Executed January 18, 2001 by Lethal Injection in Texas
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6th murderer executed in U.S. in 2001
689th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Texas in 2001
241st murderer executed in Texas since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Alvin Urial Goodwin, III
James Douglas Tillerson
Along with accomplice, Billy Aitkens, Goodwin forced his way at gunpoint into the mobile home of victim, robbed and kidnapped him to woods and shot him. Body found 7 weeks later. Goodwin gave complete confession while in Iowa jail as burglary suspect. Aitkens received life sentence. Defendant had been paroled from Auto Theft 6 months earlier.
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Goodwin v. State, 799 S.W.2d 719 (Tex. Cr. App. 1990).
Goodwin v. Texas, 111 S.Ct. 902 (1991).
Goodwin v. Johnson, 132 F.3d 162 (10th Cir. 1997)
Goodwin v. Johnson, 224 F.3d 450 (10th Cir. 2000).
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Alvin Goodwin)
Texas Attorney General
Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - MEDIA ADVISORY - Alvin Goodwin Scheduled To Be Executed.
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Alvin Goodwin who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 18th. Goodwin was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1986 murder of James Douglas Tillerson in Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas. Tillerson was shot to death on or about Nov. 30, 1986, during a robbery. In confessions to police, Goodwin admitted committing the murder.
According to Goodwin's confession, between 8 and 10 p.m. on the night of Tillerson's murder, Goodwin and Billy Dan Atkins Sr. drove by Tillerson's trailer. Goodwin and Atkins talked about either getting a loan from Tillerson or robbing him. Goodwin and Atkins then approached Tillerson's trailer. When Tillerson answered the door, Atkins ordered him to sit in a chair and demanded money. Tillerson told them that he did not have any money, but they proceeded to ransack Tillerson's trailer anyway. They found no money, but they took other items and ordered Tillerson to his car. Atkins drove while Goodwin sat in the front seat, pointing a .357 Magnum at Tillerson. When they got to a wooded area, Atkins and Goodwin ordered Tillerson to get out and walk ahead of them. When they reached a dense area of the woods and could not walk any farther, Atkins tried to shoot Tillerson but the gun did not discharge. At that point, Goodwin raised his .357 Magnum and shot Tillerson and he fell to the ground. Goodwin thought he had only grazed Tillerson, so he shot him again. When Goodwin saw blood coming out of Tillerson's head, he and Atkins ran back to the car.
On December 1, 1986, Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies received a report of a theft at Tillerson's trailer house. Tillerson had not reported for work that morning and had not been seen since the previous Sunday. On January 17, 1987, a body was discovered by trail-riders approximately two and one-half miles from his trailer at the edge of the woods near Fawnmist Road in Montgomery County. At the scene, police officers inspected the body's clothing and tentatively identified the body as Tillerson. The Harris County Assistant Medical Examiner positively identified the body as Tillerson. The examination disclosed that Tillerson had been dead for approximately one month and had died from a gunshot wound to the head. A second wound had been made by a bullet entering Tillerson's right arm, exiting at the forearm.
Goodwin and Atkins were arrested in the state of Iowa on separate charges more than a month after Tillerson's murder. Goodwin gave a full confession on videotape and was extradited to Montgomery County where he was interviewed by officers and later gave a written confession.
Inmate Delbert Burkett testified that while he and Goodwin were being held together in the Montgomery County Jail in January of 1987, an article about the Tillerson murder appeared in the paper. Goodwin read the article and passed the paper to other inmates, saying that he had gone to Tillerson's trailer to steal a government check. Goodwin said that he and an accomplice entered the trailer with guns, forced Tillerson to sit on the couch while they removed objects from the trailer, then took Tillerson into the woods. There, Goodwin shot Tillerson in the arm. Tillerson fell to the ground, pleading and screaming. Goodwin said that he "was tired of him screaming and sniveling," so he shot Tillerson in the head with a .357 pistol. After shooting him, Goodwin and the accomplice left Tillerson in the woods. Burkett heard Goodwin tell this story several different times.
Goodwin had a prior conviction for burglary of a motor vehicle. Also, at the time of his arrest in Iowa, Goodwin and another person had been caught breaking into several cars, houses and garages. As Goodwin ran from Iowa police, he pointed a cocked and loaded pistol at one of the officers. It was later determined that the gun had been stolen from a house in Burlington, Iowa. Additionally, Goodwin burglarized a neighbor's apartment in December of 1986, in Huntsville, Texas.
