenders go through the motions of an appeal and indifferent judges move the line along like shop foremen. It's no wonder Texas has performed well over a third of all the executions in the country since 1976. Here, we don't waste time and tax payer money with long drawn out legal hokey pokey. The man's guilty. Let's get on with it.

Even those who support the concept of capital punishment must think twice about killing a man, or a woman, without the benefit of a professional defense and a full appeal. They must have doubts about condemning teenagers to pay for their actions with their lives, whether they're 17 like Beazley or 19 like Dunn and Martinez. They must have qualms about the realization that there are no rich men or women on death row - ever. Or that death sentences are handed out disproportionately to blacks, and again disproportionately to blacks who kill whites. They must wonder when they hear about the DNA evidence that exonerates men who were just a few appeals away from losing their lives. As for those who oppose the death penalty, a confessed serial killer with Johnny Cochran for a lawyer still has the right to live, albeit forever behind bars.

All these stories and issues merge as I sit in the phone booth across from Henry Dunn. It's possible to be a stone killer at 19, and a nice guy at 28. He is both. But even if he were unpleasant and belligerent, I personally would not want to participate in his, or anyone's death. "I believe in the death penalty," says Laurel Taber. "That's what the law states should happen, and that's what should happen." I didn't know Nicholas West, so I think of the man in front of me whose life is on the line, rather than my best friend whose life was cut short.

Many others believe that the death penalty is profoundly wrong, including the hundred or so protesters who demonstrated outside the Governor's mansion this evening as Napoleon Beazley received his injection. And even in the GLBT community, where fighting hate crimes like the murder of Nicholas West is a high priority, putting a man to death is not generally considered a victory.

"The point of our hate crime law," says Hardy-Garcia, "was to prevent hate crimes and focus on intervention by stiffening penalties at a lesser stage. We know that hate crimes escalate. The gang that Henry Dunn was involved in, the group of young people he was hanging around started out with little petty things, terrorizing people, and you eventually don't get as high off that. You escalate. And perhaps if they had been stopped earlier, and would have been punished, Nicholas would still be alive."

Now that would be a victory, and not just for Nicholas West. What Dunn misses most is "touching someone." The human touch of his parents and friends that he hasn't felt for years. Does he regret what happened that night? He looks down, and replies in a tone I can't capture in print:

"Oh, yeah."

Canadian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (Dunn Homepage)


Hello! My name is Henry Dunn Jr., a 25 year old Texas Death Row prisoner. I have been on death row for a total of 4 years. I am seeking the public help in getting off of Texas Death Row. In September 1999, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied my state appeal, saying that it is O.K. that my lawyer on my direct appeal, the most important appeal of death row prisoners appeal process, was ineffective, failed to give argument in my appeal brief, and did not go to the courts to represent me on my appeal. The courts are also saying that it is O.K. for officials to arrest me without no arrest warrant or probable cause. They turned down my appeal saying that it is O.K. that false testimony used in my trial to convict me and accuse me of other crimes in order for my jury to give me a death sentence is O.K. Until now, I have never been imprisoned before or in trouble with the law. My record was clean, I had no criminal record, so prosecutors used false testimony in my punishment phase to mislead my jury into giving me a death sentence. I now have to file an appeal in the Federal Courts.


I was arrested December 3, 1993, at age 19, by Smith County Sheriff officers and was told I had an arrest warrant for aggravated robbery. I was taken to the Smith County Police Department where I WAS interviewed by Smith County Sheriffs and FBI agents. After the interview, I was taken to the Smith County Jail and charged with both Capitol Murder and Aggravated Robbery. I was given court appointed attorneys Melvin Thompson and LaJuanda Lacy of Smith County, Tyler, Texas.

On August 21, 1995, I entered a plea of not guilty to Capitol Murder. During the course of my trial, right after my plea of not guilty, my lawyers discovered that Smith County officers never had an arrest warrant for my arrest, nor had anyone accused me of committing any type of crime. My lawyers filed for a mistrial, but the request was denied. On August 21, 1995, I was found guilty of Capitol Murder. On August 30, 1995, prosecutors began the punishment phase of my trial. During this phase, prosecutors used false testimony from Charles Brian Davis, the states only witness who knew me before being imprisoned, to connect me to other crimes which I did not commit, in order to get me a death sentence. Mr. Davis testified on the stand that he did not have a plea bargain from prosecutors, but admitted that he was out of the Smith County Jail, without posting bond or paying any money, on 3 aggravated assault charges. My jury returned to give me a death sentence under the impression, that I had committed other crimes, although I had not been convicted of these crimes, and none of the victims identified me as one of the people who committed the crime against them.


