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Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Friday, July 7, 2000



AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Orien Cecil Joiner who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 12th.

Orien Cecil Joiner was convicted and sentenced to death in April 1988 for the December 1986 murders of Carol Lynette Huckabee and Eva Marie DeForest. Joiner murdered Huckabee and DeForest, who were roommates, in their Lubbock apartment. Huckabee was stabbed in the chest and her throat was cut. Evidence also showed that Joiner had raped Huckabee. DeForest was stabbed 41 times and was found with blunt force trauma to her forehead. Also her throat was cut.


  • A resident of the apartment complex where Huckabee and DeForest lived, saw Joiner near their apartment with blood on his shirt and dripping from his hand.

  • Two days after the murders, pictures of Joiner were taken showing a cut on his right hand, cuts on his fingers and bloodstains on clothes he was wearing the day of the murders.

  • Joiner told police that he saw two black men running out the back of the victims' apartment, however, there were no footprints found leaving the scene or on muddy ground on the other side of the fence Joiner told police the men jumped over.

  • Tests done on Joiner's shirt found that a blood stain on the shirt matched the blood type of Carol Huckabee. Another stain found on Joiner's shirt matched DeForest's blood type.


  • March 18, 1992, Court of Criminal Appeals denied motion for rehearing.

  • June 28, 1993, United States Supreme Court denied petition for writ of certiorari.

  • June 11, 1998, Trial court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that briefing filed in State court be denied.

  • Sept. 16, 1998, Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief based on its own review.

  • March 2, 1999, Federal District Court denies relief and affirms Joiner's conviction.

  • April 6, 1999, District Court denies permission to appeal.

  • Nov. 30, 1999, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denies permission to appeal.

  • April 3, 2000, Supreme Court denies writ of certiorari.

  • To date, Joiner has not filed a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.


  • Joiner had behaved violently toward his wife shortly before he committed the murders. Shortly after Thanksgiving Joiner and his wife agreed to separate. On Sunday, Dec. 14,1986, Joiner arrived unexpectedly at Gustafson's (his wife) apartment. As soon as she let him inside, Joiner closed the door behind him, pulled an open knife from his right rear pocket, and placed it to her throat. Joiner carried this particular knife with him on a daily basis. He then told Gustafson "not to say anything and not to scream or he would kill [her] right there." Joiner then walked Gustafson over to the couch and punched her twice in the face with his right fist. He cut her sweater off and forced her to remove her pants and underwear. He punched her several more times in the face, chest, stomach, and ribs. Joiner continued this physical abuse of his wife throughout that night and the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 15, 1986. He punched her in the face and mouth several more times and, at one point, attempted to strangle her. During this entire episode, Joiner repeatedly told Gustafson that he "ought to kill [her] right then and there."

    Joiner made Gustafson call in sick to work. All that day, he kept her and son James inside the apartment. By Tuesday morning, Gustafson had convinced Joiner that she would not have him arrested and that they would be reconciled. He then allowed her to leave with James to go to work. Gustafson did not return until Wednesday evening, accompanied by a girlfriend and two police officers, to retrieve her clothing and that of her son.

  • Kathleen Gustafson also testified that in 1985, she was doing laundry in the laundry room when she needed to use the bathroom. When she returned, Joiner did not believe her explanation of where she had gone, accusing her of lying and "screwing around." While she held her young son, Joiner hit Gustafson in the stomach with his fist, hard enough to cause her to drop to her knees. The noise caused a custodian to go to the laundry room to check on what had happened. A few months later, Gustafson's son was tickling Joiner as he slept. Joiner grabbed him by his hair and threw him off the mattress. Gustafson remembered slapping Joiner and told him to leave James alone. Joiner then pulled out his knife and threatened, "Don't ever hit me again."

  • Around Christmas, 1986, Joiner called Gustafson from the Lubbock County Jail, following the Huckabee and DeForest murders. He asked if she were going to file for divorce. When she answered affirmatively, Joiner threatened to have both her and her son killed.

  • The jury also heard several other instances of Joiner's violent conduct. Pat Fink, who had worked with Joiner and Gustafson since 1985, testified that he had seen Joiner threaten people with his knife on four or five occasions. In Fink's opinion, Joiner had a quick and violent temper.

  • Ernest Denman had been Joiner's employer from September 1984 until March 1986. He saw Joiner threaten co-workers with his knife on two occasions. First, Joiner had indicated his desire to cut off facial features, i.e., a nose, tongue, or ear. On the second occasion, Joiner threatened to make "a woman" out of a male co-worker. Joiner was also placed on a 90-day probation by Denman for pulling his knife on a group of workers who were unloading his trailer.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS 07/26/2000 Juan Soria (Tarrant County)
08/09/2000 Oliver David Cruz (Bexar County)
08/09/2000 Brian Keith Roberson (Dallas County)
08/16/2000 John T. Satterwhite (Bexar County)
08/22/2000 Richard Wayne Jones (Tarrant County)
08/23/2000 David Earl Gibbs (Montgomery County)
08/30/2000 Jeffery Caldwell (Dallas County)


If this execution is carried out, it will be the 224th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 60th since General Cornyn took office.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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