The sister of the victim and religious officials have pleaded with authorities to spare the life of a Texas prisoner who is scheduled to be executed on Thursday for the murder of another prisoner over 26 years ago.
William Speer, a death row convict in Texas who killed another prisoner more than 26 years ago, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, October 26, 2023. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice provided this undated photo of Speer.
William Speer, 49, is scheduled to be given a fatal injection at the Huntsville state penitentiary. He was found guilty of killing Gary Dickerson by strangulation in July 1997 at the Telford State Prison, which is situated in northeastern Texas, close to New Boston.
According to Speer’s attorneys, he has changed while incarcerated, showed guilt for his deeds, and is currently involved in leading a religious program that provides care for other death row convicts.
State and federal courts have been requested by his attorneys to stay the execution. A stay motion centers on claims that during Speer’s 2001 trial, prosecutors withheld relevant information, gave fabricated testimony, and neglected to provide evidence regarding Speer’s difficult upbringing. They claim Speer suffered from physical and sexual assault as a young child. The accusations made against the prosecutors have been refuted.
Additionally, Speer’s lawyers had requested that his execution be postponed due to allegations that the state’s stock of pentobarbital—the medication used in executions—had been unsafely exposed to high heat during a recent fire.
This week, the top criminal appeals court in Texas and a federal judge rejected appeals based on this assertion. Another prisoner, Jedidiah Murphy, made a similar accusation, but it was not successful, and he was put to death earlier this month.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office stated that potency and sterility tests were performed on the execution drugs following the fire. The state can “handle Speer’s execution in a safe and humane manner,” according to officials, as demonstrated by Murphy’s execution.
Prosecutors claimed Speer killed Dickerson in an attempt to become a member of the Texas Mafia prison group. After erroneously believing Dickerson had notified the authorities about tobacco it had attempted to smuggle into the prison, the gang ordered the hit.
For the killing, Speer and another prisoner, Anibal Canales Jr., received death sentences. Canales is still awaiting execution.