Mountain View Unit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mountain View Unit
Entrance to TDCJ Mountain View Unit.jpg
Location 2305 Ransom Road
Gatesville, Texas 76528
Coordinates 31°29′12″N 97°43′41″W / 31.486667°N 97.728056°W / 31.486667; -97.728056
Status Operational
Security class G1-G5, Administrative Segregation, Death row
Capacity 645
Opened July 1975
Managed by TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division
Warden Melodye Nelson
County Coryell County
Country USA
Aerial photograph of the prisons in Gatesville, January 13, 1996, United States Geological Survey

Mountain View Unit is a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison housing female offenders in Gatesville, Texas. The unit, with about 97 acres (39 ha) of land, is located 4 miles (6.4 km) north of central Gatesville on Farm to Market Road 215.[1] The prison is located in a 45 minute driving distance from Waco.[2] In addition to its other functions, Mountain View Unit houses the state's female death row inmates.

Death row offenders are housed separately from the rest of the prisoners in single-person cells measuring 60 square feet (5.6 m2), with each cell having a window. They do not have recreation individually. Some are allowed to watch television, though this is dependent upon agreeing to work for free, and all have a radio.

Karla Faye Tucker, executed February 3, 1998, was the first woman to be executed in Texas since 1863. The most recent female to be executed was Lisa Ann Coleman, executed on September 17, 2014.

Among the better known death row offenders at Mountain View are Linda Carty, Brittany Holberg and Darlie Routier.

A notable woman in the prison is Yolanda Saldívar, the murderer of Tejano superstar Selena. Saldívar shot and killed her on March 31, 1995 in Selena's hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. Saldívar is currently serving her sentence of life imprisonment. She will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025, the day before the 30th anniversary of Selena's murder.

As of 2004 the facility is not signposted from the area main highway.[3]


Topographical map of the Gatesville prison units (Mountain View, Christina Crain, Hilltop, and Hughes), United States Geological Survey, 1994

The Mountain View State School closed in 1975, and its boys were sent to other facilities. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice bought the land and buildings. The facility re-opened as a women's prison.[4] The Mountain View Unit opened in July 1975.[5]

Around 2001 several inmates at Mountain View were in a Windham School District effort to translate textbooks into braille.[6]


Ruth Hill of The Observer described the unit as "intimidating," saying that the "bunker-like buildings are punctuated with slit windows and wreathed in wire, with guard towers on every corner".[7] In regards to the name Hill stated "But there is no mountain, and from the prison's death row, there is no view".[7] The female death row inmates may participate in a work program and have limited viewing of a television located outside of their cells.[5] Each death row inmate may have limited association with the other inmates. The women on death row are permitted to knit and sew.[7] The current death row building opened in 2000. Amy Dorsett of the San Antonio Express-News said that the facility has "gleaming white walls, sun-filled cells and a decorative recreation room".[8]

Notable inmates[edit]

Death row[edit]


Awaiting execution[edit]

Non-death row[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mountain View Unit". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 10, 2010.
  2. ^ Krajicek, David. "On Death Row". Sue Basso, Crime Library. Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  3. ^ Hannaford, Alex. "'I'm not afraid of dying. I'm just angry'". The Guardian. Monday July 26, 2004. Retrieved on September 26, 2010.
  4. ^ "Mountain View School for Boys". Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Turner Publishing Company, 2004. 100. ISBN 1-56311-964-1, ISBN 978-1-56311-964-4.
  6. ^ "News Briefs". Windham School District. 3rd Quarter of 2002. Retrieved on May 30, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d Hill, Ruth. "Linda Carty: 'someone is trying to take my life for someone else's crime'". The Observer at The Guardian. Sunday June 27, 2010. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Dorsett, Amy. "Grim Unit Gets Face Lift New death row for women ready". San Antonio Express-News. September 13, 2000. Metro/South Texas 1B. Retrieved on July 19, 2010.
  9. ^ "Karla Faye Tucker: Born again on death row". CNN. March 26, 2007. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Executed Offenders". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  11. ^ "Betty Lou Beets". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
  12. ^ "Last Statement—Betty Lou Beets". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
  13. ^ Tilghman, Andrew. "Woman faces execution, but not without a fight". Houston Chronicle. November 29, 2004. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  14. ^ "Offender Information Detail Holberg, Brittany Marlowe". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 23, 2010. Enter the TDCJ number "00999258" or the SID "5149809".
  15. ^ Hollandsworth, Skip. "Maybe Darlie Didn't Do It". Texas Monthly. July 2002. Retrieved on July 23, 2010.
  16. ^ "Offender Information Detail Saldivar, Yolanda". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on December 30, 2009. Enter the SID "05422564".
  17. ^ "Offender Information Detail Zamora, Diane". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on December 30, 2009. Enter the SID "05713081".

External links[edit]