In 1996, a Harris County jury found White guilty of murdering Annette Edwards and Bernette Edwards in the same criminal transaction.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas described the facts surrounding White’s murder of Annette Edwards and Bernette Edwards as follows:
Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2, 1989, King Solomon tried to contact his girlfriend, Bonita Edwards. After trying for several days, Solomon went to the apartment Edwards shared with her twin 16-year-old daughters, Annette and Bernette. When there was no answer at the door, he asked neighbors if they had seen Bonita, but no one had. After returning later in the day, Solomon spoke to a maintenance man at the apartments who asked the apartment manager to help him open the door to the Edwards’[s] apartment. Solomon saw two bodies lying on the floor.
Houston Police Department (“HPD”) officer Leonard Dawson arrived at the crime scene at about 2:45 pm. He found three dead females inside the apartment. Annette Edwards was lying face down semi-nude with her head on a pillow and a blanket partially covering her body. A towel gagged Bernette and was wrapped around her neck. Bonita was clothed but had blood all over her shirt. All three had multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest and had been dead for several days. There was no sign of forced entry, but the phone was off the hook and the bedroom door had been forced open. Another HPD investigator, Sergeant Brad Rudolph, stated that it appeared that Annette was sexually assaulted. There was blood on the walls, in the bathtub, and in the kitchen sink.
The murders went unsolved for almost six years. During an investigation into an unrelated murder in July 1995, Tecumseh Manuel, a close friend of White’s, told police that White admitted killing the Edwardses. Police arrested White the following day.
White initially denied his involvement but, after seeing a portion of Manuel’s interview, stated that he was ready to tell the truth. White then gave a videotaped statement implicating himself and Terrence Moore in the murders. According to White, he and Moore went to the apartment to use drugs and have sex with Bonita. They both tried to have sex with her, but Bonita became angry because they would not share the drugs with her. Moore stabbed her. When the girls came out of their bedroom, Moore grabbed one and White grabbed the other. White fondled one of the girls and ejaculated. Moore forced his way into the bedroom and stabbed one of the girls. He then came out and stabbed the other girl, and the two men left.
Upon further investigation, police discovered that Moore was killed four months before the Edwards family was murdered. When confronted with this discrepancy, White gave another statement in which he admitted fabricating the story about Moore and confessed to killing all three victims. Serology and DNA testing revealed that semen recovered from a bed sheet was consistent with White’s DNA, and blood from the same sheet was consistent with either Annette’s or Bernette’s DNA. White was convicted of capital murder for the murders of the two girls during the same criminal transaction.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY
Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. However, once a defendant is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial – which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.
During the penalty phase of White’s trial that White had committed two previous murders to which he confessed. White murdered Greta Williams in 1989 during a fight with Ms. Williams and murdered Hai Pham in 1995 during the robbery of a convenience store.
On May 28, 1996, a Harris County grand jury indicted White for murdering Annette Edwards and Bernette Edwards in the same criminal transaction.
On July 18, 1996, a Harris County jury convicted White of capital murder. On July 23, 1996, after a separate punishment proceeding, the same jury sentenced White to death.
On June 17, 1998, White’s conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas on direct appeal. White did not appeal the state court’s decision to the Supreme Court of the United States.
White filed an application for habeas corpus relief, which was denied by the Court of Criminal Appeals on February 21, 2001.
White filed a subsequent application for habeas corpus relief, which was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeals on April 24, 2002.
Following DNA testing, White filed a second and third subsequent application for habeas corpus relief, both of which were dismissed on May 6, 2009.
On Dec. 31, 2009, White filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. The federal court denied White’s petition on Sept. 30, 2011.
On April 1, 2013, the Fifth Circuit rejected White’s appeal and affirmed the district court’s denial of habeas corpus relief.
White filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 10, 2013. The high court denied certiorari review on Jan. 13, 2014.
On April 28, 2014, the 180th state district court issued an order setting White’s execution date for Jan. 28, 2015.
For additional information and statistics, please go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website at www.tdcj.state.tx.us.