John William "Jackie" Elliott

Executed February 4, 2003 by Lethal Injection in Texas

8th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
828th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
7th murderer executed in Texas in 2003
296th 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
John William Elliott

H / M / 26 - 42

Joyce Munguia

H / F / 19

Beating with

Joyce Munguia was an 18 years old mother, waiting at a bus stop when some men she knew from the neighborhood called to her. John Elliott, Ricky Elizondo and Robert Hanson were hanging out in a driveway, drinking beer. Joyce joined the men. Over the next few hours they shared beer, liquor and cocaine, and she subsequently had sex with one of them. According to a witness, she later began crying, was disoriented and asked for help to walk home. Elliott followed her, then carried her under a railroad bridge where he and 2 other men raped her. When she announced she was going to the police, Elliott beat her with his belt made from a motorcycle chain. Both Ricky Elizondo and Robert Hanson admitted taking part in the rape and testified that Elliott alone beat the girl to death. His shoeprint was found at the murder scene and blood was found on his clothing. Elliott had been convicted of Murder in 1982, given an 8 year sentence, and was paroled after serving only four months. Elliott also was convicted in 1984 on an attempted burglary charge and was given 10 years probation. Accomplice Ricky Elizondo pled guilty to sexual assault and received a 10 year sentence. Accomplice Pete Ramirez was also convicted of sexual assault and received a 15 year sentence.

Elliott v. State, 858 S.W.2d 478 (Tex.Crim.App. 1993).

Final Meal:
One cup of hot tea (from tea bags) and six chocolate chip cookies.

Final Words:
No final statement.

Internet Sources:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Elliott)

Texas Attorney General Media Advisory

MEDIA ADVISORY - Monday, February 3, 2003 - John William Elliott Scheduled to be Executed.

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information on John William Elliott, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003.

On Jan. 15, 1987, John William Elliott was sentenced to death for the capital murder of Joyce Munguia, which occurred in Austin, Texas, on June 13, 1986. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows:


On the evening of June 13, 1986, Daniel Hanson observed Joyce Munguia waiting at a bus stop in Austin, Texas, and invited her to converse with a group of men gathered nearby, in front of Ricky Elizondo's home. John William Elliott, Pete Ramirez and Elizondo were part of this gathering. Over the next few hours, Munguia consumed beer, Everclear (grain alcohol), and cocaine with the men. She became intoxicated and, later that evening, engaged in sexual relations with Elizondo in his house. Shortly thereafter, Hanson observed that Munguia was crying, her words were slurred, and her walking was impaired. At Munguia's request, Hanson proceeded to walk her home.

Elliott followed them and intercepted their passage. Over Hanson's protests, Elliott carried Munguia into a dark, wooded area under the nearby Seventh Street bridge, and sexually assaulted her. Elizondo and Ramirez followed Elliott to the bridge and sexually assaulted Munguia as well. Hanson fled to call the police, but returned to the scene (where he witnessed the ongoing gang-rape), and heard Munguia announce that she was "going straight to the police when y'all get through." After the rapes, Elliott bludgeoned Munguia to death with a metal chain.

Police officers arrived at Elliott's house between 1 and 1:30 a.m. on June 14, 1986. Elliott's shorts and shoes were splattered with blood. The blood on his clothes matched Munguia's blood type. His shoe prints were consistent with shoe prints at the scene of the crime, and inconsistent with the other suspects' shoe prints. Metal fragments recovered from Munguia's head matched the murder weapon. Tests on the "rape kit" revealed that fluids in Munguia's body had the same blood type as Elliott, Ramirez and Hanson. DNA testing has confirmed that Elliott cannot be excluded as the donor of the sperm found in the victim's body (though 99.99 percent of the population is excluded).


On July 30, 1986, the State of Texas indicted Elliott for the capital murder of Joyce Munguia (murder in the course of an aggravated sexual assault). Elliott pleaded "Not guilty" in the 299th Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas. On Jan. 12, 1987, the jury returned a verdict of "guilty." Following a separate punishment hearing, the same jury answered "yes" to the special punishment issues the next day. On Jan. 15, 1987, the trial court signed its judgment sentencing Elliott to the death penalty.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Elliott's conviction and death sentence in a published opinion on April 14, 1993, and denied rehearing. The Supreme Court denied certiorari review within the year, and on April 8, 1994, the trial court scheduled Elliott's execution for Aug. 24, 1994.

On Aug. 2, 1994, Elliott filed a pro se request to stay his execution. The federal district court stayed the execution on Aug. 5, 1994, and appointed federal habeas counsel. Rather than immediately pursue federal habeas relief, Elliott returned to state court to exhaust his state remedies via a state writ, which he filed on April 23, 1997.

On Sept. 2, 1999, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Elliott's application for state habeas relief, and the federal district court denied federal habeas relief on Sept 21, 2001. On July 25, 2002, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision.

On Oct. 25, 2002, the trial court signed its second order of execution for Elliott, setting the date for Feb. 4, 2003. Currently, Elliott has a petition for certiorari to the Fifth Circuit pending in the Supreme Court.


At the time of his arrest for Munguia's murder, Elliott had prior convictions for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, attempted burglary, illegal possession of weapons, and intentional murder.

John Elliott was sentenced to death for raping a woman in Austin and then beating her to death with a motorcycle chain on June 13, 1986. Police said after Joyce Munguia was gang-raped by Elliott and two accomplices, she was hit 16 times on the head and 8 times on the face with a chrome-plated chain under a freeway overpass.

Elliott had previously been in prison in 1982 for "intentional murder" for which he served only four months of an eight-year sentence. He also was convicted in 1984 on an attempted burglary charge and was given 10 years probation. Joyce Munguia was 18 years old, the mother of a one-year-old toddler.

In the early evening of June 13, she was at a bus stop when some men she knew from the neighborhood called to her. John Elliott, Ricky Elizondo and Robert Hanson were hanging out in the driveway, drinking beer. Joyce joined the men. Over the next few hours they shared beer, liquor and cocaine, and she subsequently had sex with one of them. According to a witness, she later began crying, was disoriented and asked for help to walk home. Elliott followed her, then carried her under a railroad bridge where he and 2 other men raped her, according to testimony. When she announced she was going to the police, Elliott beat her with his belt made from a chain, one of the men there testified.

His shoe prints were at the murder scene. By the time of Joyce's death three hours after she first joined the men, she had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her bloodstream. The medical examiner also found traces of cocaine in her nostrils. She had been gang-raped and severely beaten with a motorcycle chain, then dumped beneath a nearby motorway overpass. The accomplices both testified against Elliott. When Elliott began beating Joyce with the motorcycle chain, Hanson fled and called his sister, who later called the police. The police found Joyce's body, then arrested the trio. Elizondo pled guilty to sexual assault and received a 10 year sentence.

