According to court documents Jerry Bird and an accomplice would rob a gun collector, Victor Harrell Trammell, during the robbery the victim would fatally shot and the house would be set on fire
Jerry Bird would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Jerry Bird would be executed by lethal injection on June 17 1991
Jerry Bird Case
A killer who had been on death row for 17 years was put to death by lethal injection early today for the murder of an antique-gun collector.
The inmate, Jerry Joe Bird, 54 years old, was pronounced dead at 12:21 A.M., about 12 minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow. He was put to death for the 1974 slaying of a gun collector during a burglary at the man’s house in the Rio Grande Valley.
Jerry Bird, who has been on death row since 1974, had earlier been denied a commutation of his sentence or a postponement because of ill health. He had been hospitalized for nearly a week after suffering a stroke on June 9. He was returned on Friday to death row, where he had lived longer than all but one of 345 inmates condemned to death in Texas.
He became the 40th person executed in Texas and the 147th in the nation since the United States Supreme Court in 1976 let states resume use of the death penalty. Texas has had more executions than any state with capital punishment. Court Dissolves Stay
A Federal appeals court Sunday evening cleared the way for the execution when it dissolved a stay granted by a Federal judge earlier in the day. Shortly before midnight the United States Supreme Court refused, 8 to 1, to block the execution. Justice Thurgood Marshall, who opposes the death penalty in all cases, cast the sole vote for a stay.
Mr. Bird mouthed “Hi” to his mother from the death chamber, declined to give a final statement, then said: “That’s all. Go ahead. Start things rolling.”
Robert White, who was convicted of killing three people during a service station robbery in 1974, has been on death row a month longer than Mr. Bird.
Mr. Bird was put to death for the slaying of Victor Harrell Trammell. According to testimony, Mr. Bird and Emmett L. Korges burglarized Mr. Trammell’s home, stole his antique gun collection and shot him, then set fire to the house. Mr. Trammell’s wife escaped through a window.
Mr. Bird was convicted in 1974, but that conviction was overturned because of improper comments made by prosecutors in closing arguments. He was retried, convicted and again sentenced to death in 1982. He continued to live on death row even after the first conviction was overturned. Mr. Korges was sentenced to life in prison and died in 1982.
Federal District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa had granted a stay Sunday to allow lawyers time to develop arguments that Mr. Bird’s lawyers were not allowed to present mitigating circumstances in the punishment phase of his trial.
But a three-member Federal appeals panel unanimously found that the stay was without merit.
Mr. Bird had been convicted of murder in Texas in 1956 and was paroled in 1961 after serving five years.