Vaughn Ross Texas Execution
Vaughn Ross was executed by the State of Texas for a double murder. According to court documents Vaughn Ross would shoot and kill Texas Tech dean Douglas Birdsall and 18-year-old Viola Ross McVade. The victims bodies were found in Birdsall vehicle. DNA found at the scene would tie Vaughn Ross to the double murder. Viola Ross McVade was Vaughn’s girlfriend sister and the two had a stormy relationship. Vaughn Ross would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. Vaughn Ross would be executed by lethal injection on July 17, 2013
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The U.S. Supreme Court is considering an appeal to block the execution of a former Texas Tech graduate student convicted of a 2001 double slaying in Lubbock.Vaughn Ross is to die Thursday evening in Huntsville for the fatal shooting of a university dean and an 18-year-old woman who was with him in a car. Prosecutors say Viola McVade was the sister of Ross’ girlfriend and had been feuding with Ross. They say Tech’s associate dean of libraries, 53-year-old Douglas Birdsall, was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Vaughn Ross is to die Thursday evening in Huntsville for the fatal shooting of a university dean and an 18-year-old woman who was with him in a car. Prosecutors say Viola McVade was the sister of Ross’ girlfriend and had been feuding with Ross. They say Tech’s associate dean of libraries, 53-year-old Douglas Birdsall, was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ross’ attorneys say lawyers at his trial and in earlier stages of his appeals were deficient and his case should be reviewed.
The execution would be the second this week and 10th this year in Texas
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A former Texas Tech graduate student said he was lied on before becoming the 10th inmate executed in the state this year, and the second in three days.
Vaughn Ross, 41, was killed by lethal injection for a double murder committed in Lubbock in January 2001. Ross was convicted of killing 53-year-old Douglas Birdsall and 18-year-old Viola Ross McVade, whose bodies were found in Birdsall’s car near a gully.
In his final statement, Ross was both calm and defiant.
”This is what it is,” he said to his friends and loved ones. “I know this is hard for ya’ll but we are going to have to go through it. We know the lies that were told against me in that court. We know it’s not true. I want y’all to be strong and keep going.”
Except, there were no witnesses at the execution on Ross’s behalf, though his mother Johnnie Ross had been outspoken following the 2002 conviction. Ross did not address either of the victim’s family or admit to guilt in his final statement.
“You know I don’t fear death,” Ross said, both his chest and right arm strapped to the death chamber gurney. “I know we weren’t expecting this, but this is what it is.”
Birdsall’s brother Roger stood silently witnessing the execution through a barred death chamber window. After the drugs were administered and Ross was visibly sedated, the victim’s brother wiped a single tear from his left eye.
Roger Birdsall declined to speak with reporters to hasten the process, one Texas Department of Criminal Justice official said.
Birdsall’s son, Nathaniel, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, his father raised him to believe the death penalty was unjust.
“I am saddened that the loss of two lives will be needlessly compounded by the taking of a third,” he said.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal by Ross roughly half an hour before he was taken from his holding cell at 6:03 p.m. Ross was pronounced dead exactly 35 minutes later.
While he was in jail, tape-recordings showed Ross admitting to his mother that he “might have” been involved in the murders.
Matt Powell, the Lubbock County district attorney who prosecuted the case, told The Associated Press last week that it was the closest thing they had to a confession, and that “a guy could never lie to his mama.”
The AP cited court documents that show Birdsall was introduced to McVade through a friend in pursuit of a prostitute.
Rather than claiming innocence, Ross has contended his previous appeals attorneys neglected to note that his trial lawyers didn’t present evidence that may have persuaded jurors to sentence him to life in prison. Assistant Texas Attorney General Tomee Heining argued that that Ross’ trial lawyers called witnesses on Ross’ behalf and managed an “admirable mitigation defense” even though Ross had instructed his family and friends not to cooperate.
Ross was linked to the murders after detectives found his and Birdsall’s DNA on part of a latex glove in the car. Blood from both victims was traced through DNA tests on Ross’ sweatshirt.
Birdsall was an associate dean of libraries at Texas Tech and McVade was the sister of Ross’ girlfriend, with whom there was a feud. Prosecutors contended that McVade was the intended target and Birdsall was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The victims suffered 11 wounds, and McVade was shot three times in the head at close range.
There are 279 death row inmates in Texas and like Ross, 108 of them are black. The remaining six executions on the schedule are white and Hispanic males, three apiece.
Huntsville holds the nation’s most active death chamber. This was the 502nd state execution since 1982.
Douglas Alan Feldman is set to die on July 31.
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