Joyce’s family in Austin is watching the case closely. "My sister's gone, but we're not,” said Lillian Munguia. “And what she can't fight for, we're going to fight for.” Elliott wrote the Munguia family a letter on Christmas Eve. "I have a mother and I see the pain in her eyes when she comes to visit me and I know how much more pain there must have been for you over the past years," Elliott said. But his written plea found no sympathy at the Munguia home. “The letter means nothing,” Lillian Munguia said. “He's being selfish again, talking about himself, how he sees the pain in his mother's eyes.” They believe justice will be served by Elliott’s execution – an event they admit they’re looking forward to watching.

In 1982, Elliott went to prison for killing a man in a bar brawl. He was convicted again in 1984 of attempted burglary. But in an era when Texas prisons were overcrowded because of a space shortage, he was released under mandatory supervision after only 4 1/2 months of his 8-year sentence for murder, then received probation for the burglary. "If that happened today, what kind of firestorm would there have been in the media?" Juan Gonzalez, an Austin homicide sergeant in 1986 who investigated the slaying of Joyce Munguia, said Monday. "He had no business being out in society again, at least not so soon. It's terribly frustrating to me. The poor girl probably would still be alive if he had been in (prison) where he should have been...If you think execution is not a deterrent, this is a classic case. He was the main one, the ringleader," said Gonzalez, now a patrol commander in the Austin police department. Police found blood on his clothing matched Munguia's blood. His shoe prints were at the murder scene.

The 2 other men, who insisted they did not take part in the slaying, pleaded guilty to rape charges. One received a 10-year prison term, the other 15 years. "He was cool, collected and had no remorse," Gonzalez said, recalling Elliott's arrest. "It didn't bother him. He knew what his rights were. He didn't even say anything....He wasn't going to say much at all. He'd been down the road before. He knew what to say and what not to say. "He didn't say: 'On no, I didn't do it.' He was just too cool."

Texas Execution Information Center by David Carson.

John William "Jackie" Elliott, 42, was executed by lethal injection on 4 February 2003 in Huntsville, Texas for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman.

On 13 June 1986, police were called to a crime scene in east Austin. The body of Joyce Munguia, 19, was found under an overpass. An autopsy showed that she had been beaten 16 times on the head and eight times on the face. Fragments of metal were recovered from her head. There were also signs of recent sexual intercourse.

The person who called the police was Danny Hanson, age unknown. According to Hanson, he and three other men -- John Elliott, then 26; Pete Ramirez, 26; and Ricky Elizondo, 20 -- picked up Munguia at a bus stop and invited her to drink with them in Elizondo's house. Over the next few hours, she consumed beer, grain alcohol, and cocaine with the men. She also engaged in sex with Elizondo. Hanson stated that he observed Munguia crying and slurring her speech, and she had difficulty walking. At Munguia's request, he began to walk her home.

While they were walking, Hanson stated, Elliott intercepted them. He took Munguia into a dark, wooded area and raped her. Elizondo and Ramirez followed him and also raped Munguia. This is when Hanson said he left briefly to call the police. He then returned to the scene and observed the gang-rape still in progress. He said that he heard Munguia announce that she was "going straight to the police when y'all get through." Afterward, Elliott beat Munguia to death with a chrome-plated motorcycle chain. Police officers arrived at Elliott's house early on the morning of 14 June. His shorts and shoes were heavily splattered with blood, which was later matched to the victim.

In addition to Hanson's testimony, Elizondo also testified at Elliott's trial. He testified that he, Elliott, and Ramirez had sex with the victim, but it was consensual. He further testified that Elliott left him alone with Munguia for a moment, then returned with a chrome-plated motorcycle chain, with which he beat the victim to death. The physical evidence presented at Elliott's trial included the blood on his shorts and shoes. In addition, Elliott's shoes matched shoe prints found at the crime scene

Like Elizondo, Elliott claimed that the sex he had with the victim was consensual. He denied killing Munguia and stated that the murder weapon - the motorcycle chain - belonged to Elizondo.

Elliott had an earlier murder conviction. In 1982, he was convicted of intentionally killing a man in a bar fight. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison, but served only 4 months before being released due to prison overcrowding. He also had a 1984 conviction for burglary of a habitation, for which he received a sentence of 10 years' probation.

A jury convicted Elliott in January 1987 of capital murder and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in April 1993. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.

Pete Ramirez had a lengthy prior criminal history including driving while intoxicated, unlawfully carrying a weapon, and aggravated robbery. He received a 15-year sentence for sexual assault for his role in the Munguia case. He entered prison in January 1987 and was paroled in June 1990. He has kept a clean record since then and was discharged from parole in 2001.

Rick Cruz Elizondo's only prior offense was for public intoxication. He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and received a 10-year prison sentence. No information was available on his time served.

On death row, Elliott maintained his innocence. "I didn't kill Joyce Munguia and I didn't rape, her but somehow I knew I was going to get convicted," he said. "I didn't have the money and I didn't have the best lawyers." Elliott acknowledged that his criminal past made it easy for prosecutors to obtain a conviction. "I should have led a different life," he said. In his appeals, Elliott's lawyers unsuccessfully sought to have DNA testing ordered on blood spatters found on Danny Hanson's shoes. Hanson had said that the blood was his own and that it was from a previous incident in which he was stabbed.

Elliott was born to American parents on a U.S. air base in Great Britain, so he held dual American-British citizenship. His parents returned to the U.S. with him when he was six months old. His execution was opposed by numerous British public officials and was loudly denounced in the British media. During his stay on death row, Elliott corresponded with European anti-death penalty activists. He accommodated British media's requests for interviews, but declined requests from the American media. For his last meal, he requested a cup of tea and six chocolate chip cookies.

Elliott made three clemency requests -- one for a pardon, one for a commutation, and one for a reprieve. All were rejected by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on separate 18-0 votes. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court also denied Elliott's last-minute requests for a stay. These requests delayed his execution by nearly an hour.

Elliott did not make a final statement at his execution. He was pronounced dead at 7:02 p.m.

TheDeathouse.Com (January 30, 2003)

"Jackie Elliott Executed in Texas for Rape and Murder of Austin Woman," by Robert Anthony Phillips.

