Executed December 6, 2000 by Lethal Injection in Texas
W / M / 39 - 50 Acquaintance None None
81st murderer executed in U.S. in 2000
679th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
39th murderer executed in Texas in 2000
238th murderer executed in Texas since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Daniel Joe Hittle
W / M / 17
Mary Alice Goss
W / F / 39
W / F / 4
Richard Joseph Cook Jr.
W / M / 36
Raymond Scott Gregg
W / M / 19
Daughter of Acquaintance
In November 1989, Hittle was involved in a feud with Mary Goss, described in court testimony as his drug dealer. One day, after an argument with his wife, he drove away from his home carrying a 20-gauge shotgun in his pickup truck. When Garland police officer Gerald Walker, 48, stopped Hittle for speeding, Hittle shot him in the chest at close range. He then proceded to Goss's home, kicked in the door, and opened fire, killing Goss, 39, Richard Cook Jr., 36, and Raymond Gregg, 19. After reloading, he shot Goss's 4-year-old daughter, Christy Condon, then he drove back home. Christy died in a hospital two days later. Hittle was on parole for killing his adoptive parents at the time of the murders.
W / M / 39 - 50
Hittle v. Johnson, 121 S.Ct. 649 (2000).
Hittle v. Texas, 114 S.Ct. 700 (1994).
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Daniel Joe Hittle)
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Texas Execution Info CenterDaniel Joe Hittle, 50, was executed by lethal injection on 6 December in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a police officer.
In November 1989, Hittle was involved in a feud with Mary Goss, described in court testimony as his drug dealer. One day, after an argument with his wife, he drove away from his home carrying a 20-gauge shotgun in his pickup truck. When Garland police officer Gerald Walker, 48, stopped Hittle for speeding, Hittle shot him in the chest at close range. He then proceded to Goss's home, kicked in the door, and opened fire, killing Goss, 39, Richard Cook Jr., 36, and Raymond Gregg, 19. After reloading, he shot Goss's 4-year-old daughter, Christy Condon, then he drove back home. Christy died in a hospital two days later.
Unknown to Hittle, Officer Walker had radioed the license plate number of his truck, and police were looking for him. They spotted him near his home and gave chase. After Hittle ran his truck off the road and wrecked it, he began shooting at his pursuers. He surrendered when he ran out of ammunition. After refusing orders to show his hands, Hittle was twice engaged by a police dog. Hittle then complied with police orders and was arrested. Convicted of Walker's murder, Hittle was not tried for the other four murders.
In 1973, Hittle was convicted in Minnesota of killing his adoptive parents. Court testimony showed that he stabbed them to death because their dog scratched his truck. He served eleven years in prison before winning parole in 1984.
Hittle declined to speak with reporters in the weeks before his execution. His final statement consisted only of the words "Santajaib Singh Ji," the name of an Indian religious teacher who advocated love and nonviolence. He was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m.
Texas Attorney General
Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - MEDIA ADVISORY - Daniel Joe Hittle Scheduled To Be Executed
Hittle was convicted and sentenced to death for the November 1989 murder of 48-year old Gerald Walker, a police officer with the city of Garland.
Hittle had an ongoing feud with his drug dealer, Mary Goss, and had told several people that he intended to kill her and not leave any witnesses. On August 2, 1989, Hittle was arrested as he was trying to break into Goss's home. While he was being taken to jail, Hittle said several times that he would "get" Mary Goss and "take care" of her.
On November 15, 1989, Hittle attended a party at Mary Goss's home. Also attending were Mary's sister, Tammy; Mary's daughter, Christy Condon; Rick Cook, Mary's boyfriend; and Scott Gregg. Tammy left the party around 10:30 p.m. and Hittle soon followed. At about 11:00 p.m. Hittle's neighbor overheard Hittle and his wife arguing, and heard Hittle say "I am going to kill the b----." That same neighbor went outside and saw Hittle, with a long barreled gun in his hand, leave in his red Chevy pickup truck. At about 11:10 p.m., Officer Gerald Walker saw Hittle's truck speeding down the road and pulled Hittle over. As Walker approached Hittle's pickup, Hittle shot him once in the chest. Hittle then drove to Mary Goss' house.
At about 11:25 p.m., Mary Goss' neighbor heard four gunshots. Around 11:45 p.m., Tammy Goss returned to Mary's apartment and found the bodies of Rick Cook, Scott Gregg and Mary Goss. Four-year-old Christy Condon was found gurgling in her own blood. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced brain dead two days later. All four people had been killed by Hittle.
Hittle was finally arrested after a chase and gunfight between Hittle and police officers. He was charged with multiple counts of capital murder, but was only tried for the murder of Officer Walker.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY - At the punishment phase of Hittle's trial, evidence emerged that:
Hittle killed his adoptive parents in Minnesota because their dog scratched his truck. Hittle showed little or no remorse for their deaths. He was on parole for murdering his parents at the time of his killing spree in 1989.
