Death Row Inmate Who Waived Appeals Set to Die Tonight
Convicted murderer Daniel Lee Lopez is scheduled to be executed in Huntsville Wednesday — and it's exactly what he wanted.
OK, OK — he didn't wake up one morning and decide to be sent to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's death row; that came after his 2010 conviction for killing Corpus Christi police officer Lt. Stuart Alexander. The 20-year veteran was laying out spike strips on a freeway exit ramp in an attempt to stop Alexander, who was fleeing from police in an SUV. Lopez had scuffled with an officer who pulled him over for running through a stop sign. Lopez had previously pleaded guilty to indecency with a child and was on probation. Officers found cocaine and a small scale in his SUV.
After filing one appeal arguing that the death penalty was unconstitutional, Lopez made headlines by waiving all other appeals, much to the chagrin of his attorneys.
"Attorneys representing Lopez refused to accept his intentions, questioning federal court findings that Lopez was mentally competent to volunteer for execution," the AP reported. "They appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the punishment, arguing his crime was not a capital murder because he didn't intend to kill the officer, and that Lopez had mental disabilities and was using the state to carry out long-standing desires to commit suicide."
One of his attorneys, Texas Innocence Network founder and University of Houston Law Center Professor David Down, told the high court that "It is clear Lopez has been allowed to use the legal system in another attempt to take his own life," according to the AP.
The news organization also reported that "Lopez was properly examined by a psychologist, testified at a federal court hearing about his desire to drop appeals and was found to have no mental defects, state attorneys said in opposing delays in the punishment."
Last week, Lopez told the AP that "It's a waste of time just sitting here. I just feel I need to get over with it."
We're sure prosecutors wish more offenders were willing to go gently into that good night like Lopez. If only the innocent ones didn't put up such a fuss!