Friday, October 19, 2012
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit described the murder of Wendy Haupt as follows:
On October 19, 1991, Mary Ann Linch went to the apartment of her friend Michelle Wendy Haupt in Carrollton, Texas, to spend the weekend. Linch brought with her a Marlboro cigarette carton in which only four packs remained. She had purchased the cigarettes at Brookshires’ in Corsicana, Texas, and the carton contained a stamp showing Brookshires’ Store on the side. Linch left the carton at Haupt’s when they left that evening to go to a nightclub. Linch had intended to return to Haupt’s, but instead spent the night with another friend.
Linch testified that when they went to the club, Haupt was wearing a gold sand-dollar charm necklace which she always wore. During the evening, Haupt became ill. Another friend drove Haupt back to her apartment and then left. He testified that Haupt locked the door behind him.
Meanwhile, at Haupt’s apartment complex, Hines appeared uninvited at a party. When the hostess asked him who he was, he identified himself as the brother of the apartment manager. He told another guest that he was part of the maintenance crew at the complex. He pulled out a ring of keys and stated that he could get into any apartment he wanted to at any time.
At approximately 6:00 a.m. on October 20, 1991, Haupt’s next-door neighbor heard a woman screaming. He could not determine the source of the screams, but his wife called the police. Two police officers were dispatched to the scene, but the screaming had ended before they arrived. After inspecting the premises, the officers could not determine where the screams had come from and they eventually left. Two other residents in the apartment directly below Haupt’s also heard screaming loud enough to awaken them. One of the residents testified that he also heard other loud noises that sounded like a bowling ball being dropped on [Haupt’s] floor. He heard this noise at least 20 times. The screaming lasted for approximately 15 minutes. The resident of an adjacent downstairs apartment also heard the screaming.
Just before noon that morning, the residents discussed what they had heard and became concerned for Haupt. Eventually, the apartment leasing manager was persuaded to check Haupt’s apartment. After knocking and receiving no answer, the manager opened the door and saw Haupt lying on the floor just inside the door. The cord was around her neck and she appeared to be dead. The manager had someone call an ambulance.
Haupt was found dressed in only a robe and lying face up on the floor. There were puncture wounds to her chest area and the cord from the stereo was wrapped around her neck. The robe was stained with blood, but it had no holes to correspond with the puncture wounds to Haupt’s body, indicating the robe was placed on her body after the wounds were inflicted. Further, the belt to the robe was tied tighter than a person would normally tie it against her own body. An object appearing to be an ice pick was found on the nearby couch. Hines’ fingerprint and bloody palm print were found within the apartment.
Dr. Jeffrey Bernard, the Dallas County Chief Medical Examiner, testified that the cause of Haupt’s death was strangulation and puncture wounds. She had stereo speaker wire drawn tightly around her neck, abrasions to her neck and jaw, contusions on her neck and a fractured hyoid bone. She had approximately 18 puncture wounds [and] hemorrhaging. Barnard testified that the puncture wounds could have been made by the object found on the couch.
Later the same day, Hines was found to be in possession of Haupt’s gold sand-dollar charm. He had blood on some of his clothing, as well as scratches under his eye, and on his neck and cheek. Other objects from Haupt’s apartment, including the Brookshires’ cigarette carton, were found under the couch where Hines had been sleeping.
On October 21, 1991, Hines was charged by an indictment filed in the 204th District Court of Dallas County, Texas, with the capital crime of knowingly and intentionally causing the death of Michelle Wendy Haupt by strangulation and stabbing, during the course of committing burglary of Haupt’s habitation.
In March 1992, Hines was convicted and sentenced to death for the October 20, 1991, murder.
On May 10, 1995, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Hines’s conviction and sentence on direct appeal.
On February 24, 1999, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his state petition for writ of habeas corpus.
On January 22, 2002, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District, Dallas Division, denied Hines’s first petition for federal writ of habeas corpus and denied a certificate of appealability (COA) on March 5, 2002.
On December 31, 2002, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals also denied a COA.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review on October 6, 2003.
An execution date was scheduled for December 11, 2003, but was stayed on December 9, 2003, after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that Hines met the requirements for filing a subsequent writ application on his claim that he was mentally retarded and not eligible for execution pursuant to Atkins v. Virginia.
On November 23, 2005, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief on Hines’s mental retardation claim.
On February 2, 2006, Hines received authorization from the Fifth Circuit to appeal the Court of Criminal Appeals’s decision in a successive habeas petition in the federal district court.
On August 26 and 27, 2009, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kaplan held a live evidentiary hearing to determine whether Hines is mentally retarded.
On March 22, 2010, Magistrate Judge Kaplan recommended that relief be denied. On August 18, 2010, the district court adopted those findings, denied relief with prejudice, and denied a COA.
The district court denied Hines’s motion to alter and amend judgment on April 4, 2011.
The Fifth Circuit denied Hines’s subsequent request for a COA on December 27, 2011.
The Supreme Court denied Hines’s petition for writ of certiorari on May 14, 2012.
An execution date was set by the trial court for June 6, 2012. This date was voluntarily withdrawn on May 16, 2012, by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office so that it could conduct DNA testing on fingernail clippings collected from the victim’s body. Preliminary results obtained on May 15, 2012, could not exclude Hines as a source of the DNA. Additional testing completed on August 31 also did not exclude Hines as a source of the DNA.
The trial court reset his execution date for October 24, 2012.
Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. However, once a defendant is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.
During the penalty phase of Hines’s trial, the State presented evidence that Hines was removed from high school for pulling a knife and trying to cut another student after the student refused to give Hines a sheet of paper. Hines threatened to kill the student, and had to be forcibly removed from the classroom and restrained in the principal’s office. The principal felt Hines presented a danger to other students and staff. Hines had been in trouble in school on several other occasions, and had exhibited prejudice against minorities.
A police officer testified that Hines has a bad reputation for being a peaceful and law-abiding citizen.
Hines’s former juvenile probation officer, Gary Marlowe, testified:
Hines was referred to Marlowe who counseled and released him in April 1985;
shortly thereafter, Hines was placed on an informal adjustment, where the parents, the offender, and the probation officer agree to contractual conditions in an effort to avoid court;
in February 1986, Hines was placed on juvenile probation for the school fight;
in April 1986, Hines escaped custody while being transported from a detention facility in Texarkana, where he was being held for possession of a stolen car. As a result of the escape, Hines was placed in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC);
in January 1989, Hines was committed to TYC again after he attacked an elderly lady and burglarized a church; and
Hines was a legitimate risk to society, was dangerous and unpredictable, and Hines falls into a category of persons who is likely to commit further acts of violence.
The jury also learned that in May 1990, Hines pled guilty to burglary of a building and was sentenced to 10 years of probation to begin after completing boot camp. In October 1990, Hines again pled guilty to burglary of a habitation and was placed on 10 years of probation.
For additional information and statistics, please go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website at www.tdcj.state.tx.us.