July 30, 1987 - Following a jury trial, Goodwin was found guilty of capital murder.
August 3, 1987 - After hearing additional evidence relating to punishment, the jury affirmatively answered the two special issues presented pursuant to Article 37.071 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. In accordance with state law, the trial court imposed the death sentence.
October 24, 1990 - Goodwin's conviction and sentence were automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed the conviction.
June 28, 1991 - The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari review.
November 6, 1991 - Goodwin filed a petition for state writ of habeas corpus.
June 25, 1993 - The state convicting court recommended that habeas relief under Article 11.07 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure be denied.
June 29, 1994 - The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied state habeas relief.
November 4, 1994 - Goodwin filed a second application for state habeas relief.
December 8, 1994 - The state convicting court recommended that the subsequent writ also be denied.
January 27, 1995 - The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief on Goodwin's second state petition.
February 27, 1995 - Goodwin filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus which was denied on March 6, 1995.
December 23, 1997 - The Fifth Circuit vacated that portion of the district court's judgment denying habeas relief on Goodwin's Fifth Amendment claim and remanded for an evidentiary hearing on the issue of whether Goodwin invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel upon being taken to the Burlington police station. It affirmed the judgment of the district court in all other respects.
September 21, 1999 - After hearing oral argument on the evidence, the district court entered findings of fact on September 24, 1999. The court found that Goodwin did not invoke the right to counsel in Iowa before he confessed to the Texas Rangers and also made an additional finding that Goodwin's delay in raising the issue substantially prejudiced the State's ability to establish precisely the sequence of events.
October 18, 1999 - The district court denied Goodwin's petition for writ of habeas corpus but granted his application for a certificate of probable cause.
August 17, 2000 - The Fifth Circuit affirmed the federal district court's order dismissing Goodwin's federal petition for writ of habeas corpus.
December 18, 2000 - Goodwin filed a petition for writ of certiorari, which is currently pending in the United States Supreme Court.
Texas Execution Information Center by David Carson.Alvin Urial Goodwin III, 37, was executed by lethal injection on Thursday, 18 January 2001, in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a homeowner following a burglary.
In November 1986, Alvin Goodwin, then 22, and Billy Dan Aitkens Jr., 21, forced their way into the mobile home of an acquaintance, James Douglas Tillerson, 20. With guns drawn, they demanded that he give them his $600 Christmas bonus. They didn't know that Tillerson had already deposited the money in the bank. When he told them he didn't have the money, they took his VCR, some video tapes, and a small amount of cash. They then took Tillerson into their car, drove to a wooded area, and marched him into the woods. Aitkens attempted to shoot Tillerson, but had problems with his gun. Goodwin then shot Tillerson in the arm and head with a .357 caliber pistol.
Two days later, police pulled Aitkens, Goodwin, and two other men over for a traffic violation. They seized the gun which later proved to be the murder weapon. Tillerson's decomposing body was found by trail riders seven weeks later, on 17 January 1987. Goodwin and Aitkens were tracked down four days later in Iowa, where they had been arrested on unrelated burglary charges.
Goodwin had previously been convicted of auto theft and served 10 months of a 5-year sentence. He was paroled in June 1983. In March 1985, he returned to prison as a parole violator with a new 2-year sentence for burglary. He was released in May 1986.
In addition to having the murder weapon, prosecutors had a confession from Goodwin. He was convicted of capital murder and given the death penalty by a jury. Billy Dan Aitkens, who had no prior felony convictions, was convicted of burglary and murder with a deadly weapon and received a sentence of life in prison.
Thursday's trip to Huntsville was the seventh execution date set for Goodwin during his 13 years on death row. Most of his appeals concerned the propriety of the traffic stop and seizure of the murder weapon and his confession while under arrest in Iowa. Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeals. He was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m.
The Lamp of Hope (Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
January 18 - TEXAS - 14 years after a Conroe man was taken from his home and fatally shot in an aborted cash robbery, the parolee convicted of gunning him down was executed in the Texas death chamber today. He said goodbye in Gaelic and closed by saying "all right, warden." Alvin Goodwin sputtered and grunted twice as he exhaled. He was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m., 7 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his muscular, tattooed arms. Texas executed a record 40 prisoners last year and at least 7 other inmates already have execution dates for 2001.
