Paul Dennis Reid
|Paul Dennis Reid|
|Born||Paul Dennis Reid, Jr.
November 12, 1957
|Died||November 1, 2013(aged 55)|
|Cause of death||Natural Causes|
|Other names||The Fast Food Killer|
Span of killings
|February 16, 1997–April 23, 1997|
|June 25, 1997|
Paul Dennis Reid, Jr. (November 12, 1957 – November 1, 2013), also known as The Fast Food Killer, was an American serial killer, convicted and sentenced to death for seven murders during three fast food restaurant robberies in Metropolitan Nashville, Tennessee and Clarksville, Tennessee between the months of February and April 1997. At the time of the murders, Reid was on parole from an 1983 conviction in Texas on charges relating to the aggravated armed robbery of a Houston steakhouse. He had served seven years of a 20-year sentence, and was paroled in 1990. Originally from Richland Hills, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, Reid went to Nashville to pursue a career as a country music singer.
At Captain D's on Lebanon Road in Donelson, Tennessee, on the morning of February 16, 1997, Reid entered the store before opening, under the guise of applying for a job. Once inside, he forced employee Sarah Jackson, 16, and the manager, Steve Hampton, 25, into the restaurant's cooler. Reid forced the two to lie facedown on the floor and then shot them execution style. Money, including large amounts of change, was found missing from the cash register. Reid used the cash from this robbery as a down payment on a car two days later.
At McDonald's on Lebanon Road in Hermitage, Tennessee [3.4 miles (5.5 km) northeast of Captain D's], on the evening of March 23, 1997, Reid approached four employees as they exited the store after closing. At gunpoint, he forced them back into the restaurant. Reid shot three employees to death execution style in the storeroom: Andrea Brown, 17; Ronald Santiago, 27; and Robert A. Sewell, 23. Reid attempted to shoot José Antonio Ramirez Gonzalez, but his weapon failed. Reid then stabbed Gonzalez 17 times and left him for dead. Gonzalez avoided further attacks by lying completely still and pretending to be dead. Reid then took US$3000 from the cash registers and fled. When the scene was discovered, Gonzalez was taken to a nearby hospital, treated, and ultimately survived. He eventually testified against Reid.
At Baskin-Robbins on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville, Tennessee, on the evening of April 23, 1997, Reid went to the door after closing and persuaded the employees to let him inside. Once inside, Reid kidnapped Angela Holmes, 21, and Michelle Mace, 16, and forced the two to Dunbar Cave State Park. Their bodies were discovered the next day at Dunbar Cave Park. Their throats had been slashed.
Reid was convicted on seven counts of first-degree murder across three trials. Jurors from West and East Tennessee were brought in and sequestered, because a judge determined that the overwhelming media coverage in Nashville would prevent the selection of an unbiased jury from Middle Tennessee.
In the Captain D's murders, Steve Hampton's driver's license and a video rental card were found in the median of Ellington Parkway with Reid's fingerprints on each. Reid was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder.
In the Baskin-Robbins murders, Reid's car was found to contain forensic evidence from the victims, as well as evidence of a credit card gasoline purchase near the location of the bodies on the night of the murders, placing him at the scene around the time of the crime in an area roughly 40 miles (64 km) from his home. Witnesses also placed a vehicle similar to Reid's vehicle in the immediate area at the time of the crime. Blood evidence from the victims was found on his shoes. He was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder. The Clarksville trial took place in the time between the two Nashville trials.
Reid received seven death sentences for his convictions, the first two coming on April 20, 1999. Reid's execution was stayed several times in the years following, including an instance in 2003 just hours before the scheduled execution. Reid eventually waived his right to an appeal. Members of his family, along with anti-death penalty activists, claimed he was mentally handicapped and unable to make such a decision, and filed multiple motions (both successful and unsuccessful) to stay his execution. However, the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld all of Reid's sentences. Reid's case has received national attention among anti-death penalty activists.
His latest execution date was scheduled for January 3, 2008, but was stayed on December 26, 2007 by US District Judge Todd J. Campbell, pending investigation into the constitutionality of Tennessee's lethal injection methods. The stay was part of a larger investigation, and not directly related to Reid's case. On April 16, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in a Kentucky case upholding the legality of execution by lethal injection. The state of Tennessee immediately began appealing stays of execution to resume death penalty cases, including Reid's.
After his arrest, Reid's family (notably his sister, Linda Martiniano) argued that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial, and after his convictions, they argued that he was not able to make sound legal decisions. Reid displayed erratic decision-making, choosing to appeal some verdicts and not others, and professing his will to die as sentenced after having fought to avoid such a fate earlier in his defense. At the same time, however, Reid showed signs of paranoia, calling his defense team "actors" and claiming he was part of a United States government mind-control project called "Scientific Technology" that monitored his every move. In cross-examinations, the prosecution attempted to counter this defense by claiming Reid was a crafty con artist using these "delusions" as a defense mechanism.
Other crimes suspected
For a time, Reid was considered a prime suspect in the 1993 Brown's Chicken massacre in Palatine, Illinois due to the similar nature of the crime in relation to the two incidents in Nashville. Characteristics included shoeprints found at the scene and descriptions of the killer that matched Reid's profile. His alibi checked out, however, and Reid was later ruled out as a suspect. Juan Luna was convicted on seven counts of murder in 2007. On September 29, 2009, Luna's cohort, James Degorski, was found guilty of all seven counts of murder. On October 20, 2009, Degorski was sentenced to life in prison. All but two of the jurors had voted for the death penalty.
Reid died at Nashville General Hospital at Meharry, on November 1, 2013. The cause of death was from complications due to pneumonia, heart failure, and upper respiratory issues. Reid had been in the hospital for about two weeks.
- Mass murderer Paul Dennis Reid dies on death row
- Tennessee Department of Correction Inmate Photos
- "Texan Wants To Drop Death Row Appeals". KWTX.com. December 2, 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- [dead link]
- "State Supreme Court Affirms Reid Convictions, Death Sentences For McDonald's Murders". The Chattanoogan. December 27, 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- "1st Jury Brought From Another City in 7 Years". Nashville, Tennessee: NewsChannel 5.com. 2006-08-07. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- "Opinions". TN AOC - Supreme Court. 2nd Quarter 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-26. Check date values in:
- Reid, Paul Dennis (June 28). "The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty". Democracyinaction.org. Retrieved 2008-10-26. Check date values in:
- [dead link]
- "Multiple Death Sentences". State.tn.us. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- Icamina, Paul (December 26, 2007). "Federal Court Stays Execution Of Convicted Tennessee Murderer". Nashville, TN: Allheadlinenews.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- "Injection ruling lets Tenn. resume cases".[dead link]
- "Judge to rule on convicted serial killer's inaction".[dead link]
- Paul Dennis Reid's cause of death revealed
- http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/opinions/tsc/CapCases/reidPD/ReidPD.htm - Various legal documentation related to Reid case
- https://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/reidpd_122706.pdf - 2006 Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals decision to uphold death sentences
- https://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/reidpdDIS_122706.pdf - 2006 Tennessee Court of Criminal appeals dissenting opinion