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Betty Lou Beets

Mugshot of Betty Lou Beets
Born March 12, 1937(1937-03-12)
Died February 26, 2000 (aged 62)
Huntsville, Texas
Charge(s) Murder for remuneration
Penalty Death
Status Executed
Occupation Cashier, waitress
Spouse Jimmy Don Beets (murder victim)

Betty Lou Beets (March 12, 1937 – February 26, 2000) was a murderer executed in the U.S. state of Texas. She was convicted of shooting her fifth husband Jimmy Don Beets on August 6, 1983.

Contents

Crime

Beets reported that her husband was missing on August 6, 1983 from their home near Cedar Creek Lake, in Henderson County, Texas. Her son, Robert Branson, would later testify that Beets had said that she intended to kill her husband and told her son to leave the house. On returning two hours later to the house, he found Jimmy Don Beets dead with two gunshot wounds. He helped his mother conceal the body in the front yard of the house, after which Beets telephoned the police.

According to her son, the next day, Beets took some of Jimmy Don's heart medication and put it in his fishing boat. Branson and Beets then left the boat in the lake. It was found on August 12, 1983, washed ashore near the Redwood Beach Marina, after three weeks of unsuccessful searching by law enforcement officials.

Two years later, information was received by the Henderson County Sheriff that led to enough evidence to arrest Beets for the murder on June 8, 1985. A search warrant was issued and a search of the Beets's home found the remains of Jimmy Don. Also found buried in a garage were the remains of Doyle Wayne Barker, another husband of Beets. Both had been shot with a .38 caliber pistol. She was never tried for Barker's murder. Jimmy Don Beets was her fifth husband. She was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Trial and procedural history

Her trial for the murder for remuneration and the promise of remuneration of Jimmy Don Beets began on July 11, 1985 in the 173rd District Court of Henderson County. She pled not guilty, and claimed that two of her children had committed the murders. She was found guilty on October 11. Three days later, during the separate penalty phase, she was sentenced to death. As with all death sentences in Texas, there was an automatic appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which first overturned the conviction saying that insurance and pension benefits were not the same as remuneration. The State requested a rehearing on September 21, 1988 and this time the Court ruled the conviction and sentence should stand.

10 years of appeals followed. The Supreme Court of the United States denied a writ of certiorari on June 26, 1989, and an execution date was set for November 8. On November 1, she received a stay from the trial court after she filed a state habeas petition. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied this request on June 27, 1990, leading to a second execution date of December 6. A federal petition for writ of habeas corpus was filed three days before her scheduled execution and the federal district court granted a stay of execution on December 4. Throughout the first half of 1991, evidentiary hearings were held and on May 9 the court granted relief on one of Beets's claims, but denied all others. The United States Court of Appeals upheld the decision on March 18, 1993, but also overturned the one claim that had been granted relief. The case was sent to a federal district court and on September 2, 1998, it denied her habeas corpus relief. After her appeals were denied throughout 1999, an execution date was set for February 26, 2000.

Execution

She was executed by lethal injection at 6:18 p.m. CST at a state prison in Huntsville. She did not request a final meal nor did she make a final statement. She was only the second woman executed in the state since the reintroduction of the death penalty. At the time of the execution, she was 62 years old, and had five children, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

See also

References

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