HUNTSVILLE - John "Jackie" Elliott, the British man convicted of raping and then bludgeoning an Austin woman to death with a motorcycle chain 17 years ago, was executed by lethal injection Tuesday night. Elliott's trip to the Death House was delayed an hour as the U.S. Supreme Court considered, and then rejected, three last ditch appeals. When the last of the appeals was denied, the end came quickly. Elliott, who did not make a final statement, was strapped to the execution gurney at 6:55 p.m. and was pronounced dead from the lethal chemicals at 7:02 p.m., said Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

English Tea And Cookies?

The pending execution of Elliott, 42, drew protests from the British government and European anti-death penalty groups, who belived he was innocent. However, those protests hardly caused a ripple in Texas, which now has executed 296 condemned killers since 1982 - the highest in the nation.

Lyons said that three British television crews were outside the prison covering the execution. Elliott was born to American parents in England, but left the country to return to the United States at a young age. However, he was still considered a British citizen. In a bizarre note, there were various published reports that Elliott had asked for English tea and cookies for his last meal - in honor of his British heritage. However, Lyons said Elliott had actually requested tea and chocolate chip cookies for his last meal.

Chain Lashing

Elliott was sentenced to death for the slaying of Joyce Munguia, 19, who was beaten to death with a motorcycle chain under a bridge in East Austin in June 1986. Read of the case. Elliott and three other man had drank alcohol and used drugs with the victim, prosecutors said, before sexually assaulting her. Prosecutors said Elliott killed Munguia, fearing she would call police and report the rape. A motorcycle chain was used to beat her in the head and face. She was struck at least 24 times.

Prior to the Munguia murder, Elliott had been convicted of intentional murder in connection with a shooting in which a group of men, including Elliot, fired a gun at a man outside a nightclub and killed him. The Attorney General's office also reported that Elliott had a record that included attempted burglary, illegal posssession of weapons, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Duo Testified Against Elliott

Four men were originally arrested in connection with the sexual assault and murder of Munguia. Elliott received a death sentence; Ricky Elizondo and Peter Ramirez received prison sentences for sexual assault; and another man, Daniel Hanson, was not prosecuted. Both Hanson and Elizondo testified against Elliott at his trial. Elizondo claimed he had seen Elliott strike the woman with the chain. Hanson said that he had tried to get Munguia away from Ramirez, Elliott and Elizondo as they were preparing to rape her. He also testified that Elliott told him that Muguia had to be killed. Defense lawyers for Elliott had mounted a furious legal battle in recent weeks to save the former house framer from the Death House, claiming that Elizondo was the real killer and Munguia had consensual sex with Elliott and at least two of the other men before she was killed. Elliott had been sentenced to death on the basis of aggravated rape and murder.

DNA Tested Blocked

An Austin court Monday refused to allow DNA testing on sperm and blood samples found at the murder scene. The lawyers wanted the testing done to determine who had sex with Munguia and who didn’t, and to determine if Munguia’s blood was on the shoes of Hanson. Hanson was at the murder scene but said he did not sexually assault or take part in the murder of Munguia. However, defense lawyers said blood was found on his shoes and was not tested. It was Hanson who called police after Munguia had been killed.

In addition, Elliott’s lawyers had claimed in a clemency petition that Elizondo had used a motorcycle chain in a previous assault and had a motive to kill Munguia because she refused to have sex with him. Ramirez claimed in a new statement given to defense investigators that Elizondo had sexually assaulted the victim before she was taken down to the bridge area. While she had agreed to have sex with the other men, Munguia said she didn't want Elizondo to touch her, Ramirez had claimed. So, it was one of these four men who murdered her: John "Jackie" Elliott, Daniel Hanson, Ricky Elizondo or Peter Ramirez. Which one of these potential lady killers did it? It all depends on who you talk to and who you believe.

TheDeathouse.Com (January 30, 2003)

"British Man Facing Execution for Beating Woman to Death with Chain," by Robert Anthony Phillips. (February 4, 2003)

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. - The one thing brutally clear is that someone used a motorcycle chain to savagely beat a young woman to death underneath a bridge in East Austin more than 17 years ago. The woman's name was Joyce Munguia, 19. She was killed by at least 24 blows from the chain. And, when a woman is lashed to death with a chain in these parts, someone is going to the execution gurney and getting stuck with a broken home, impoverished childhood, drug addiction, or not. Make no mistake about that.

So, it was one of these four men who murdered her: John "Jackie" Elliott, Daniel Hanson, Ricky Elizondo or Peter Ramirez. hich one of these potential lady killers did it? It all depends on who you talk to and who you believe.

Elliott Gets Death Prosecutors said the victim was raped before she was killed. And, the man who prosecutors charged with actually swinging the chain was Elliott, a 42-year-old British citizen with a criminal record that included convictions of burglary and intentional murder. That's why he is on Death Row and one day away from execution. He is scheduled to die Tuesday, after a judge refused to DNA testing on blood and semen evidence.

The murder of Munguia followed an ugly bout of heavy drinking and cocaine snorting, degenerating into either Munguia agreeing, in a drunken stupor, to have sex in the weeds with at least three of these men one after the other or being raped in succession by three or all four. Then, she was beaten to death. When the four men involved were rounded-up by police, Elizondo and Hanson testified, pointing their fingers at Elliott. A jury convicted Elliott and sentenced him to death - based mostly on the testimony of the duo. Elliot's lawyers and international anti-death penalty groups are saying that Elliott did not rape or murder Munguia, alleging the real killer was Elizondo.

Two Testified Against Elliott

At Elliott's trial, Hanson testified that he had tried to prevent his friends from taking turns raping the victim and he refused to have sex with Munguia. Hanson said Elliott told him they had to get rid of Munguia, fearing she would call the police, report the rape send them all into the Texas prison system for decades. Hanson was never prosecuted. And Elizondo, in return for a 10-year prison sentence, testified that he saw Elliott beating the young woman with the chain. Elizondo testified that Elliott borrowed his personal motorcycle chain, which was in Elizondo's house, to do the job. (More about this chain, later) Elizondo also testified that Elliott had told him, beforehand, that they would have to kill both Munguia and Hanson, since Hanson would not take his turn raping the victim.

What did Elizondo do after watching the woman being beaten to death by Elliott? He went home, washed his clothes and went to sleep. Finally, blood was found on the blue jean shorts Elliott was wearing at the time of the murder. Prosecutors said the blood was Munguia's and tests showed it was splattered on Elliott as he was lashing her with the chain. Defense lawyers now are disputing that finding.

Victims' Family: Want Him Dead

Elliott is now measuring his life in hours, not weeks or years. Barring clemency or a stay by the courts, Elliott, citizen of the British Empire or not, is scheduled to be strapped to the well-used execution gurney here just after 6 p.m. Tuesday KVUE News in Austin reported that Elliott wrote the family of Munguia a letter last Christmas telling of the pain his mother is going through and the pain Munguia's family must have. But, Joyce Munguia's sister said she wants Elliott executed and looks forward to watching him die. "The letter means nothing," Lillian Munguia told the a KVUE reporter. "He's being selfish again, talking about himself, how he sees the pain in his mother's eyes."

