Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charles Henry Rector: Was he guilty of murder and rape beyond a reasonable doubt?

 The Texas judicial system said “Yes” but facts in his case said “No.”

Supposedly, Carolyn Katy” Davis was kidnapped from her apartment October 17, 1981 by Charles Rector, 27, Howard Ray Simon, 21, and Michael Anthony Miller, 21. All three were on parole and lived in the same half way house on East 12th Street in Austin, Texas. There were no eyewitnesses putting Rector in Davis’ apartment. Someone at the complex came forward, and said he saw two Black men walking towards Davis’ apartment, neither of which were identified. Investigators told the media the intruders climbed through a second floor window to gain entrance to the apartment. No ladder was found under the window.

Charles Henry Rector
Police reports that I read stated that when they arrested Rector near the crime scene. He was alone and shirtless. The night was humid. He had no bruises or scratches on his body. The area where Davis’ body was found the next day was grassy and muddy.

Some important facts involving Charles Rector’s case

A)  One defense lawyer involved in the case said that without Howard Ray Simon’s testimony the case against Rector would “definitely be a circumstantial case.” Another source said it would be a strong circumstantial case, but admitted that without Simon there are no witnesses who can put Rector either with Davis or in the victim’s apartment. (Austin American Statesman)

B)  Simon hightails it to Dallas after the murder/rape. He is caught and returned to Austin. He makes a confession implicating himself, Rector and  Michael Anthony Miller. He escapes the Travis County jail and goes on the run again. A few weeks later he is shot and killed by a Logansport teenager after a robbery in Louisiana.

C)  Scattered clothing was found in the area near Davis’ nude body on the lake. Police were unsure who they belonged to.

D)  Reportedly, Rector was arrested after returning to the scene of crime to look for a knife he left. At the trial the prosecution did not present the knife that would put Rector in Davis’s apartment.

E)  This is an excerpt from a police report: “. . . a ‘78 Ford, stolen and recovered at the Hyde Park Parking Garage. Officer James Beck, reporting officer, wrote in his police report that it was seen at 2:30 a.m. I went to the police garage, observed a lot of mud. While colichi cut grass and mud and grass [are] comparable to that found on the clothing of Howard Simon of whose clothes I had gotten after 3 a.m. Rector’s car had no grass or dirt that put it at the crime scene. There was no dirt or cut grass on the pants or shoes he was wearing despite prosecutors saying he was on the lake committing the act of murder against Davis.

F)  A firearms expert testified that the caliber of pistol found in Charles Rector’s car may have been involved in the slaying, but ballistic tests proved inconclusive.

G)  In a confession Michael Anthony Miller said the three of them– Charles Rector and Howard Simon--returned to halfway house with Carolyn Davis sitting in the back seat Miller wanted to change clothes.

H)  Soil and hair taken from Charles Rector’s car did not match those found on Carolyn Davis’ body.

I)  According to Scott Eby, a witness on the night of the crime,  (from original police report, page 47) said he heard someone walking outside his apartment. He heard a female scream, and then a flash as if someone had fallen into the swimming pool. He said he looked out his window and saw the backside of one Black man, and heard the voice of more than one person. He described what they were wearing. However, by the time Charles Rector went to trial, his testimony had changed.

J)  Officer William Matthews testified that he noticed some stolen items in the trunk of Rector’s car at the end of "high speed chase" (approximately 20 to 25 MPH). He testified that Rector was wearing a pair of tight blue jeans, a pair of beige shoes, no shirt.
Williams testified that Rector had some of the victim’s jewelry in his blue jeans pockets, and was wearing a high school class ring bearing her initials. He testified that Rector was not wearing underwear.

K)  A pair of men’s underwear and a pair of pantyhose was found near the crime scene. Neither item was testified to at Charles Rector’s trial. There was no forensic report as to who the underwear and pantyhose belonged to.

L) From the beginning of the trial jurors were told the state’s case was based on circumstantial evidence, and there were no eye-witnesses to the killing of Carolyn Davis.

M)  The Austin American Statesman wrote that defense lawyers spent most of Thursday morning trying to discredit Bayardo’s testimony about the time of death. The medical examiner said Davis died about 11 p.m. Oct. 17  an hour before Rector was arrested.

Charles Henry Rector, 1999
**In a letter dated March 23, 1999, Charles Rector wrote:  “Even though we now have the evidence that I was in the custody of the Austin Police Department at the time the deceased in my case was being murdered, I can’t get the court to  give me a hearing so that I could show the court the evidence. So I may just die because I don’t have the money to pay a attorney to get me a hearing . . . I am filing a motion on my own and just maybe the court will hear my motion . . .”

N)  Joe Irvin, Carolyn Davis’ stepfather, identified Michael Miller in court as one of two men who returned to Davis’s apartment soon after the killing. Minutes after the men were spotted, Charles Rector was arrested a few blocks away.

O)  Citing a lack of evidence, jurors  on Friday acquitted Anthony Miller of the 1981 murder of Carolyn “Katy” Davis.


Medical examiner in denial

Travis County Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo was one of only two defense witnesses. The other, private investigator Don  Cripps, said Bayardo told him in December that Davis died between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Oct 18--after Rector already was in custody (Austin American Statesman). The medical examiner denied he made that statement to the investigator.

With the death of Howard Simon,  Michael Anthony Miler cut a deal with prosecutors. He was acquitted of all charges.  Miller’s parole officer said Miller had not violated his parole while spinning records in a night club, breaking his curfew.

It took 1 1/2 hours for an all white jury-- seven men, four women-- to find Charles 
Henry Rector guilty of rape and murder. The prosecution was shocked at the jury’s speeding decision, but praised them for finding Rector guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

There was no doubt in the mind of the prosecution and jury that Rector could abduct 

Carolyn Davis, drive across town to an isolated location on Town Lake, repeatedly 
rape her, shot her in the head, hold her head underwater until she drowned, drive back to her complex to search for a knife he thought he left behind. There was no mud or grass on the jeans he was wearing, no matching dirt on his shoes, no scratches or marks on his body. He did all this from between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., the time he was arrested.

Supposedly, Rector and Miller were seen running from the apartment. Supposedly, they were seen by a fingerprints expert and Davis' stepfather. I assume Miller ran in a different direction. Charles was sitting alone  in his car when police approached him. Supposedly, Charles had run a couple of blocks to his parked car. He got into the car, waiting for Miller. A policeman approached the car. Charles started the engine and engaged the officer in a "high speed" chase.

Like Troy Anthony Davis, Charles Henry Rector pleaded innocent of the crime for which he was charged with. Unlike Davis, there were no protests against Rector’s execution. But like Davis, Rector did not have money to hire a qualified attorney. Before his trial began Rector refused to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison. He said he was not guilty, and was not willing to accept a plea deal.

In a  interview with Michael Graczyk, Houston Chronicle, Rector told him, “I’m not sorry 

to have not taken the life sentence. I’d rather die than say I’m guilty. It’s not my crime. It’s not my nature to kill for blue jeans. Come on, it would take an animal to kill for a pair of blue jeans.”
 

Rector was the 172nd prisoner to be executed since Texas resumed its death penalty in December 1982 when Charles Brooks, an African American, became to the first condemned to die by lethal injection. In 1999, 17 Whites, 11 Blacks and seven Hispanics were executed. As of December 2009, the death penalty has been authorized in 36 stares. Texas leads the nation with the number executions since reinstated in 1976 after a brief moratorium. 

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