Executed November 14, 2000 by Lethal Injection in Texas
B / M / 23 - 31 W / M / 44
76th murderer executed in U.S. in 2000
674th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
36th murderer executed in Texas in 2000
235th murderer executed in Texas since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Stacey Lamont Lawton
Dennis L Price
Summary: Lawton gunned down Dennis Price in his front yard with a shotgun on Christmas Eve of 1992, as he was breaking into Price's truck looking for property to steal. Lawton and his two co-defendants, Karlos Fields and Carlos Black had been involved in a two-day crime spree, breaking into homes and numerous cars in Price's neighborhood and around the County. Accomplice Karlos Ranard Fields testified at trial, identified Lawton as the triggerman, and received a life sentence in 1994.
B / M / 23 - 31
W / M / 44
Lawton v. State,913 S.W.2d 542 (1995).
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Stacey Lawton)
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Texas Attorney General
MEDIA ADVISORY - Stacey Lamont Lawton Scheduled To Be Executed (AUSTIN)
Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Stacey Lamont Lawton who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14th, 2000.
Lawton was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering 47-year-old Dennis Price. Lawton gunned down Price in his front yard on Christmas Eve of 1992, as he was breaking into Price's truck looking for property to steal. Lawton and his two co-defendants, Karlos Fields and Carlos Black had been involved in a crime spree on December 23rd and 24th of 1992, where they broke into and stole property from numerous cars in Price's neighborhood and around Smith County. The murder of Dennis Price was part of that crime spree.
In the early morning hours of December 24th, 1992, Lawton and co-defendant Carlos Black approached Price's truck and began to burglarize it. Price's daughter heard Lawton and Black and alerted Price to what was happening. When Price came out of his house, Lawton shot him in the chest with a shotgun he had stolen in an earlier burglary. Lawton and Black then ran back to the stolen truck they were in and fled the scene. Price died in his daughter's arms as she was trying to give him CPR.
Lawton and his co-conspirators were caught by police after a high speed chase. A witness described the stolen truck that fled from the crime scene and a DPS trooper later caught the group and arrested them. Lawton told police that Karlos Fields and Carlos Black were cousins and that as they all discussed carrying out the crime spree, Fields and Black openly agreed to not tell on each other, only Lawton, if something happened.
Police chased Lawton and his co-defendant as they fled from the crime scene. A witness who saw Lawton and his co-defendants flee the neighborhood was able to give police a description of the stolen truck they were in. Karlos Fields, Lawton's co-defendant, testified at trial that Lawton was the man who gunned down Dennis Price. Fields also testified that prior to the group carrying out the crime spree, that Lawton told the group he would shoot anyone who came out of a house, interfering with a burglary. Several witnesses testified that the cars driven by Lawton and his co-defendants were at the scenes of various burglaries that night. One witness testified that one of Lawton's co-defendant's had pointed a shotgun at her window earlier in the evening.
December 6, 1995 - Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Lawton's conviction and sentence,
May 15, 1995 - U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review;
April 23, 1997- Lawton filed an application for habeas corpus relief in the state trial court;
January 14, 1998 - Court of Criminal Appeals denied Lawton's habeas application;
January 20 , 1998 - Lawton filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division;
January 26, 1999- District Court denied habeas relief;
February 3, 1999 - District Court granted rehearing, but the district court once again denied relief on March 22, 1999;
May 24, 1999 - District Court granted Lawton permission to appeal;
March 1, 2000 - United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the lower court's denial of relief;
Sept. 26, 2000 - U.S. Supreme Court denies writ of certiorari.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY
At trial, the State presented evidence during the punishment phase of Lawton's prior convictions for criminal trespass and delivery of a controlled substance.
Stacey Lawton was sentenced to be executed for the shotgun slaying of 44-year-old Dennis L. Price during a burglary at the victim's home in the Indian Creek addition, west of Tyler on Christmas Eve, 1992. Dennis was shot in the chest when he confronted Lawton and two accomplices outside his home. Lawton was standing guard while his partners were looting cars in the neighborhood. He died at a Tyler hospital 15 minutes after arrival. Lawton and his accomplices fled in two stolen pickups which were later abandoned. They then stole a third pickup and were apprehended following a high-speed chase. Accomplice Karlos Ranard Fields is serving a life sentence; the other burglar was a 14-year-old juvenile. Lawton was released on parole the previous year.