The Elliott case has drawn widespread interest in England, where British newspaper reporters and the BBC have been covering the case. British lawmakers and religious leaders are urging Texas to give Elliott clemency. They are also hoping British Prime Minister Tony Blair will get involved and personally ask President George Bush to intervene.

Elliott's appeals lawyers and many international groups against the death penalty believe Elliott is innocent. Sure, he was there, but anytime snitches are used, or in this case, testimony from co-defendants who become state's witnesses, the alarm goes off - especially when good lawyers are involved. It seems to make them wonder if the co-defendents are telling the truth or lying to save their own skins. And this alarm, at least in Elliott's lawyers' view, is ringing in the clemency petition sent to the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole. Elliott's defense lawyers have pointed their fingers at Elizondo as the real killer and claim the men had consensual sex with the victim before she was mashed to death with the chain.

Lawyers Want DNA Testing

Defense lawyers and David K. Sergi accuse prosecutors of withholding evidence; charge that the testimony of Hanson and Elizondo was inconsistent and that the two buddies lied to protect one another; that the blood splatter evidence linking Elliott to the murder is unreliable; that blood found on Hanson's shoes was never tested; and that Elliott had appointed by the court. Stafford Smith also said that his investigators have uncovered a new witness who is ready to say that Elizondo had told him he killed Munguia.

On Friday, the lawyers were in an Austin courtroom trying to get a judge to stay the execution so DNA testing cold be done on the blood and semen samples. Stafford Smith said DNA was not perfected back when Elliott stood trial in 1987. The lawyers were successful in having Judge Jon Wisser remove himself from the case because the jurist had sent a letter to the pardons and parole panel saying Elliott should be executed.

However on Monday, a new judge in the 299th District Court, where Elliott was originally tried, denied further DNA testing. Judge Charles Campbell, in making the ruling, said that because the testing does not have to do with Elliott - but rather others- he would not permit it. Elliott was sentenced to death in 1987 after a jury found that he had committed murder during the course of aggravated rape. However, Stafford Smith argues that new information developed by defense investigators show that Elliott is "innocent of capital murder."

New Statement By Ramirez

According to a clemency petition filed the lawyers:

In a new statement given to defense investigators, Ramirez now says the victim had consensual sex with Elliott and himself before she was murdered. He said he saw Hanson holding her shoulders and Elliott taking off her cloths. Ramirez said Elliott and Hanson did not appear to be restraining Munguia. Ramirez did not testify during the trial and received 15 years in prison for sexual assault. However, he claims he told police investigating the murder that the sex between the men and Munguia was consensual.

If Ramirez is telling the truth, this would negate the aggravated rape charge that Elliott received the death sentence for. This also is in direct conflict with the testimony of Hanson, who said the victim was raped and claimed to have tried to help her get away from the men. And, if he did give police such a statement, why wasn't it turned over to defense lawyers at Elliott's trial?

Stafford Smith said the investigation also showed that Elizondo, before the slaying, was a member of a gang that called itself the "Chain Gang." Apparently, Elizondo had started wearing the chain around his waist - and had used it to lash people, according to the clemency petition. Elizondo had allegedly used the chain to beat at least one other person before the woman was murdered. Elliott supposedly retrieved the chain from Elizondo's home and went back and beat Munguia to death with it, according to prosecutors. Elizondo was also a boxer.

The victim had refused to have further sex with Elizondo. Ramirez claims in his new statement that Elizondo had earlier forced Munguia to have sex with him in the bathroom of his house. Ramirez said that Munguia told him she did not want to have more sex with him because of the earlier attack. The victim, while lying on the ground preparing for sex with Elliott, saw Elizondo come "out of the bushes" nearby and announced that she would have sex with Ramirez next, but would have nothing to do with Elizondo. This, the defense theory goes, was a reason for Elizondo to become angry and kill her. It all goes to show, the clemency petition argues, a "tapestry of new evidence that demonstrates that Ricky Elizondo is the true killer."

Blood On Shoes Untested

Why the DNA testing? If, for example, Hanson's sperm was found inside the victim, that would bring his testimony as the "White Knight" trying to save her into question, Stafford Smith said. Stafford Smith also said there was blood found on Hanson's shoes - blood that was never tested. While Hanson had said the blood was from an old stab wound suffered months before, Stafford Smith isn't buying it.

How about the fact that Munguia's blood was found on Elliott's shorts? The British born lawyer says he has a new expert who will testify that the blood splatter evidence found on Elliott's shorts was not consistent with him being the one swinging the chain at the victim.

What's Elliott's Story?

But the one thing lacking in the clemency petition is what Elliott says happened under the bridge. Was he passed out? Did he watch as someone else beat the woman to death? Was he gone by that time? What did he see? Stafford Smith said Elliott has never given a statement to the police. The lawyer said while Elliott has told him what happened, he could not reveal it. So, what does Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle or his spokesman say about all this? Earle's office and spokesman did not return three telephone calls for comment.

However, in an interview with the Huntsville Item, Brian Case, who handles appeals for the Travis County DA's office, said there is no "conspiracy" against Elliott. "Really, their best bet would be to say he didn't act alone, and therefore he shouldn't have gotten the death penalty," Case told the newspaper. "But that doesn't prove his innocence...really, there is nothing in his favor here." Case also told the newspaper that the blue jean shorts Elliott was wearing at the time of the Munguia slaying had her blood on them.

British Protest

The scheduled execution of Elliott has already caused a commotion in Britian. The British foreign minister has asked the United States to stop the execution. In addition, at least 100 members of Parliament have signed a letter asking for clemency, calling the death penalty a "barbaric use of rule of law." The Bishop of London and the head of the Catholic Church of England also have pleaded for Elliott's life. But, those pleas are unlikley to stop Texas from executing Elliott. Britian has abolished the death penalty and been on an anti-death penalty bandwagon for some time. To be a member of the European Union, members must abolish the death penalty and promise not to hang, shoot, electrocute or behead anyone.