Hittle told a friend that killing people was not that exciting, or just not that big of a deal to him.
The police officer who arrested Hittle for the murders of his parents recalled that Hittle had threatened him when he arrested Hittle several months earlier; Hittle said to him, "I will remember you when we meet again." Hittle had threatened police officers on at least two other occasions as well.
Hittle was abusive to his first wife; he pointed a loaded shotgun at her when she refused to turn over his car keys, and then struck her one-year old daughter in the face. Hittle once gave the daughter a monkey doll, then one day took it away from her and tied it over her playpen in a hangman's noose. On another occasion, Hittle beat his first wife after she became upset over Hittle informing her he was unfaithful. Hittle brought her daughter in to watch the beating, and told her to say goodbye to her mom; then Hittle began choking his wife with so much force she saw spots.
Hittle was physically and emotionally abusive towards his second wife as well. The day of a wedding shower for them, he hit her when she didn't clean up the pieces of a mirror he broke. Hittle also once shot out her tire, and he kicked her in the stomach when she was pregnant and past her due date. Hittle slapped his second wife's baby daughter across the face when she wouldn't stop crying, and he failed to support the two of them financially; instead, he spent his disability pension on alcohol.
On another occasion, Hittle tied his parents' dog against a tree, shot it, and left it hanging there; he then fired another shot into the side of the house, tearing a hole in it, and laughingly said he had "air-conditioned" the structure. During high school, Hittle killed a neighbor's dog by beating it to death with a club, because it would not stop barking one night.
During Hittle's prison sentence in Minnesota, he was written up for a series of disciplinary violations; including: possession of a knife, two instances of possession of contraband and drug paraphernalia, disobeying a direct order and interfering with a shakedown, possession of marijuana, interfering with a correctional officer, disorderly conduct, possession of contraband drugs and paraphernalia again, refusing to comply with an order while already in segregation, inciting other inmates to riot, destruction of property while already in segregation, disobeying a direct order and being verbally abusive (again, while already in segregation), arson, use of intoxicants, possession of drugs and/or paraphernalia again, and fighting with another inmate.
APPEALS - To date, eight courts, both state and federal, have reviewed Hittle's case and rejected his appeals. The United States Supreme Court is currently reviewing Hittle's latest appeals.
Fight the Death Penalty USA
A Minnesota parolee convicted of 3 murders, including the killings of his adoptive parents, and accused of 4 other slayings in Dallas during a shooting spree 11 years ago was executed this evening for the death of a policeman. Prosecutors used words like "scary" and "evil" to describe condemned murderer Daniel Joe Hittle, 50, whose execution was the second of 3 scheduled for this week and the 39th this year in Texas, adding to the state's record total for the year.
"Sant ag ib Singh," Hittle said in a last statement. "That's it." Prison officials said Hittle belonged to a religious sect that followed the teachings of Singh, the name of an Indian religious teacher who advocated love and nonviolence. Hittle then nodded, smiled and winked at his spiritual adviser, the only person he selected to watch him die. As the drugs began taking effect, he sputtered and exhaled slightly. 9 minutes later he was pronounced dead, at 6:20 p.m. CST.
According to Michael Radelet, chairman of sociology at the University of Florida and the keeper of a database on U.S. executions, the Texas total this year is the most carried out by a state in American history. The Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center said Hittle's death would lift the Texas total to equal the highest in a state since 1862 when 39 Native Americans were hanged on a single day in Minnesota. Those executions, however, were carried out by the military and not the state, the records indicate.
Hittle, whose appeals were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, made no clemency request to Gov. George W. Bush, who had authority to grant a one-time 30-day reprieve. Only once in his nearly 6 years in office has Bush used the power to stop an execution and that inmate subsequently was put to death.
Hittle, who declined to speak with reporters in the weeks before his execution, was condemned for gunning down Gerald Walker, a Garland police officer who had pulled over Hittle for speeding the night of Nov. 15, 1989. Walker, the 1st Garland officer to be killed in the line of duty, was 1 of 5 people Hittle was accused of killing that night. Among the 4 others was a 4-year-old girl. Among the witnesses was Walker's widow, Beckie, and Jimmie George, a fellow Garland police officer.
Beckie Walker released a statement thanking state and local authorities for their support. George said Hittle's execution would not bring back his friend. "However, the death of Daniel Hittle will guarantee that no police officer will ever face the danger of dealing with him again," he added. "Therefore, the state of Texas will be a safer place in which to live and work." Hittle was tried only for the death of Walker, 48, a 17-year veteran of the suburban Dallas police force.
