A man convicted of murdering two teenage boys is scheduled to be executed Tuesday in Texas, the busiest capital punishment state in the U.S.
Lonnie Earl Johnson, 44, was convicted of murdering Leroy "Punkin" McCaffrey Jr., 17, and Sean Fulk Schulz, 16, after he solicited a ride from them outside a convenience store on Aug. 15, 1990. Authorities said he told the teens he was having car trouble and asked for a lift.
Lawyers acting on Johnson's behalf have argued the slayings were in self-defense after the two teens, who were white, threatened Johnson, a black man, with racial epithets and that Harris County prosecutors withheld evidence favorable to him and relied on perjured testimony.
"That's disgusting," Chris Schulz, the father of Sean Fulk Schulz, said referring to the self-defense arguments. "The victims, they're being victimized in their graves with stories like that. That was one of the least believable stories I've heard, knowing my son. He was such a non-racist person, such a gentle person. He would just help anybody, and that's what this is all about."
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday denied a request to stop the punishment and rejected Johnson's petition. The appeals have been filed with federal courts.
Harris County prosecutors, who denied any improprieties with evidence, have contended Johnson's allegations of racial slurs never surfaced at his trial.
Witnesses said he was looking for help with his disabled car. Johnson, who said he was training for a tryout with the pro football Houston Oilers, said he was out jogging, the teens offered him a ride home and he accepted.
Johnson said the pair pulled a gun on him and, fearing for his life, he wrestled with them to grab the weapon. They were shot in the tussle, he said.
He would be the 19th inmate to be executed by the state this year.
The next condemned Texas inmate scheduled to die is Kenneth Parr, convicted of the January 1998 rape-slaying of a 28-year-old woman. The Aug. 15 punishment is one of five lethal injections set for that month in Texas' death chamber.