Second Brit Executed? Elliott would become the second British citizen executed in America in recent years. Tracy Housel, 42, born in Bermuda, was executed in Georgia in 2002. He had been convicted of rape and murder. Not even a plea to the President by Prime Minister Tony Blair could save him. Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), is also urgiing lieniency for Elliott. The U.S. deputy chief of that mission, Douglas Davidson, lectured the OSCE that in Democratic countries like the United States, each state decides who they want to kill, not the British. It's a matter of "free expression," he said. " a democratic society, the criminal justice system, including the punishments prescribed for the most serious crimes, should reflect the will of the people, freely expressed and appropriately implemented," Davidson said. "In the United States, the use of the death penalty is a decision left to democratically elected governments at the federal level and at the level of each individual state, which in this case is the State of Texas."

Britian To Death Row So, how did this British citizen end up in Austin and find himself in the middle of a chain lashing murder and on Death row? Actually, Elliott spent little of his life in the country. Elliott was born in Suffolk, England but left the country when he was a child. His father was an American airman stationed there, and his mother, Hispanic, from Austin. The family returned to Rhode Island in 1966, where his mother and father separated. His mother took Elliott and her other children back to Texas, where they were raised in the Santa Ritz Cruz housing project, which Stafford Smith said was rife with drugs and violence. It was at this project that Elliott first met and befriended Ramirez, who Stafford Smith says introduced Elliott to drugs and alcohol. Elliott was expelled from school in the ninth grade. From there he was sent to a boy's farm in Laredo, as his mother was trying to straighten him out, according to the clemency petition.

In the petition, Elliott is portrayed as a child "raised by a dedicated but overwhelmed single mother in the nightmarish environment of the East Austin projects." The petition calls Elliott an outsider in a "violent and frightening neighborhood, drawn to a negative peer group for his own protection." Then, there is the matter of Elliott being convicted of something called "Intentional Murder" years before the Munguia slaying. This certainly must have raised jurors' eyebrows when Travis County prosecutors starting reminding the panel of that as they were trying to convince them that Elliott should be sent to Death Row.

Hanging Out With The Boys

Stafford Smith calls it a "bullshit" charge. Well, bullshit or not, somebody was killed and Elliott was sentenced to eight years in prison, serving only four months before being released. The case involved Elliott and another group of men who fired a bullet from a car and killed someone. But it is unknown who fired. Stafford Smith says the four men took group responsibility for the slaying. According to Stafford Smith, Elliott was with four men, one of whom had earlier been picked on at a bar. Elliott and the other men later drove back to the bar, where they saw a group of young men who they believed to have picked on their friend. Someone fired from the car, with the bullet hitting and killing one of the men standing outside. Elliott later pleaded guilty to intentional murder, was sentenced to eight years in prison, but served just four months. Again, he never gave police a statement when he was arrested in connection with that shooting. Travis County prosecutors might have a different story to tell about this incident, but they did not return telephone calls to The Death for comment.

After being released from prison in 1982, Elliott got a job through his old friend, Peter Ramirez. Ramirez and Laly Elizondo, the brother of chain-carrying Ricky, had started a construction framing business and employed Elliott. During this time, Elliott also met a woman. He has two children, one of whom was born after he was arrested for murder. He was also said to be addicted to amphetamines at the time of the Munguia murder. Texas Department of Criminal Justice records also stated that Elliott was convicted of a burglary in 1984 and received 10 years probation.

The Murder

The murder of Munguia occurred on June 13, 1986. According to prosecutors, Munguia was on her way to a bus stop when she was approached by Daniel Hanson, who asked her to join him and three other men drinking from the tailgate of a pick up truck parked in Elizondo's driveway. Munguia joined them, drinking beer, vodka and ingesting a small amount of cocaine. Stafford Smith said her blood alcohol level at the time of her death was high. Later, Elizondo took Munguia inside his house to use the bathroom, where he raped, attempted to rape or had consensual sex with her. Again, Elliott's lawyers believe Elizondo forced her to have sex. However, it is unclear which occurred. Elizondo testified that Munguia offered him sex on the bathroom floor. However, Hanson later testified that he looked inside the bathroom door -which was open - and saw Elizondo zipping his pants and Munguia on her knees in front of him. Hanson also testified that Munguia later told him Elizondo wouldn't leave her alone. Hanson believed that Elizondo may have forced her to have sex, according to the clemency petition.

Later during this murderous romp of drinking and drugs, Munguia was taken to an area underneath a bridge where Elliott, Ramirez and Elizondo had sex with her without her consent, Hanson testified. Another words, they raped her. Hanson, in his testimony, portrayed himself as someone who was constantly trying, during this time, to save Munguia from being sexually assaulted by Elliott, Ramirez and Elizondo. Hanson testified that in one incident, he started to walk home with Munguia, attempting to get her away from the men. Elliott, he said, tried to stop him and later carried the victim back under the bridge, where all this rape/consensual sex was occurring - and where Munguia would be found lashed to death.

There, Elliott laid Munguia in the grass and had sex with her. Hanson said he walked away, wanting to call the police, but changed his mind. He returned to try to help Munguia. He said Ramirez and Elizondo had sex with the victim, even preventing her from putting her cloths back on. But later it was Hanson and his sister who called police. The call to the cops was made after Hanson said he went back to the bridge area and saw Munguia's body.

Elizondo Points Finger At Elliott

Meanwhile, Elizondo testified that Elliott told him to keep the victim under the bridge while he got a gun. He did this by refusing to allow Munguia to get her cloths. Elliott did not get a gun. Instead, he apparently went back to Elizondo's nearby house to retrieve the motorcycle chain. Elizondo testified that he ran away when Elliott hit Munguia with the belt. He said he turned around and saw Elliott hit the woman three times. He ran home, washed his cloths and went to bed - until the cops knocked on his door.

Defense Lawyers Version

Defense lawyers have there own theory of what happened. They say that Elizondo and Hanson were "good friends," wanted to protect each other and lied. After drinking beer, vodka and snorting a bit of cocaine with the men for several hours, Elizondo took Munguia to his bathroom, where he tried to force her to have sex with him, the defense lawyers claim. Later, she walked down to the bridge with Elliott and Hanson, and was later joined by Ramirez. There, she had consensual sex with Elliott and Ramirez. Then, Elizondo arrived. The young woman did not want Elizondo to touch her. Angry, Elizondo then beat Munguia to death. Elizondo then left, went home and washed his cloths of the blood. Later, to get a better prison deal, Elizondo "tailored his testimony' to remove any reference to Hanson having sex with the victim before she was killed, the lawyers charge.

Blood Evidence Question

At Elliott's trial, an Austin police sergeant, identified as an expert on blood splatter evidence, testified that the blood splatter evidence backed up Elizondo's story that Elliott had been swinging the chain. But since that time, the clemency petition says, the expert's methods of making that determination have found to be unscientific. In another case, the expert in question, Sgt. Dusty Hesskew, testified in a case in which a woman was accused and later convicted of killing her husband for insurance money. At the first trial, Hesskew testified that he found blood stains, invisible on the suspect's clothing, indicating that the cause of death was probably murder.