Amarillo Globe-News"State Carries Out First of Three Executions Set This Week," by Michael Graczyk. HUNTSVILLE (AP) Repeatedly proclaiming his innocence, a paroled drug dealer was executed in the Texas death chamber Tuesday night for the shotgun slaying of a Tyler-area man during a burglary spree on Christmas Eve eight years ago. "I didn't kill anybody," Stacey Lawton, 31, said in a final statement. "I know how it looked, but I didn't do it." As the drugs began taking effect, he faintly gasped twice. He was pronounced dead seven minutes later, at 6:22 p.m. CST.
Lawton was the 36th condemned Texas inmate executed this year and the first of three scheduled on consecutive nights. If all three executions occur, Texas would top the record 37 executions it carried out in 1997.
Lawton, a Dallas native, was on parole after serving only seven months of a 10-year term for delivery of cocaine when he and two others went on their crime spree, breaking into as many as 16 vehicles. Their noises prompted Dennis Price, manager of the city of Tyler's data processing center, to investigate outside his family's home, where he found them trying to get into his truck. His teen-age daughter called 911 and was on the line with a dispatcher when she learned her father had been gunned down. Price, 47, died on the way to a hospital.
Lawton, in a recent death row interview, denied responsibility for Price's death. One of Lawton's partners, a 14-year-old boy, testified against him. The other, Karlos Fields, received a life prison term. Lawton said Fields was the gunman, a contention authorities disputed. "We don't have any question he was the one who shot the death shots," Dobbs said. Lawton was supposed to die six weeks ago but a judge decided he should have more time to appeal to Gov. George W. Bush for clemency because his attorney missed a filing deadline by one day. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles subsequently rejected his request that it recommend the governor grant him clemency.
Texas Execution Information CenterStacey Lamont Lawton, 31, was executed by lethal injection on 14 November in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a homeowner during a burglary.
On Christmas Eve 1992, Lawton, then 23, and two accomplices were burglarizing cars and trucks in the neighborhood of Dennis Price, 44. Price's 18-year-old daughter, Jennifer, heard noises outside their home and alerted her father. While Jennifer called 911, Dennis Price went outside and found the trio trying to break into his truck. The burglars greeted Price with a shotgun blast to the chest. The 911 tapes recorded Jennifer crying, "Oh my God! They shot my dad!" Dennis Price died on the way to the hospital. Lawton and the two accomplices -- Karlos Ranard Fields, 21, and a 14-year-old -- fled in two stolen pickups, then abandoned them and stole a third pickup. A witness saw the truck speed away and called police. Lawton and his two accomplices were caught after a high-speed chase.
Court records show that the murder weapon was stolen in an earlier burglary. Lawton's 14-year-old accomplice testified that Lawton was the gunman who killed Price.
Lawton had a prior conviction for delivery of cocaine. He served less than eight months of a 10-year prison sentence in 1990-91 before being paroled. (At this time, early release was common in Texas because of strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.)
Lawton said that the other accomplice, Karlos Fields, was the gunman. "We were looking for a truck to steal and couldn't find one," he said in a death row interview. "As far as shooting the man, I didn't do it. ... I got no business being here." Prosecutors said they are positive that Lawton was the one who killed Price. Fields was convicted of capital murder and is serving a life sentence in prison.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Lawton's appeal in late September. With his execution set for 3 October, the state district judge presiding over the case postponed it on that day because his attorneys had missed filing an appeal deadline by one day.
To the end, Lawton denied that he was the gunman who killed Dennis Price. At his execution, strapped to the guerney and with the saline solution already coursing through his body, Lawton addressed Jennifer Price, "I didn't kill your father. I mean, I know how it look [sic], but I didn't do it." (Jennifer was present for the execution but did not actually witness it.) Lawton repeated his claim of innocence several more times, while also encouraging his family and friends. As the drugs began taking effect, he faintly gasped twice. He was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m.