Condemned killer Ynobe Katron Matthews told a district judge Tuesday that he wants to waive his right to appeal and instead focus on settling matters with God.
"I've discussed it with my family [and] I've prayed about it," he told Judge Steve Smith· after arriving at the court shackled and accompanied by a small group of deputies. "I think that I'll just let me and [God] deal with it."
Matthews was sentenced to death last year for the May 2000 rape and murder of 21- year-old College Station resident Carolyn Casey. He also is serving a life sentence for the 1999 kidnap, rape and murder of 21-year-old Jamie Hart.
Even if Matthews does wish to die sooner, his request will not result in the immediate setting of an execution date. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will decide whether to throw out Matthews' writ of habeas corpus - one of two state appeals generally filed on behalf of death row inmates - but it must hear his direct appeal.
The writ of habeas corpus, which is optional, allows offenders to argue matters such as the constitutionality of the death penalty. The direct appeal, in which an offender can argue that evidence was not sufficient, is not optional in a death penalty case.
Even though it is optional, it is not often that a condemned convict waives his right to file a writ of habeas corpus. Most choose to pursue both, said Assistant District Attorney Doug Howell. Even if they don't overturn the court's decision, tiling state and federal appeals can often buy more time before the execution.
The only other convict to make such a move in Brazos County was David Michael Clark, who was executed in 1992. Clark did, however, later me federal appeals.
"It's not common, but it certainly does happen," said Larry Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "Sometimes the offender simply gets tired of living on death row”
Matthews said he first discussed waiving his appeals as early as May 2001, before his trial began.
"Even then I didn't believe I was guilty of capital murder, but I was guilty of something," he said. "This is something I've thought about for about 2,750 hours. There comes a time when you just have to let God intervene."
Kevin Dunn, the court appointed attorney handling Matthews' Writ of habeas corpus, said he believes Matthews is competent to make the decision, even though he disagrees with it.
When asked if he was comfortable with what he was doing, Matthews calmly responded, "Very much so."
Matthews is one of 456 inmates on Texas' death row and one of three who were sentenced for crimes that took place in Brazos County. The other two are Carl Blue and Ron Shamburger, who is scheduled to die today.