Meanwhile, another expert brought in from Oklahoma testified that this blood splatter was consistent with suicide. The woman was convicted, sent to prison for life, appealed and was given a new trial. At a subsequent hearing, Hasskew admitted that his test were unscientific because he assumed the invisible stains were human blood. They weren't. The woman was later acquitted of murder. Her husband's death was ruled a suicide. He had previously attempted suicide twice.

Stafford Smith also is wondering if it is true Hanson was not present when the murder was committed, then why was there blood on his shoes? Hanson testified that the blood was there from an incident, months earlier, in which he was "stabbed in the back." Stafford Smith said that if he gets permission from the courts to do DNA testing on those bloody shoes, then Hanson might have some explaining to do. The lawyers, according to the clemency petition, will accept just about anything to save Elliott from the gurney. A 120 day reprieve for DNA testing; a pardon; an agreement for life in prison without parole; a conditional pardon so Elliott can be retried. Stafford Smith also says that he has received the backing of all 12 jurors in the case, who all say that if they had heard all these claims at Elliott's trial, they might not have found Elliott guilty of capital murder and sentenced him to death.

So, there you have it. Who's telling the truth, who isn't? Welcome to a scheduled execution of John Jackie Elliott, where the only thing sure is that a young woman was beaten to death with a chain.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

John Elliott (TX) – February 4, 2003

The state of Texas is scheduled to execute John “Jackie” Elliott Feb. 4 for the 1986 rape and murder of 19-year old Joyce Munguia in East Austin. Elliott, a Hispanic man, is a foreign national from the United Kingdom, and several British activist groups have been encouraging Prime Minister Tony Blair to take action to stop this execution. Aside from the mere fact that the United States is the only western democracy with the death penalty, Elliott’s case has one other troubling detail: he may very well be innocent.

In March 2002, Blair wrote a letter to Georgia’s Pardon and Parole Board requesting clemency for Tracy Housel, another British national, but received no response from the state. In August, Mexican President Vicente Fox weighed in on the pending execution of Javier Medina in Texas, and that call fell on deaf ears as well. Activists hope authorities will reverse the trend of ignoring the international community in the case of Elliott, who holds duel citizenship in Britain and the United States.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “It's our policy to make representations against the use of the death penalty and its imposition on British nationals…” Activists in the United Kingdom believe their support helped in the case of Krishna Maharaj, a British national who received a life sentence after a stint on death row in Florida. There is currently a strong clemency campaign for Elliott abroad, and activists in the United States should join this worthy effort.

The case itself contains several factors that cast doubt on the death sentence, most notably Elliott’s innocence claim. The murder of Joyce Munguia occurred on Friday, June 13, 1986. According to the state, a group of young men – including Elliott, as well as Ricky Elizondo and Pete Ramirez, who served prison time for sexual assault – had sex with Munguia without her consent after a few hours of drinking and partying. According to Elizondo’s testimony, which he gave in exchange for a lesser sentence, Elliott then beat her to death with a chrome-plated chain. Coincidentally, Elizondo was a member of a “Chain Gang” and wore a motorcycle chain as a belt; unfortunately for Elliott, the jury never learned that information. The state sentenced him to death in 1987.

Elliott’s two attorneys had never handled a capital murder case before, and their lack of experience certainly contributed to his death sentence. As his execution date approaches, he still maintains his innocence and claims that witnesses lied to protect themselves. This pending execution will only further display this country’s apathy toward the perspectives of the international community and ignore the possibility that the American criminal justice system is prone to error.

On Jan. 11, 2003, Gov. George H. Ryan of Illinois granted a blanket commutation to the prisoners on Illinois’ death row. In his address at Northwestern University, which marked a historic moment in the ongoing capital punishment debate, Gov. Ryan pointed out many of the countless flaws in the death penalty system, and announced that he would “no longer tinker with the machinery of death.” The state of Texas, preparing to execute a possibly innocent man, would be wise to follow Gov. Ryan’s example. Please write the state of Texas and request clemency for Jackie Elliott.

The Age

"New Evidence Fails to Save Man From Execution," by Fergus Shiel. (02/05/03)

A British-born man has been executed for murder in Texas despite new evidence - which a young Melbourne woman recently unearthed - casting doubt on his conviction. John "Jackie" Elliott was executed by lethal injection on Tuesday after last-minute appeals were turned down.

Melbourne law graduate Eleni Antonopoulos was among a small group of family and supporters who spent time with Elliott during his final hours. Ms Antonopoulos, 25, a volunteer researcher with the anti-death penalty charity Reprieve, had uncovered evidence Elliott's lawyers said proved his innocence.

His last remaining hope was that Texas Governor Rick Perry would heed appeals for clemency from British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and scores of British MPs. To the shock and anger of Elliott's defence team, the Texan, Federal and Supreme courts and the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole refused to stay his execution. Richard Bourke, a Melbourne lawyer who was also part of Elliott's Reprieve-funded defence team, said Elliott's death was a frightful injustice. "I think the willingness of the system in this country to kill people is terrifying," Mr Bourke said. "(Jackie Elliott's death) has made it clear to me that the justice system here is not interested in administering justice."

Ms Bourke and Ms Antonopoulos spent time with Elliott at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston hours before he was moved to the execution block at nearby Huntsville. "Jackie was in good spirits," Mr Bourke said. "He still had hope that the courts would stop his execution but understood how grave the situation was. "One of the last things he did was call Eleni over to give her a message he hoped would help the case of another prisoner on death row."

Elliott was executed for the 1987 murder and rape of Joyce Munguia, 18. Her body was found beneath the highway underpass where four men - one of them Elliott - had taken her. Very drunk and high, the teenage mother had been raped then beaten to a pulp with a belt made from a motorcycle chain. Elliott was one of several men who had sex with Ms Munguia before her death but he denied raping or killing her.

Ms Antonopoulos and British volunteer Gemma Badger found inconsistencies in the evidence of key witnesses, tracked down previously concealed statements and discovered Elliott's trial lawyers were unprepared, underfunded and inexperienced. Mr Bourke said the defence team had found evidence that the key witness against Elliott had lied and that 40 police statements had not been disclosed to the defence.

On Monday, a Texas court rejected an application to test blood - which the defence believed to be from Ms Munguia - taken from the same key witness' shoes. Elliott's case had been hampered by his refusal to give a full account of what happened on the night of Ms Munguia's death because "you don't rat".

