In June 1983 Karla Faye Tucker and her boyfriend, Danny Garret, entered the house of an acquaintance in the dead of night to steal his motorcycle.Read more...
In June 1983 Karla Faye Tucker and her boyfriend, Danny Garret, entered the house of an acquaintance in the dead of night to steal his motorcycle. Unknown to Tucker and Barret, the acquaintance and his girlfriend were asleep in the bedroom. Caught in the act, Tucker murdered the man and woman with a pickax.
Tucker was convicted of the murder in 1984 and sentenced to death. Her accomplice, Danny Garret, was convicted of murder in a separate trial and also sentenced to death. However, while in prison waiting for his death sentence to be carried out, he died of liver disease.
Carla Faye Tucker came into national prominence in January 1998 when it was announced that her execution would take place in February. In a last ditch effort to save her life, Tucker did a series of prison interviews, including one live interview with CNN's Larry King. Her argument was that she was now a good person who had found God. She wanted a second chance.
Despite an outpouring of support from Christians who felt her life should be spared since she had discovered Jesus while in prison, women's groups who felt Tucker was being unfairly discriminated against, and others who felt she was simply too attractive to be executed, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles refused to commute her punishment from death to life imprisonment. Texas Governor George W. Bush declined to postpone her execution 30 days.
Tucker was executed on February 3, 1998, by lethal injection, thus becoming the first woman executed in Texas in over 100 years. This book is about her life and death, and is written from the perspective of a woman who wanted to explore the issues associated with the acceptance of Jesus Christ by a deathrow inmate.-James L. Dickerson for A Closer Look
Karla Faye Tucker was a cold-blooded killer.
In June 1983, she used a pickax to murder Jerry Lynn Dean and Deborah Thornton as they lay in bed. They died a horrific death. Could anything be more nightmarish than being pounded in the chest, neck, face and back with a pickax? The terror is almost unimaginable.
Tucker and her boyfriend, Danny Garret, were charged with the murder. In April 1984 Tucker was convicted of capital murder by a Texas jury and subsequently sentenced to death. Later in the year, with Karla testifying for the prosecution, Garret was also convicted and sentenced to death.
Tucker and Garret appealed their convictions, a process that often takes 10 to 20 years, but before Garret could obtain a legal remedy, he received a death sentence of a different type-a fatal liver disease. He died while still in prison.
Tucker's case made news in Texas throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, but not until 1997, when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected her attorneys' request to review her case, did she begin to make national news. Her execution was set for February 3, 1998.
Tucker told reporters that she had found Jesus and repented of her sins. She was sorry about slashing those people with a pickax, but--not to make excuses, she swore--she was on drugs and half out of her mind and didn't know what the heck she was doing.
Tucker was a very appealing "victim" of capital punishment. She was what Texans call a "real sweet cutie." Some people thought she was too attractive and too darned feminine to be put to death. Others thought that her life should be spared because she had found Jesus and repented of her sins. Evangelist Pat Robertson rushed to Texas to plead for her life. CNN's Larry King interviewed her on live television.
Soon Tucker was the focus of a national debate. Some people were against the death penalty, period. Others felt squeamish because of Tucker's gender. Others still rushed to her defense because they felt that her professed belief in Jesus Christ was reason enough to spare her life. Linda Strom, the author of this book, falls in that category.
In the acknowledgment section of the book, Strom writes, "And to Karla Faye Tucker, one who knew how to give out God's love by the bucketful to all of us, this one's for you!"
Strom is up-front about her position on Tucker's execution (it took place as scheduled, with Tucker humming softly to herself as the lethal mixture of drugs surged into her veins) and she makes it clear from the beginning that the book is very much a pro Carla Faye Tucker account of her life and death.
One could easily quarrel with Strom's decision to make Tucker into a Christ-like heroine who is persecuted along the road of her death march, but that would be unfair since the author clearly entered into this project with the best of motives-namely, that even the worst of human beings can find divine forgiveness if they only ask.
Actually, this is a well-written effort by Strom. She does an excellent job of conveying the emotions of everyone involved and her writing style is concise and unpretentious. Some readers may question whether Tucker did indeed go to Heaven to be with the Lord, as Strom suggests-if every killer who repents goes to Heaven, why should anyone refrain from committing the murder of their choice?-for if that is the case, it paints a pretty pessimistic picture for those who lead exemplary lives and refrain from committing heinous crimes. Hi Mother Theresa. What'd they get you for? I snuffed out a broad and her lover with a pickax! Nice place you got here!
If you are among the many Americans who were saddened by Tucker's execution, the first execution of a female in Texas in over 100 years, you will probably find joy and comfort in Strom's account of her life.-A. J. Turner for A Closer Look
- ISBN-13: 9780877887751
- ISBN-10: 0877887756
- Publisher: Shaw Books
- Publish Date: March 2000
- Page Count: 240
- Dimensions: 8.27 x 5.29 x 0.72 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.67 pounds