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Jermaine Herron, a 27-year-old black male, was executed by lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas on May 17, 2006. Herron was found guilty of the 1997 murder of Betsy Nutt, a 41-year-old white female, and Cody Nutt, a 15-year-old white male. Herron, who was 18 years old when he committed the capital crime, was sentenced to death on April 28, 1999.
Ron Lucich and his family lived in a trailer home on their cattle ranch some 10 miles north of Refugio, Texas. Living in a second trailer on the property were Betsy Nutt and her son, Cody. Herron was familiar with the Lucichs and their ranch, because he and his father had lived on the property many years earlier when his father had been Ron's ranch foreman. At approximately 11 a.m. on June 25, 1997, Herron and Derrick Wayne Frazier, a 20-year-old black male, paid a visit to the Lucich residence to see about getting work. Ron was out and only his three children were home. Herron and Frazier decided to "hang out" for a while and during the visit, Ron’s wife came home. She became concerned and called Ron who told her to "get them out of there" which she did by taking everyone out for lunch. After lunch Ron’s wife dropped Herron and Frazier off at the house of one of Herron's friends. During the visit Herron and Frazier observed a number of guns that were kept in plain view around the Lucich house. They also learned that the Lucichs were planning an out-of-town day trip the next day.
Later that afternoon Herron, Frazier, and Michael Brown made plans to burglarize the Lucich residence, steal their guns, and take Nutt's truck. At around 4 p.m., the trio drove to a roadside park from which the ranch could be viewed and discussed the details of their plan. At one point, Herron pointed to Nutt's truck and said, "That's my truck."
At around 9:00 p.m. that evening, Crystal Mascorro drove Herron, Frazier, and Brown to the house of Trey Johnson, where Herron picked up a .22-caliber rifle. Mascorro then dropped them off at the entrance of the Lucich ranch. The three men were wearing bandanas on their face, and Herron was armed with the rifle.
Both Mascorro and Brown were under the impression that the rifle Herron had picked up from Johnson's house was broken and could not be used. Brown was also under the impression that no one was to be at the Lucich home. Once there Herron started talking about killing someone. At that point Brown felt that it was time to turn back and when the porch light came on at the Lucich house, he ran. Herron and Frazier subsequently joined him and they all left the ranch.
A few hours later, in the early morning of June 26, Herron and Frazier convinced Brown to drive them back to the Lucich ranch in order to complete the burglary. Brown agreed to drop off Herron and Frazier, and thereafter left the property. The pair then found a hiding spot, where they stayed until the Lucich family departed together at approximately 7:30 a.m. Herron and Frazier then entered the trailer.
After burglarizing the home, finding the guns, and gathering up everything they wanted to steal, Herron telephoned Brown and told him that he and Frazier had found some alcohol. They then positioned some chairs in front of the living room window so that they could observe the road leading up to the residence spending the next four to five hours sitting around, drinking, and waiting.
At around 2 p.m. Betsy pulled up to her trailer in her truck. Herron and Frazier, who had observed Betsy pull up, walked over to her trailer house and asked to use the phone. They told Betsy that their car had broken down. Once inside, they forced Betsy and her son to get on their knees. Herron shot each of them in the head twice. Herron again called Brown, and informed him that he had killed a woman and a little boy.
On June 29 after a warrant was issued for Herron’s arrest, Herron contacted his uncle, Captain Willie Brown of the Refugio County Sheriff's Office and surrendered himself to Brown at Brown's home. Brown read Herron his Miranda rights and informed him that if he had anything to say that he needed to say it to the investigating officer and not to him. After being transported to the county jail, Herron quickly initiated contact and made a videotaped statement confessing to the crimes.
On July 1, Herron initiated a second videotaped interview that was introduced at trial, and on August 8, Herron and Frazier were indicted for capital murder. The two men were tried separately—Frazier in October 1998 and Herron in April 1999—and both found guilty of the same crime. On October 9, 2002, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Herron’s conviction and sentence, and on August 31, 2006, the State of Texas executed Frazier.
Herron was executed on May 17, 2006 by Lethal Injection. Before his execution he ate Sirloin steak, spicy worcestershire sauce, a bacon cheeseburger w/ten slices of bacon, onion rings and fries with cheese, French dressing, a Butterfinger blizzard with carmel, pecan pie, vanilla ice cream and peach cobbler as his last meal. His last words were "Yes sir. To Mr. Jerry Nutt, I just hope this brings some kind of peace to your family. I wish I could bring them back, but I can't. I hope my death brings peace; don't hang on to the hate. Momma, stay strong. Lord forgive me for my sins because here I come. Let's go, Warden."
- Michelangelo Delfino and Mary E. Day, Death Penalty USA 2005 -2006, (2008), 260-263.
- Convicted killer Jermaine Herron talks with 6 News
- Frazier v. Dretke (2005) 145 Fed.Appx. 866.
- Herron v. State (2002) 86 S.W.3d 621.