After arriving on death row, I was given another Court appointed lawyer to represent me on my Direct Appeal. The Direct Appeal is the most important appeal of the appeal process. My court appointed lawyer was Kerry Lee, another Smith County lawyer. Mr. Lee was totally ineffective on my Direct Appeal. He did not give argument to the issues in my appeal brief and failed to brief very important issues that could get me a new trial or release me from death row. Mr. Lee failed to brief issues concerning the arrest warrant affidavit used to try and get an arrest warrant for my arrest. Mr. Lee asked for oral argument in front of the Court of Criminal Appeals, but failed to go to the courts to represent me on my behalf as the prosecution argued against my appeal brief. I had no-one there to argue on my behalf! On September 7, 1997, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied my Direct Appeal.


On November 26, 1997, I was appointed Lawyer Toby C. Wilkinson to file my State writ of Habeas Corpus. Mr. Wilkinson filed for ineffective assistance of counsel on the part of my Direct Appeal lawyer, Kerry Lee, which also allowed him to brief the points of error that Mr. Lee should have raised as issues in my Direct Appeal Brief. Mr. Wilkinson also filed that the prosecution used the perjured testimony to persuade my jury to give me a death sentence, and even used an affidavit from one of the accused who actually admitted to committing the crime, which stated that false testimony was used in the punishment phase of my trial and he agreed to testify at a hearing as to the truth of the affidavit. Included in the affidavit was the name of the people who actually committed the offense with the accused. On March 25, 1999, I was transported to Smith County to a hearing on my State Writ of Habeas Corpus. There, my trial lawyer testified as to the arrest warrant and the arrest warrant affidavit. The arrest warrant was not signed by a magistrate or judge which made the arrest warrant invalid, and not an arrest warrant at all. The arrest warrant affidavit did not name me as a suspect to any crime and the victim in the affidavit named 5 white males as his attackers, I am a black male. None of the witnesses who came to my trial and testified they were attacked, identified me as a suspect or one of the accused who attacked them. All the victims said their attackers were white males. In September 1999, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied my State Writ of Habeas Corpus, saying that it is O.K. that my Direct Appeal lawyer was ineffective and that it is O.K. that prosecutors used perjured testimony in my punishment phase of my trial to get me a death sentence.

They said it is O.K. that my lawyer did not go to the courts to argue on my behalf while the prosecution was arguing why my appeal should be denied. They are saying it is O.K. that the accused were all white males and even though I am a black male, it's O.K. for me to be accused and arrested with a affidavit that does not even accuse me of any crime. BUT THESE THINGS ARE NOT O.K.!!!


The laws of the State of Texas and the United States Constitution protects the rights of all citizens from these type of things. By the law here in the State of Texas, I should not be on death row and I should have never been arrested for any crime. The Court of Criminal Appeals ruled against what the law says in reviewing my State Writ of Habeas Corpus. The law says that if there is no probable cause or sufficient information to support an independent judgment that the accused committed a crime, the arrest warrant is invalid. It says that an arrest warrant issued pursuant to a defective affidavit or complaint is invalid and an arrest made under such an invalid warrant or capias is illegal. The law also says that effective assistance of counsel is guaranteed by the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution and by Article 1, Section 10 of the Texas Constitution. The Court of Criminal Appeals has determined in post conviction habeas corpus reviews of Capitol Murder cases, that "where the petitioner has been condemned to death, we believe that effective assistance of counsel is a constitutional right so basic to a fair trial that [its] infraction can never be treated as harmless error”


I am asking for your help and support in protesting the issues in which the Court of Criminal Appeals have treated as harmless. I am asking that you write to the judge who will be reveiwing my Federal Appeal and protest the issues, letting him know the rulings of the Court of Criminal Appeals is wrong. I have copies of the arrest warrant affidavit and copies of officers testimony who admit that they had no probable cause to arrest me and the only reason they wanted to arrest me, was to try and connect me with the number of crimes they accused me of, including this murder which I now sit on death row for. I am asking for all kinds of support. For anyone who is willing to give help to my lawyers or would just like to write my lawyers to show support. For anyone who would like more information on my appeals and case you can write to me or my lawyers. The Judge reveiwing my appeal will be Judge Thad Heartfield. My lawyers are Toby C. Wilkinson and Joseph Bailey. I can get copies of any documents that you need in order to help with this cause. I would also like to hear from people who are lending their support as well.