Goodwin, who declined to speak with reporters in the weeks preceding his execution date, had at least seven previous execution dates. About an hour before his execution, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, denied a request for an emergency stay. At the same time, a separate appeal from Goodwin was rejected with no dissent by the high court. He did not request relief from Gov. Rick Perry, who has the authority to issue a 1-time 30-day reprieve.
Goodwin, a former carpenter and press operator, already had a record when authorities said he and a companion burst into the home of an acquaintance in Conroe, guns drawn, to steal the man's $600 Christmas bonus. When tool company worker Douglas Tillerson told the intruders he didn't have the money, they took a video cassette recorder and some tapes, drove him about 2 miles from his Montgomery County trailer home and marched him into some woods, evidence showed. Accomplice Billy Aitkens Jr. tried to shoot Tillerson but his gun misfired twice. Goodwin's didn't. "It was for no apparent reason than just to see a man die," Mary Ann Turner, a former assistant district attorney in Montgomery County who prosecuted Goodwin, said this week. "It was an unnecessary death. He killed just to kill in this particular case."
Tillerson's body was discovered by trail riders Jan. 17, 1987, 6 weeks after relatives reported him missing and his trailer ransacked. 4 days later, Goodwin and Aitkens were tracked down in Burlington, Iowa, where they had been under arrest on unrelated burglary charges. The murder weapon actually had been seized from Aitkens' car the day after Tillerson's Nov. 30, 1986, killing when Montgomery County sheriff's deputies pulled over Aitkens, Goodwin and 2 other men during a traffic stop.
Testimony at his trial showed Goodwin had claimed ownership of the .357-caliber Magnum pistol. Ballistics tests tied it to the fatal wound suffered by Tillerson, who already had deposited his Christmas bonus in the bank when the 2 gunmen showed up at his home. Authorities also had videotaped and written confessions from Goodwin, who was no stranger to the Texas criminal justice system. In 1982, the 10th-grade dropout was convicted in Harris County of burglary and auto theft but was paroled to Galveston County after serving only 11 months of a 5-year prison term. Less than 2 years later, he was back in prison as a parole violator plus a new 2-year sentence for burglary from Walker County. After 14 months, he was released under mandatory supervision to Nueces County. 6 months later, the Tillerson murder occurred.
The propriety of the traffic stop and seizure of the weapon that connected Goodwin to the murder, along with questions about the legality of his confession to authorities in Iowa, led to numerous appeals over the years. "I don't think it's good for anybody," former prosecutor Turner, who now works as a defense attorney, said of the lengthy process. "I don't think it's good for the defendant to not know his fate for 14 years and it's definitely not good for the victims and the state in this particular case. "Capital punishment has its place and I wish somehow we could all be satisfied how it's administered. And I don't know we can ever do that."
Aitkens, now 35, is serving a life prison term for the attack.
Goodwin becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 241st overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. Goodwin becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 689th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
Friday, January 19, 2001 - "Conroe Killer Put to Death"
HUNTSVILLE (AP) - Fourteen years after a Conroe man was taken from his home and fatally shot in an aborted cash robbery, the parolee convicted of gunning him down was executed in the Texas death chamber Thursday night. Alvin Goodwin, 37, was the second Texas death row inmate to receive lethal injection this year and the second of three set to die this month. He died at 6:22 p.m.
He said goodbye in Gaelic and closed by saying "all right, warden." He sputtered and grunted twice as he exhaled. He was pronounced dead seven minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his muscular, tattooed arms. Texas executed a record 40 prisoners last year and at least seven other inmates already have execution dates for 2001.
Goodwin, who declined to speak with reporters in the weeks preceding his execution date, had at least seven previous execution dates. About an hour before his scheduled execution, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, denied a request for an emergency stay. At the same time, a separate appeal from Goodwin was rejected with no dissent by the high court. He did not request relief from Gov. Rick Perry, who has the authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve.
Ohio native Alvin Goodwin was sentenced to death for the November 30, 1986 abduction and shooting death of 20-year-old James Douglas Tillerson of Conroe. Goodwin and his accomplice Billy Dan Aitkens Jr. forced their way into Tillerson's mobile home and stole a VCR and tapes as well as a small amount of money while holding Tillerson at gunpoint. They then kidnapped Tillerson and took him in Aitkens' car to a wooded area where he was shot in the arm and head with a .357 caliber pistol. His body was found in a decomposed condition on January 17, 1987. The killers were arrested in Iowa a few days later. Aitkens was sentenced to life in prison for murder.