East Anglian Daily Times

"Death Row Campaigners Call on Blair." (February 1, 2003)

CAMAPIGNERS working to save a Suffolk-born man sentenced to death in the United States have called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to raise the case during his talks with President George Bush this weekend. Jackie Elliott, 42, has spent the last 16 years on death row after being convicted of killing 19-year-old Joyce Munguia in 1987. He is due to die by lethal injection on Tuesday if his current appeal hearing is unsuccessful.

The Campaign to Save Jackie Elliott group has also said that Judge Jon Wisser, who is presiding over the 11th hour hearing, sent a letter to local media saying Elliott was "deserving of the ultimate penalty". The group claimed that the letter revealed Judge Wisser had prejudged the result of the hearing, which is set to determine if crucial DNA evidence can be tested in the case. They said the judge wrote to the District Attorney's office, the local sheriff, the Texas Pardons and Paroles board and American media organisations - but not British journalists or the defence.

His letter, uncovered by the BBC, was said to state: "I am totally sure (Elliott) received a fair trial. Never have I come into contact with a defendant more deserving of the ultimate penalty." He added: "The only tragedy is that this case has lingered so long." Elliott's defence team moved to have Judge Wisser disqualified from hearing the new evidence which could save their client from the death penalty. The new hearing is expected to take place later tonight or on Monday to decide if the judge can continue to preside over the case.

Elliott's lead attorney Clive Stafford Smith said: "Judges ... must be not only pure but above suspicion. It is very difficult to see how any reasonable person could believe that he would be fair in Jackie's DNA hearing when, without having heard the first shred of our newly discovered evidence of innocence, he would say that to the press," he said. Kevin McNamara, MP for Hull North who is among a groups of MPs, church leaders, members of the House of Lords and other organisations supporting Elliott, said the hearing was the "best chance" to save his life.

Elliott's supporters have called on the Prime Minister to "seize the opportunity" to raise the case with President Bush during their talks on Iraq. If it goes ahead Elliott, who lived in Felixstowe, will become the first Briton to be executed in the US since Tracey Housel, who was put to death in Georgia last March. Elliott claimed he was convicted because of evidence from police informers who were covering their own guilt, His lawyers also said he had been denied funding for forensic tests that could prove Elliott's innocence.

Save Jackie Elliott Homepage

"Jackie" Elliott was born on March 25, 1960, at Bentwaters Airforce Base (now closed) in Suffolk to parents Robert Elliott and Dorothy Velaz Elliott. Jackie has been on Death Row since he was 27, he is due to be executed on 4th February 2003. There is substantial doubt about what happened with the case for which he is on death row since he was convicted mainly on the evidence of "snitches" that it is thought had a real interest in taking the heat off themselves. This website provides a resource for those interested in Jackie's case.


Born in Suffolk on March 25th 1960, Jackie spent his early childhood growing up in Felixstowe, England. His parents were based on the Brentwaters Base with the American military. In recent years, the British government has accepted Jackie’s claims to British nationality.

Jackie’s childhood was spent moving between new places, disorientating him in his early years. After spending two years in Suffolk, the family moved to Rhode Island. With five children, Jackie’s parents found it difficult to secure themselves financially. Strain in his parent’s relationship developed, and his mother came to Texas with her children. Jackie has seen his father only once since 1964; a single visit on death row.

Life became harder when they arrived in Texas. The family suffered harassment from the local community, especially the children, who were taunted for their mixed-race parentage.The family survived on welfare for most of Jackie’s childhood, and his father contributed in no way. Some years later, Jackie’s mother returned to school in order to secure qualifications to get a better job and support the family. Jackie was often left in the care of his older brother.

When the city of Austin was blessed with the boom of the 1980’s, Jackie worked as a full-time framer in the building trade. It was during this time that he met and settled down with a girl and began a family. He was a generous father, who cared passionately for his children. At the time of his arrest, Jackie’s girlfriend was pregnant with their second child. He has never even held his youngest daughter, who is now sixteen.

When the boom bubble burst, Jackie was left without work and without income. He searched desperately for ways in which to help his family, working part time whenever work was available. But with financial security gone, Jackie’s marriage collapsed and he turned to drink and drugs as a means of escape. Jackie was drawn to the wrong end of town, and he became addicted to hard drugs and alcohol. It was at this low point in Jackie’s life that he was drawn into the tragic circumstances of Joyce Munguia’s death.


State of Texas vs. John (Jackie) Elliott.

The state alleges that in the early evening of Friday, June 13th, 1986, the victim, Joyce Munguia was on her way to a bus stop when she was beckoned over by a group of men gathered around a pickup truck parked in East Austin. The four men, allegedly including Jackie, invited the girl to join them. After consuming a vast quantity of alcohol and cocaine, she began to make her way home. Jackie and his friends allegedly escorted her part of the way until they reached an underpass. It was here that the state insists Jackie raped and murdered Munguia.

The Trial - The trial took place a little over six months after Jackie’s arrest for the murder. Completely unprepared and inexperienced, Jackie’s defence team faced the ruthless and well-resourced team of Austin prosecutors. Both of Jackie’s lawyers had never previously tried a capital case and were appointed by the court that tried and subsequently convicted him. Armed with only the experience of tax and corporate law between them, Jackie’s lawyers could never have grasped the complexities of a capital trial and undertaken the extensive preparation in the time given. Unsurprisingly, this issue of inexperienced counsel is not a rarity in Texas, with tales of sleeping lawyers and fresh law graduates undertaking cases of such magnitude. Texas leads the United States in executions and incarcerations, yet makes no guarantee that the inmate will receive the representation he deserves.

The Co-defendants - The state’s case against Jackie was built around the testimony of his two co-defendants. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concedes that their accounts are “different”, and there are obvious discrepancies in their testimony. Glaring inconsistencies about their own involvement in the crime litter the state’s case. As a condition of the plea bargain two of the co-defendants, Ricky Elizondo and Pete Ramirez, were required to pass lie detector tests. Elizondo passed, allowing him to testify. Ramirez failed, and so his evidence was never heard. Danny Hanson, one of Jackie’s friends who testified, was subsequently not charged with any offence. Ricky Elizondo, another friend, was originally charged with capital murder but had this reduced to aggravated sexual assault in return for testifying. In cases like Jackie’s, there are always good reasons to treat the testimony of co-defendants with scepticism. The co-defendants may well be motivated by a desire to save themselves, especially when faced with the prospect of the death penalty.