He already was on parole from Minnesota, freed in 1984 after serving 11 years of a 30-year term for killing his adoptive parents. Authorities said the Staples, Minn., couple was fatally stabbed when Hittle became enraged because he believed their dog scratched his truck. "Obviously a very violent vicious human being," said Dallas Assistant District Attorney Toby Shook, one of the prosecutors in the police slaying case. "A poster boy for the death penalty," added Andy Beach, another of the prosecutors. "He is the classic sociopath."
Court documents show he had a long-simmering feud with Mary Goss, described as his drug dealer, and was thrown out of her East Dallas home where there was a party that night. Some three months earlier, Goss, 39, had him arrested for slashing her tires. Testimony showed Hittle returned home, had an argument with his wife and was seen leaving his home carrying a long-barrel gun. 10 minutes later, Walker stopped Hittle's red pickup truck for speeding and was shot in the chest at close range. Hittle went to the Goss house, where he kicked in the door and opened fire. Killed were Goss; Richard Cook Jr., 36; Raymond Gregg, 19; and Goss' daughter, Christy Condon, 4. Evidence showed the child was killed with different type of ammunition, meaning he had to reload his 20-gauge shotgun to kill the girl.
What Hittle didn't know was Walker had radioed the license plate number of his truck. Police spotted him near his home and after a short chase, he wrecked the truck and then began shooting at them. He surrendered after he ran out of ammunition. His shotgun was linked to all 5 murders.
Testimony at his trial showed he repeatedly beat his wives and threatened and beat their children and abused and killed animals. Records also showed while imprisoned in Minnesota he had numerous violations, including drug possession, inciting a riot and arson. And Hittle becomes the 151st condemned inmate to be put to death during the tenure of Governor George W. Bush, who assumed office in January 1995. (sources: Houston Chronicle & Rick Halperin)
ProDeathPenalty.ComConvicted capital murderer Daniel Joe Hittle, accused of slaying seven people since 1973, was sentenced to death for murdering a suburban Garland police officer on November 15, 1989. Hittle was described by witnesses as a man who gleefully killed or tortured animals and who routinely beat women and children. He was on parole for the killings of his adoptive parents in Minnesota when he shot Garland police officer Gerald Walker during a traffic stop. According to testimony, Hittle returned home after being thrown out of a party at the house of Mary Goss, 39. At home, he argued with his wife and left carrying a shotgun. Ten minutes later, Officer Walker stopped Hittle's pickup for speeding, and the 17-year officer was shot in the chest. Hittle returned to the Goss house, kicked in the door and opened fire. Killed were Ms. Goss; Richard Cook Jr., 36; Raymond Gregg, 19; and Ms. Goss' daughter, Christy Condon, 4. Evidence showed he had to reload his 20-gauge shotgun to kill the little girl. Police later spotted his fleeing vehicle and exchanged fire with him until he ran out of ammunition. His shotgun was linked to all five murders. Among the witnesses was Officer Walker's widow, Beckie, and Jimmie George, a fellow Garland officer, who said, "The death of Daniel Hittle will guarantee that no police officer will ever face the danger of dealing with him again." Police say Hittle then sped to East Dallas, where he fatally shot Mary Alice Goss, 39; Richard Joseph Cook Jr., 36; Raymond Scott Gregg, 19; and Goss' 4-year-old daughter Christy Condon. He was convicted of capital murder in Walker's death. Hittle, who seemed jovial and carefree throughout the trial, said nothing, merely nodding when State District Judge Richard Mays pronounced the death sentence. The Dallas County jury deliberated about an hour. "He had to be stopped from hurting anyone else," said Hittle's sister, Judy Anderson who lives in Minnesota. At trial she testified against her brother, describing the pain she felt when she learned that Hittle killed their parents on their Minnesota farm in 1973. Anderson also said she felt some remorse. "This is like a funeral," she said. "He's gone. And despite everything he's done, he's part of the family." A 17-year veteran of the police department, Walker was the first officer in Garland, a Dallas suburb, killed in the line of duty. Prosecutors said that Hittle, who had a loaded 20-gauge shotgun in his car, wanted to kill the officer because he knew having the weapon would be a violation of his parole. Hittle was paroled in 1984 after serving 11 years in a Minnesota prison for the murders of his adoptive parents. Witnesses testified that for the last two decades, Hittle led a cruel life. He often beat his wives and children, seemed to take pleasure in killing animals and had murdered his parents after their dog scratched his truck, according to testimony. He also often talked of killing police officers and later bragged about killing his mother and father, witnesses said. "Obviously a very violent, vicious human being," said Dallas Assistant District Attorney Toby Shook, one of the prosecutors in the police killing case. "A poster boy for the death penalty," added Andy Beach, another of the prosecutors. "He is the classic sociopath." After the jury delivered the death sentence, Walker's widow, flanked by Garland police, said jurors "did what they had to do." But Becky Walker also said she was concerned that parole laws aren't adequately protecting Americans. "There are other Hittles running around out there," she said.