Convicted cop killer Randall Wayne Mays’ date with death has been set less than two weeks after he lost his challenge to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee said Judge Carter Tarrance of the 392nd District Court set Mays’ execution date for March 18.
Mays was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the deaths of Tony Price Ogburn, 61, a five-year veteran from Log Cabin, and Paul Steven Habelt, 63, a 13-year-veteran from Eustace, after they came to the aid of a fellow officer.
Mays also shot and injured deputy Kevin Harris during the ordeal, which began as a domestic dispute between Mays and his wife.
McKee said Mays was not brought in from death row, nor was there a court hearing.
“The law does not require the judge to hold a hearing in order to set an execution date,” McKee said. “As soon as we received notice that the Fifth Circuit refused to grant Mays a Certificate of Appealability (COA), we filed a motion to set an execution date.”
McKee indicated this was the first available date provided to him from TDCJ through the Texas AG’s Office.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a review of Mays’ appeal in October 2011 and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied his Federal writ of habeas corpus in December.
Mays’ latest legal challenge to his conviction involved a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Federal court last December in an attempt to gain what’s known as a Certificate of Appealability for his case. The suit was partly based on assertions that Mays is mentally handicapped, therefore, the State of Texas should not be allowed to execute him.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prior cases establish a precedent that the mentally handicapped do not receive an absolute constitutional protection from death penalty laws. The judges denied his request for a Certificate of Appealability as a result.
This is the second execution date set for Mays. Texas law mandates that a court cannot set an execution date until the convict has exhausted his State Appeals and State writ of habeas corpus. In May 2011, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to set the execution date before Mays filed his federal writ of habeas corpus. Although his defense team fought the motion, the court set the date for Aug. 23, 2011.
Patricia Ogburn said recently that she has asked God to forgive Mays, but it was difficult.
“I mean, he killed my husband, so it is hard,” the 65-year-old widow said. “I just want this all to be over. This has been going on for seven years.”
Mrs. Ogburn said she will continue to pray about the situation, and though she might forgive, she said she would never forget.