The Forensics - The core to the state’s theory of the case was the testimony of an expert on blood splatter. Police Sergeant Hesskew, an employee of the local police department, testified that Jackie supposedly wielded a bicycle chain with his right hand, a theory consistent with the allegations made by Jackie’s co-defendant. In fact, subsequent consideration of this evidence and the expert has shed serious doubt on this theory. Later in the same year, Hesskew testified in the trial of Freda “Susie” Mowbray, a woman accused of killing her husband. Hesskew insisted that the blood found on her nightgown indicated she was responsible for her husband’s death. Investigations carried out by her own son revealed that Hesskew’s mentor, and internationally-acclaimed expert on the science, Dr Herbert McDonnell, had reached an opposite conclusion as to cause of death; suicide. At her re-trial, Hesskew admitted he had lied about there being blood on her nightgown and was forced to admit he had been wrong at the first trial. Mowbray was acquitted, but Hesskew’s dubious expertise condemned many more people to prison.

The State of Texas is guilty on more than one occasion of using questionable expert witnesses in their pursuit of a death sentence. Just one case is that of Fred Zain, a leading forensics expert in the neighbouring town of San Antonio, who presided over the forensic testing of over 5,000 criminal cases. Meanwhile however, the West Virginia Supreme Court wrote that Zain had fabricated or lied about evidence in at least 134 criminal cases in their jurisdiction and concluded that “as a matter of law, any testimonial or documentary evidence offered by Zain at any time in any criminal prosecution should be deemed invalid, unreliable, and inadmissible[.]” Following false – yet damning - testimony in a capital case in Texas, Zain was fired from his position.

Current appeal - The United States Supreme Court is currently considering whether to give Jack’s appeal complete review. Unfortunately, it is extremely rare for this court to prevent an execution. Jackie has now spent over sixteen years of his life on death row, seen many of his friend’s executed, and seen others go clinically insane under the pressure of waiting to be executed. Jackie has spent his time on death row as a model prisoner and has studied and passed his high school exams. Now a devout Christian, he has struggled and conquered his drug and alcohol addictions that gripped him for so long. Sixteen years on Texas’ notorious death row relieves the sanest person of their mind, but Jackie has made positive developments in his own personal life.

Elliott v. State, 858 S.W.2d 478 (Tex.Crim.App. 1993).

Defendant was convicted of murder in the course of aggravated assault following jury trial in the 299th Judicial District Court, Travis County, Jon Wisser, J., and was sentenced to death. On automatic appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals, Meyers, J., held that: (1) evidence was sufficient to establish lack of consent to sexual intercourse; (2) defendant's requested jury charge on mitigating evidence at punishment stage was properly denied; (3) trial court's overruling of charge on mitigating evidence at punishment stage did not violate due course of law provision of state constitution; and (4) trial court acted within its discretion in admitting official copies of complaint and judgment for two prior offenses. Affirmed. Baird, J., concurred in disposition of first and third points of error, dissented to inclusion of footnote one, and otherwise joined opinion. Maloney, J., concurred in parts II and III and otherwise joined opinion. Clinton, J., dissented with opinion.

MEYERS, Judge.
Appellant was indicted for the offense of murder committed in the course of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. *480 Tex.Penal Code Ann. § 19.03(a)(2). The trial court authorized the jury to convict appellant under either theory, and submitted alternative verdict forms. On January 13, 1987, the jury found appellant guilty of murder in the course of aggravated sexual assault. At the punishment phase of trial the jury gave affirmative answers to special issues enumerated in Tex.Code Crim.Proc.Ann. art. 37.071 § (b), and appellant's punishment was assessed accordingly at death. Id., § (e). Appeal is automatic to this Court. Id., § (h).

The record shows that in the early evening of Friday, June 13, 1986, at about 6:30 p.m., Munguia was on her way to a bus stop when she was beckoned over to join a group of young men gathered around the tailgate of a pickup truck parked in the driveway of the Elizondo residence, at 2808 Gonzales, in Austin. Among those in the group were Ricky Elizondo, Pete Ramirez, Danny Hanson and appellant. Over the course of the next three hours Munguia drank anywhere from three to six beers, took "a big drink" of Everclear from a shared bottle, and ingested an undisclosed quantity of cocaine.

Both Hanson and Elizondo testified for the State. Their accounts are somewhat different, and we will summarize them separately. According to Hanson, Munguia was upset because, as she reported, her boyfriend was seeing his ex-wife again behind her back. Hanson consoled her in the backyard. Elizondo came back and asked Munguia if she would like to wash her face inside, and they went in the house. A short time later, appellant and Ramirez followed them inside, with Hanson close behind. There they found the bathroom door locked. Back outside, appellant and Hanson could see through the bathroom window that Elizondo "was kissing" Munguia. Elizondo's brother got a coat hanger, and appellant opened the door to the bathroom. Hanson related that "when we opened the door, [Munguia] was on her knees in front of [Elizondo] and [Elizondo] was zipping his pants up." Hanson thought that Elizondo and Munguia had been engaging in "probably oral sex[,]" but speculated that "maybe [Elizondo] tried to get her to do something but she--maybe she didn't want to." All the men then went back outside, followed shortly by Munguia, who asked Hanson to walk her home. Hanson could tell Munguia was drunk "[b]ecause she was crying and her words were slurred, couldn't understand her that good, and she was kind of walking like she couldn't walk too good." Hanson testified:

* * * *

Appellant stood Munguia up and began to remove her shorts and panties. Hanson asked appellant to "let her go, to let me take her home, and that's when he said that he was going to kick my ass or he was going to hit me or something." At about this moment Elizondo and Ramirez arrived. Munguia was "crying, she was asking me to help her, to take her home." Appellant laid her down on her back in the grass and began to have sex with her. Munguia "was telling him to stop, to leave her alone. She was--she kept yelling my name to help her, to get her out of there." Hanson watched as, after appellant, first Ramirez and then Elizondo had sex with Munguia, and all the while "she kept on calling me to help her[.]" Elizondo then testified that Munguia began to ask for her clothes, and Elizondo desisted. When Munguia threatened to tell the police, appellant told Elizondo he was going to have to kill both her and Hanson. He instructed Elizondo to detain them while he left to find a gun. Appellant returned shortly with a belt made out of a motorcycle chain. By this time Munguia had stood up and was looking for her clothes. Appellant struck her once and she fell. Elizondo began to run, and when he turned around again he saw appellant hit Munguia three more times with the "tail" of the belt as she lay on the ground. Munguia died as a result of this severe beating.

(The medical examiner testified that at the time of her death Munguia had a blood alcohol level of .20. A toxicologist testified that cocaine was detected in Munguia's nasal cavity. Although cocaine was not found in her blood, the toxicologist explained that "[t]he level of cocaine one finds in the blood, let's say in the occasional user, is below the detection limits of the techniques we use.")