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Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, July 27, 2000


Oliver David Cruz Scheduled to be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Oliver David Cruz who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Wednesday, August 9th.

In October of 1989 Oliver David Cruz was convicted and sentenced to death for the August 1988 rape and murder of 24-year-old Kelly Donovan. Donovan was a linguist in the Air Force, stationed at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. On the night she was murdered, Donovan had left her dorm room to go for a walk after work.

Cruz and his friend, Jerry Daren Kemplin, kidnapped Donovan as they drove home from a party where they had engaged in binge drinking. Donovan was walking on the road that Cruz and Kemplin were driving down. After forcing her into the car, Cruz and Kemplin drove Donovan to a secluded area, forced her to get out and demanded that she take off her clothes. Cruz then told Donovan to lie on the ground and then he raped her while Kemplin stayed in the car listening to the radio and smoking a cigarette.

After about 10 minutes, Cruz told Donovan to get to her feet and to come around to the back of the car. There, Cruz raped her again. Cruz asked Kemplin if he wanted to rape Donovan, but he refused. As Donovan lay on the ground crying, Cruz remarked to Kemplin, "That's all I need to do is go to jail for rape." Cruz then went to the car, got a knife and stabbed Donovan repeatedly.

In the days following the rape and murder of Kelly Donovan, Cruz admitted to killing at least three other people. When Cruz returned the bloody murder weapon to his friend, he told him that he had just raped and killed Kelly Donovan. When Cruz was confronted by another friend with a newspaper article about the murder, Cruz again claimed responsibility for killing Kelly Donovan.

Cruz called police when he heard they were looking for him and provided blood and saliva samples that linked him to Kelly Donovan's murder. Cruz also gave police a detailed statement about the murder, as did Kemplin, who corroborated Cruz' confession.


  • Cruz gave a written statement to police admitting that he killed Kelly Donovan.
  • After raping Donovan, Cruz told his accomplice Jerry Kemplin, that he did not want Donovan to identify them. Shortly after saying that, Cruz got a knife and stabbed Donovan to death.
  • When Cruz returned the knife he killed Kelly Donovan with to a friend, he admitted to killing Donovan.
  • When another friend confronted Cruz with a newspaper article about the murder, Cruz again admitted to killing Donovan.
  • The jury also heard testimony from expert witnesses about Cruz' alleged diminished mental capacity. The jury was instructed to consider this issue in Cruz' favor before determining his sentence.


  • June 23, 1993 - Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Cruz' capital conviction.
  • Oct. 31, 1994 - United States Supreme Court denied Cruz' petition for writ of certiorari.
  • Oct. 15, 1997 - Court of Criminal Appeals denied State habeas relief.
  • Nov. 9, 1999 - District court entered final judgement denying Cruz' federal habeas petition.
  • July 21, 2000 - Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied federal habeas relief.
  • Cruz has filed a petition for clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.


  • One witness testified during the punishment phase of the trial that Cruz had shot him with a shotgun. The witness suffered minor injuries.
  • Two police officers testified during the punishment phase of the trial about an incident where Cruz resisted arrest on some traffic warrants. Cruz kicked one officer in the chest, groin and face. He also threatened to kill both officers.
  • A Bexar County detention officer testified during the punishment phase of the trial that Cruz hit one inmate, knocking him to the ground, while he was in jail in 1988.
  • Another detention officer testified that he saw Cruz and another inmate in a fight, which Cruz later said was started because of a racially motivated encounter on his part.
  • When Cruz' co-defendant, Jerry Daren Kemplin testified at the guilt phase of the trial, he said Cruz mouthed a threat to him after his testimony at trial, telling Kemplin that he messed up by testifying and that he was going to be dead.


08/09/00 Brian Keith Roberson (Dallas County)
08/16/00 John T. Satterwhite (Bexar County)
08/22/00 Richard Wayne Jones (Tarrant County)
08/23/00 David Earl Gibbs (Montgomery County)
08/30/00 Jeffery Caldwell (Dallas County)
09/13/00 Miguel A. Richardson (Bexar County)
10/04/00 Stacey Lamont Lawton (Smith County)
11/01/00 Jeffrey Dillingham (Tarrant County)
11/08/00 Gary Wayne Etheridge (Brazoria County)
11/09/00 Miguel Angel Flores ( Hutchinson County)
11/15/00 Tony Chambers (Smith County)


If this execution is carried out, it will be the 226th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 62nd since Attorney General Cornyn took office.

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