TDCJ-ID #999165
3872 FM 350 South

Abolition Now! (Henry Dunn Homepage)

Legal Defense Fund

Texas Death Row prisoner Henry Dunn is in need of funds to be given to his attorney for legal fees and investigations of his case and death sentence. Henry has already faced an execution date because of poor court appointed laywers, and during that time, money was raised and payed to his attorney for investi- gations and to obtain legal documents which could get Henry a stay of execution.

During the investigations, it was discovered that there is evidence, a video tape of a suspect, missing from his case, and it is uncertain that this tape was ever handed over to Henry's attorney, and the prosecution's office has stated they no longer have the tape, or copies of the tape.

Henry's attorney needs more funds to uncover more injustices that has happened in Henry's case and appeal process, or Henry could face another execution date. Henry is selling his art work to help with raising funds for his attorney, Mike Charlton of Houston, Texas and we are welcoming all donations in any amount. In the future, Henry is also putting together a book of poetry that he will sell, as well as other projects.

Anyone who would like to buy art or make any donations, please contact: Anne Dolatschko.

Any help that can be given would be greatly appriciated, and please feel free to send e-mails and leave messages on the site. If you would like to know more about Henry's case and the issues in his case, please continue to read the text after this paragraph. Thanks for clicking on to your web site.

Henry Dunn Legal Foundation - Texas Style Justice, From Texas Death Row

I am Henry Dunn Jr., Texas Death Row prisoner #999 165, and I have been onTexas Death Row for almost seven years. This year on May 14th, I was scheduled to be executed and I received a stay of execution on May 13th, the day before my scheduled execution. Here you will find many injustices that I have faced through- out my trial and appeals process, and even more from the time I was arrested and charged with this crime.

At present, I sit on death row with an unfair conviction that has been upheld by an unfair Texas Justice System, and not only my conviction is unfair, it is illegal. My conviction is a result of police misconduct, racist prosecutors, and false testimony by the State's witnesses. My conviction has been upheld on appeal because of inexperienced, unqualified and incompetent lawyers appointed by the State Courts to represent me on my appeal proscess, and I was even appointed an attorney who had not been out of law school for a total of two years, and had no law license, and who had been practicing law for less than two years.

The facts you will find here are the facts surrounding my case an appeal process, and you will find that I'm selling art, as well as taking any amount of donations to help my present lawyer with the investigation fees of my case, to help with getting me a new trial and off of death row. It is also possible that I will sell a book of poems written by me in the future. After reading the facts surrounding my case and appeal process, I hope that you will contribute in buying art or any amount of donations to help with this case.

The prosecution and the State has unlimited amount of founds to send a person on death row, and present their case and fund their case to keep person on death row, but as a death row prisoner, we have to turn to other means of raising funds to help with our defense to save our life, and prove that we have been unfairly an illegally convicted of a crime at trial. So I hope you will help any way possible.

Facts of the case

On December 3, 1993, at the age of 19, I was arrested by Smith County Sheriff officers, FBI agents, and police officers. I was told that I had an arrest warrant for the offense of aggravated robbery, but was never shown this arrest warrant. I was taken to Smith County Police Department where I was interviewed by Smith County Sheriffs and FBI agents, without the presence of a lawyer.

After the interview I was taken to Smith County Jail and charged with both Capital Murder and Aggravated Robbery. Several months later, I was given court appointed lawyers, Melvin Thompson and LaJuanda Lacy of Tyler, Texas. I waited 1 year and 8 months before I would get to trial.

On August 21, 1995, my trial started and I entered a plea of not guilty to Capital Murder. Shortly before I the start of my trial, my laywers discovered that Smith County police never had an arrest warrant for my arrest, as was told to me by police officials at the time of my arrest, and that no one had accused me of committing any type of crime. On the grounds that my arrest warrant was illegal, my lawyers filed for a mistrial, but the request was denied. On August 29, 1995, I was found guilty of Capital Murder.

On August 30, 1995, the punishment phase of my trial began. During this phase of my trial, because I was a defendant with "NO CRIMINAL HISTORY", my prosecutors needed to paint an image of me as a person who had been comitted many crimes in order for my jury to return with a sentence of death. During this phase, prosecutors knowingly used false testimony from Charles Brian Davis, the State's only witness who knew me before being ar- rested, to accuse me of other crimes that I did not committ, in order to give me a death sentence.

Davis testified on the witness stand that he did not have a deal from prosecutors, but could not give an answer as to how he was out of the Smith County Jail without paying any money 3 ag- grevated assault cases. Although the victims of these crimes did not identify me as people or the person who committed crimes against them, and even identified their attackers as 4 to 5 white males, and I am a black male, my jury returned to give me a death sentence under the impression that I had committed other crimes against other people, even though I have never been convicted of any of these crimes, or identified as a suspect by any of the victims. I was sentenced to death because of false testimony by the State's witness, Charles Brian Davis.

