Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Daniel Earl Reneau Scheduled to be Executed
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Daniel Earl Reneau, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, 2002.
On March 20, 1997, Daniel Earl Reneau was sentenced to death for the capital murder of Kris Keeran during a robbery, which occurred in Kerrville, Texas, on Jan. 2, 1996. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
Over a two to three-week period in December 1995, Daniel Earl Reneau and Jeffrey Wood formulated plans to rob a Kerrville gas station. Both men attempted to recruit two employees of the business to participate in the crime. After the employees refused to help, Reneau and Wood proceeded with the robbery themselves. Wood's girlfriend, Nadia Mireless, testified that Reneau was frustrated over the employees refusal to cooperate.
At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Jan. 2, 1996, while Wood waited outside, Reneau entered the gas station with a gun and pointed it at Kris Keeran, the clerk standing behind the counter. Reneau ordered him to a back room. When he did not move, Reneau fired one shot that struck Keeran between the eyes. Death was almost instantaneous. Without checking on the condition of the victim, Reneau proceeded with the robbery and Wood joined him. Both men removed a safe, a cash box and a videocassette recorder containing the store's surveillance tape.
Reneau was indicted on Jan. 22, 1996 in the 216th Judicial District Court of Kerr County, Texas, for the capital offense of murdering Kris Keeran during the course of committing or attempting to commit robbery, which occurred on or about Jan. 2, 1996. After a change of venue, Reneau was tried before a jury in the 216th Judicial District Court of Gillespie County, following his plea of not guilty. On March 18, 1997, the jury found him guilty of the capital offense.
On March 20, 1997, following a separate punishment hearing, the jury answered the two statutory special issues "yes" and "no," respectively. In accordance with state law, the trial court assessed Reneau's punishment at death. Reneau's conviction and sentence were automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed in an unpublished opinion on Jan. 27, 1999.
Reneau then filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court which was denied on Nov. 8, 1999.
Reneau filed a state application for writ of habeas corpus in the state trial court on Nov. 2, 1998. The state court denied the relief by written order on Sept. 15, 1999. Reneau filed his federal petition for writ of habeas corpus on March 8, 2000. The federal district court denied habeas relief on April 2, 2002. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of relief on Dec. 5, 2001. Thereafter, Reneau filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on April 8, 2002. The Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari on June 10, 2002.
CRIMINAL HISTORY/PUNISHMENT PHASE EVIDENCE
During the punishment phase of Reneau's trial, Nadia Mireless testified that for a period of time, she shared a home with Reneau, Jeffrey Wood and her sister. She testified that during that time, approximately 10 or 11 firearms were stored at her house. She testified that Reneau had indicated to her that he and Jeffrey Wood obtained the firearms in burglaries that they had committed. Mireless identified two firearms, previously reported missing in burglaries, as firearms stored at her home.
Seventeen-year-old Benny Skinner testified that he took part in the burglary of Medina Children's Home with Reneau, Jeffrey Wood and Aaron Toledo. He testified that they stole rifles from the children's home and that while committing the burglary, Reneau carried an SKS assault rifle. Skinner testified that he also was involved with Reneau and Jeffrey Wood in the burglary of a residence where they stole two 12-gauge shotguns and a .22-caliber automatic. Finally, Skinner testified that on one occasion Reneau stuck an assault rifle in his chest and threatened to kill him if he ever told anyone about the burglaries.
Eighteen-year-old Aaron Toledo testified that he participated in two burglaries with Reneau and had been convicted for both. He also testified that Reneau was armed during the commission of the burglaries and stated that he would shoot anyone who discovered them. He identified State's Exhibit No. 35 as one of the weapons stolen in the burglary of Medina Children's Home. Toledo testified that he also participated in the burglary of a gun store in Harper, Texas, in December 1995 with Reneau, wherein a number of guns were stolen. He stated that Reneau was armed during the commission of that burglary with a .22 and an SKS assault rifle. He identified State's Exhibits 33 and 36 as weapons taken in the Harper gun store burglary. Toledo also testified that Reneau pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him if he told anyone about the burglaries. Finally, Toledo testified that on the night before the robbery and murder in the instant case, Reneau and Wood came to his home, stated that they were going to get a lot of money, and asked him to participate. He did not. He testified that on that evening he saw an AR-15 assault rifle and the .38 from the Harper burglary in the back of the truck Reneau and Wood were driving.
Justin Lemond testified that he was in a jail cell with Reneau after Reneau was arrested for the instant offense. Lemond testified that Reneau told him that he was afraid he might get caught because he lost some scissors from a previous robbery that would connect him to the instant offense and that he might be on videotape. Reneau also bragged to Lemond that he was responsible for the majority of the crimes in the Kerrville area. Lemond testified that he wanted out of the cell block because he was afraid of Reneau and because Reneau was talking about trying to escape, saying that he wasn't afraid to take out a jailer to do it.
Eugene Libscomb, a Kerr County jailer, testified that he overheard Reneau and Wood planning an escape attempt and speculating that in their attempt to escape they would need a car and would have to shoot the driver and the passenger.
John Edwin Price, Jr., a shift supervisor at the Kerr County Sheriff's Department testified that he also overheard Reneau and Wood planning an escape in which they discussed killing a police officer during transport and taking his car.
Erin Bailey, a clerk at the Kerr County Mini Mart, testified that on the night of November 30, 1995 she was robbed at gunpoint. Although she could not identify the person who robbed her because he wore a bandana covering his face, she could identify State's Exhibit 37 as the scissors that the person used to cut the phone cord.
William Hierholzer, chief investigator for the Kerr County Sheriff's Department testified that Reneau gave a statement in which he confessed to the Mini Mart robbery. Reneau's statement was admitted into evidence. The gun Reneau used in the robbery which was recovered near the scene and referred to in Reneau's statement was also admitted into evidence.
For additional information and statistics, please log on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.
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