TX Woman’s Execution Will Be 15th Since 1976

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) – A Texas woman convicted of starving and beating to death her girlfriend’s child is to be executed Wednesday, after the 5th Circuit rejected her last-ditch appeal.
     Lisa Ann Coleman, 38, was convicted of the 2004 capital murder of Davonate Williams, the 9-year-old son of her lover Marcella Williams, whom she admitted to tying and beating.
     Paramedics found the boy’s body on the morning of July 26, 2004 with more than 250 wounds. Wearing only a diaper, he was covered in bandages and weighed just 35 lbs., according to evidence presented at her 2006 trial.
     At trial, Coleman confirmed witness accounts that she bound and beat Davontae “on several occasion, though she denied other accusations, including that she had locked Davontae in a pantry,” according to a summary of the case.
     The cause of death was determined to be malnutrition and pneumonia.
     It took a Tarrant County jury less than an hour to convict Coleman of capital murder and kidnapping. During the punishment phase, jurors found no mitigating circumstances and she was sentenced to death on June 21, 2006. Marcella Williams, the boy’s mother, was spared the death penalty after accepting a life sentence in a plea deal on capital murder charges.
     Coleman’s attorney’s made several unsuccessful attempts to overturn the death sentence, including a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, which was denied on Feb. 24 this year.
     The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied her post-conviction relief in state court on Sept. 10. The next day Coleman introduced four affidavits in Federal Court that allegedly proved Davontae was not kept in the house and couldn’t have been kidnapped.
     But on Tuesday, the three-judge panel unanimously found the district court properly construed her rule 60(b) filing as a subsequent habeas petition. The 5th Circuit rejected Coleman’s request for stay of execution, finding that her appeal raises essentially the same ineffective assistance of counsel claim as her previous affidavits.
     Coleman would become the ninth death row inmate executed in Texas this year and only the sixth woman put to death since 1982 in the country’s most active death-penalty state, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
     Nationally, she would become the 15th woman executed since 1976, when the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume. The state executed convicted murderer Suzanne Basso by lethal injection in February.
     Texas has two more executions scheduled this year.

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