Facts of the appeal

After being sentenced to death and arriving on death row, I was court appointed Smith County lawyer Kerry Lee for the purpose of filing my Direct Appeal by a Smith County court, the most important appeal of the appeal process. Mr. Lee was totally ineffective on my appeal process and Direct Appeal.

Mr. Lee did not brief argument to the issues in my Direct Appeal brief, and failed to brief very important issues that could have resulted in me receiving a new trial, or being released from death row, or my sentence reduced to a prison term. Mr. Lee failed to brief the issue concerning my illegal arrest warrant affidavit which was used to arrest me, which in fact no arrest warrant at all. Mr. Lee requested oral argument in front of the Texas high court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, but failed to show up to argue my case, as the prosecution argued against my appeal. On September 7, 1997, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied my Direct Appeal.

On November 26, 1997, I was court appointed lawyer Toby C. Wilkonson of Greenville, Texas by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to file my State Writ of Habeas Corpus, the next appeal after the Direct Appeal. The qualifications of Toby Wilkinson was no better than Kerry Lee. Although Mr. Wilkinson filed Ineffective assistance to counsel against Kerry Lee, he also failed to prove and give facts to support his claims. At an evidentuary hearing in March of 1999, Mr. Wilkinson failed to call the fact witnesses to testify as to the issues presented in my appeal, including Kerry Lee, or any of the victims concerning the suspects in the arrest warrant affidavit who identified their attackers as 4 to 5 white males. In September of 1999, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied my appeal, under the request of the trial judge who conducted the hearing, and gave no reason as to why my appeal was denied.

After my State appeal was denied, Toby Wilkinson again was appointed to file my appeal, my Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus, along with Joseph Bailey from Center, Texas. Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Bailey filed the same documents to the federal court as my Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus that they filed in State court, which was denied in September of 1999. In less than 3 months, the federal jude Thad Heartfield denied my appeal and granted Summary of Judgment the State based on an issue not even filed in my appeal process. Mr. Wilkinson failed to request that the Summary of Judg- ment be denied based the false allegation, and failed to file for a rehearing after the appeal process was denied. To make matters worse, Mr. Wilkinson failed to take any further actions so that I may continue to file the reminder of my appeals, but not taking any actions on my behalf to file the proper documents, a Notice of Appeal.

After discovering that Mr. Wilkinson had failed to take any actions to that may continue to file my appeals, I filed for Mr. Wilkinson to be removed from my case and appeal process to both the Court of Texas Criminal Appeals, and the Federal District Court. The Federal District Court granted the motion and removed Mr. Wilkinson from my case and appeal process, and replaced him attorney Michael B. Charlton of the Texas Defender Service in Houston, Texas, who also has his own law firm.

After receiving an execution date for May 14, 2002, Mr. Charlton filed appeals to get a stay of execution, and as my appeal was dismissed by the Fifth Circuit of Appeals because of the actions that Mr. Wilkinson has failed to take, Mr Charlton also filed to have my appeals reinstated. During this time, the public came to the cry for help and through friends and organizations, money was raised to help Mr. Charlton with investigations of my case. It was dicovered that there is missing evidence concering my another suspect in this case, and a suspect who the State used as a witness in my trial in the punishment phase. Evidence concerning a video tape statements made by Charles Brian Davis is missing from my case, in which the prosecutions office say they no longer have the tape, and it is also for certain that this suspect's testimony was false when testifying in my trial.

My attorney, Mike Charlton still needs funds for investigations and experts, as well as legal fees to investigate more issues in my case, as most of the issuses were not found until funds were provided to my attorney for investigations and legal fees. If the courts rule against my appeals, without these funds for legal fees and investigations, there is more of a chance that I will receive another execution date to be executed by the State of Texas.

I am selling art and in the future will sell a book of poetry, and my supporters and I will galdly accept any donations in any amount. We hope that any and everyone will be able to contribute to this cause, as we do everything to help with saving my life and getting me off of death row.

Dunn v. State, 951 S.W.2d 478 (Tex.Crim.App. 1997).

Defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death, in the District Court, Smith County, Charles F. Campbell, J., and defendant appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals, Meyers, J., held that: (1) arrest warrant had been "issued" for purposes of good faith exception to warrant requirement, though magistrate did not sign warrant until defendant was in custody; (2) trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to suppress defendant's videotaped confession; and (3) defendant's brief of argument was insufficient to maintain several points at issue. Affirmed. Mansfield, J., concurred and filed an opinion.