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Cedric Johnson










Death row was located in the East Building of the Huntsville Unit from 1928 to 1952.  From 1952 until 1965, the electric chair was located in a building by the East Wall of the Huntsville Unit.
The men on death row were moved from the Huntsville Unit to the Ellis Unit in 1965.  Death row remained at the Ellis Unit until 1999. In 1999, the TDCJ moved death row to the Polunsky Unit.  Death row offenders are housed separately in single-person cells measuring 60 square feet, with each cell having a window.  Death row offenders are also recreated individually. Offenders on death row receive a regular diet, have access to reading, writing, and legal materials. Depending upon their custody level, some death row offenders are allowed to have a radio. Offenders on death row do not have regular TDCJ-ID numbers, but have special death row numbers.
Hanging was means of execution between 1819 and 1923.
The State of Texas authorized the use of the electric chair in 1923, and ordered all executions to be carried out by the State in Huntsville. Prior to 1923, Texas counties were responsible for their own executions.
The State of Texas executed the first offender by electrocution on 2/8/1924. Charles Reynolds from Red River County was executed. On that same date, four additional offenders, Ewell Morris, George Washington, Mack Matthews, and Melvin Johnson were executed.
State of Texas executed brothers on six occasions:
Frank & Lorenzo Noel electrocuted 7/3/1925;
S.A. & Forest Robins electrocuted 4/6/1926;
Oscar & Mack Brown electrocuted 7/1/1936;
Roscoe & Henderson Brown electrocuted 5/6/1938;
Curtis 7/1/1993 & Danny 7/30/1993 Harris (both by lethal injection);
Jessie 9/16/1994 & Jose 11/18/1999 Gutierrez (both by lethal injection).
One of the most notorious offenders to be executed was Raymond Hamilton, member of the "Bonnie and Clyde" gang. He was sentenced from Walker County and executed on May 10, 1935, for murder. Hamilton and another man had escaped from death row, only to be captured and return to death row.
The State of Texas executed the last offender by electrocution on 7/30/1964. Joseph Johnson from Harris County was executed.
A total of 361 inmates were electrocuted in the State of Texas.
When capital punishment was declared "cruel and unusual punishment" by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 29, 1972, there were 45 men on death row in Texas and 7 in county jails with a death sentence. All of the sentences were commuted to life sentences by the Governor of Texas, and death row was clear by March 1973.
In 1973, revision to the Texas Penal Code once again allowed assessment of the death penalty and allowed for executions to resume effective 1/1/1974. Under the new statute, the first man (#507 John Devries) was placed on death row on 2/15/1974.  Devries committed suicide 7/1/1974 by hanging himself with bed sheets.
The State of Texas adopted lethal injection as means of execution in 1977.
The State of Texas executed the first offender by lethal injection on 12/7/1982.  Charlie Brooks of Tarrant County was executed for the kidnap/murder of a Fort Worth auto mechanic.
Effective January 12, 1996, close relatives and friends of the deceased victim were allowed to witness executions.


Average Time on Death Row prior to Execution: 
10.49 years
Shortest Time on Death Row prior to Execution
  Name County TDCJ Number Time on Death Row Execution Date
1. Joe Gonzales Potter 999177 252 days 9/18/96
2. Steven Renfro Harrison 999229 263 days 2/9/98
Longest Time on Death Row prior to Execution
  Name County TDCJ Number Time on Death Row Execution Date
1. Excell White Collin 511 8982 days (24 years) 3/30/99
2. Sammie Felder, Jr. Harris 550 8569 days (23 years) 12/15/99
Average Age of Executed Offenders: 
Youngest at Time of Execution
 Name County TDCJ Number Age Execution Date

Jay Pinkerton

Nueces 686 24 5/15/1986
Jesse De La Rosa Bexar 713 24 5/15/1985
Oldest at Time of Execution
Name County TDCJ Number Age Execution Date

William Chappell

Tarrant 960 66 11/20/2002

 Betty Beets

Henderson 810 62 2/24/2000




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