The 13th Execution of 2022
The state of Texas executed Tracy Beatty on November 9, 2022 evening
for murdering his mother in East Texas in 2003, reported The Texas Tribune.
Beatty, 61, was found guilty of fatally strangling Carolyn
Click at the end of a violent and tumultuous relationship. Although his
attorneys acknowledge Beatty killed his mother, they contended the crime didn’t
qualify for the death penalty.
Lethal drugs were injected into Beatty at 6:22 p.m.
Wednesday inside the state’s Huntsville Unit, and he was declared dead 17
minutes later, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
To be sentenced to death in Texas, a person must be
convicted of not just murder, but capital murder, a specific legal subset that
includes killing a police officer or young child, killing multiple people, or
killing someone while committing another felony like robbery or rape.
“Yes, I just want to thank ... I don’t want to leave you,
baby, see you when you get there. I love you. Thank you to all my brothers back
on the unit for all the encouragement to help get my life right. Sunny, Blue, I
love you, brothers. See you on the other side,” Beatty said in his final
Although Beatty gave several versions of what happened in
his 62-year-old mother’s death, according to court records, he ultimately told
police that he came home drunk, the pair started fighting and he choked her. He
said he didn’t realize Click was dead until the next day.
But Beatty was found guilty of capital murder because
prosecutors argued he killed his mother during a home burglary, entering
without her consent, even though he lived with Click at the time. A neighbor
testified that Click had told her the day she was last seen that she had told
her son that day to move out after a fight.
“The evidence of entry without consent in this case is thin,
and the evidence of intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault even thinner,”
wrote former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Cheryl Johnson in 2009,
joined by two others in dissent of the 5-3 opinion upholding Beatty’s death
sentence. “There is no doubt that [Beatty] killed Click; the issue is whether
the burglary was proven and thus whether the offense is capital murder or
The dissenting judges pointed to the testimony of Click’s
other neighbor, Lieanna Wilkerson, who said the mother and son argued every
day. Wilkerson also said Click had told Beatty to move out before, and each
time the mother allowed him to stay or let him move back in shortly thereafter.
A majority of judges have affirmed Beatty’s death sentence,
however, in part because of his violent relationship with his mother. In the
2009 majority opinion by the Court of Criminal Appeals, the judges noted
Wilkerson had also testified that Beatty had previously beaten his mother, once
so severely he had “left her for dead.”
The judges said Beatty, jobless and poor, was likely angry
at his mother for controlling him, one time refusing to drive him to a job
interview because “she just didn’t feel like it,” according to Wilkerson.
“A rational jury
could infer that [Beatty] was angry after Click told him to get out and that he
entered Click’'s house with intent to assault her again or kill her, or at
least take some of her money or her possessions,” the court majority wrote.
Beatty had been released from prison on parole months before
Click’s death. Prosecutors at trial listed a slew of his previous criminal
charges, including injuring a prison guard and assaulting an 18-month-old
In recent attempts to stop his death, Beatty’s attorneys
revealed that one of the trial jurors knew his mother and didn’t say anything.
They argued this brought an unacceptable level of bias to his verdict and
The Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the argument,
stating it did not meet the state’s strict requirements for relief in a late
appeal, including that the discovery could have been made earlier.
In another court fight, Beatty’s lawyers argued the state’s
prison system did not allow them to properly evaluate the prisoner for possible
cognitive defects or intellectual disabilities that would bar him from
When Beatty’s lawyers sought psychological evaluations this
year to weigh a possible intellectual disability claim or mental competency,
the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s refused to unshackle him during the
examinations. The decision was atypical, his lawyers claimed, and prevented
mental health professionals from completing a full evaluation.
Amanda Hernandez with the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice said last week that the agency followed standard protocol to protect
prisoners, staff, and visitors. Federal courts noted TDCJ began requiring court
orders to unshackle prisoners during expert evaluations last year, though
without an official policy change.
Federal defense attorneys said despite “significant red
flags for mental impairments,” Beatty had never been psychologically evaluated
by a professional hired by his lawyers in the appeal process. Such red flags
included Beatty being sent this year to the psychiatric prison facility after
experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations, the lawyers said.
They argued proper evaluations are critical to determine
whether the prisoner is mentally incompetent or has an intellectual disability
that would bar his execution on constitutional grounds. Federal courts declined
to intervene, with judges from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals saying
there was no justification the appeal was anything other than a delay tactic. A
federal district judge echoed the sentiment, stating the claim Beatty had “a
long history of mental illness” meant Beatty could have been evaluated much
earlier. Beatty has appealed the rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Neither the Supreme Court nor Texas Gov. Greg Abbott intervened
in Beatty’s execution. It was the state’s fourth execution of the year. Seven
others are scheduled in Texas through September.
To read more CLICK HERE