Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, Sept. 16, 2002

MEDIA ADVISORY

Ron Scott Shamburger Scheduled to be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Ron Scott Shamburger, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2002.

On Oct. 25, 1995, Ron Scott Shamburger was sentenced to die for the capital murder Lori Baker in College Station, Texas, on Sept. 30, 1994. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

Ron Scott Shamburger and Lori Baker were fellow students at Texas A&M University in College Station. As freshmen, the two had gone dancing together, but a substantial amount of time had passed before they saw each other again in the summer and fall of 1994.

On Aug. 2, 1994, Shamburger went to Lori's home to burglarize it; however, he decided to burglarize the home of Sandra King, Lori's neighbor. Shamburger stole cash and a credit card from King's home, making several purchases with the stolen card the next day. Later that month, Shamburger purchased a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.

At one point, Shamburger telephoned his mother and said, "Mom, I feel like I'm fixing to lose it." Shamburger's mother attempted to reassure him by saying, "Hang in there, it will all work out."

On September 21, Shamburger tried unsuccessfully to break into Lori's home, and again burglarized the home of one of Lori's neighbors. Shamburger used a knife to cut the window screen. He stole cash and credit cards, and immediately began to make purchases on the credit cards. Finally, on September 26 or 27, Shamburger successfully burglarized Lori's home, stealing a credit card and a pair of her underwear. On September 28, Shamburger purchased clothing with Lori's card.

On September 30, Shamburger used Lori's card to purchase a gas can and gasoline. He then went to Lori's home with the gun, gas can and duct tape. He broke into the home through a window in a spare bedroom, and then broke into Lori's locked bedroom where she slept. After Lori recognized Shamburger, he bound her hands with the duct tape. At this point, Lori's roommate, Victoria Kohler, returned home. Once Shamburger heard Victoria enter, he placed the pistol against Lori's head and shot her.

As Victoria walked through the house to make certain that it was secure, she heard noises coming from Lori's bedroom and bathroom. She walked to the back of the house where she encountered Shamburger. Victoria screamed and attempted to escape, but Shamburger was able to grab her hair and throw her to the floor. He sat on her back, making it difficult for her to breathe, poked the gun against her back and told her, "Don't move, don't scream or it will be over."

Shamburger then asked Victoria a series of questions. He asked her name, her major, whether she had class the next day and whether the professor would call the roll. Shamburger also asked whether Victoria was a Christian, whether she had a boyfriend, whether she had cash or credit cards, and whether her credit card could be used at a cash machine. He then went to her bedroom to retrieve the six dollars that Victoria possessed in her wallet, remarking, "Sweet, good bull, six dollars." He again sat on her back and began to massage her shoulders, continuing to question her. He said, "I don't want to hurt you" and "I bet your heart is beating really fast and I bet you're scared." He asked if she was a virgin and told her that he had never had sex with a woman. He also asked Victoria if she had seen him. Victoria had clearly seen him in the hall, but instead misled him and gave a false description.

Shamburger covered Victoria's head with a blanket and forced her to crawl into the bathroom. He then taped her hands behind her back. He left her in the bathroom for some time, then took her to the garage, removed the tape from her hands, and locked her in the trunk of her car. He returned about 10 minutes later and told her that he was going to take her somewhere and drop her off. He then drove the car around town, talking to Victoria through the back seat. He said, "I guess you know Lori is dead. . . . I guess there is a first time for everything." He said he knew that the authorities would eventually find him and asked Victoria if she thought he should commit suicide. She advised against suicide. He asked if anyone could forgive him and she told him, "The Lord forgives." He told her he was planning to burn the house to destroy any evidence and asked Victoria if there was anything she wanted to save. She specified her scrapbooks and pictures. He then stopped the car, unlocked the trunk, and told her not to leave the trunk until she heard sirens or she couldn't stand it any longer, and not to get out immediately because he might be watching her. She hid in the trunk for a while to make sure he was gone; she then exited the trunk, drove to a nearby house, and asked the residents to call 9-1-1.

Meanwhile, Shamburger walked back to Lori's house. He found Victoria's scrapbooks and placed them on the floor of her room. He retrieved the can of gasoline from the trunk of his car, then decided to try to find the bullet that he had shot into Lori's head so the police would not be able to trace it to him. He moved Lori's body and the headboard to her bed, searching for the bullet. He cut some of Lori's hair, then used a knife to inspect the exit wound on the back of her head. Shamburger never found the bullet. He then poured gasoline over Lori's body and her room. He placed his hat on the bed because it was covered with "blood and brains and all that good stuff." He then lit the fire, only to realize he had left his car keys inside somewhere. He tried unsuccessfully to find them and was slightly charred in the process. Then, according to Shamburger, "That's when I just realized that, you know, I was going to have to turn myself in. Forget trying to even, you know, fake this or anything."

Shamburger walked around to the backyard. Lori's brother Mark Baker, who lived next door, heard the explosion and had come outside to see what had happened. Mark saw smoke pouring out of the back of Lori's house and began smashing her bedroom window with a baseball bat. As he frantically called his sister's name, he heard Shamburger's voice in the backyard saying, "She's dead." He walked toward the backyard and saw Shamburger walking around in circles in the middle of the yard, holding a gun and repeatedly saying, "She's dead." Shamburger turned and started toward Mark. Mark ran back inside his house and locked the door.

Shamburger then walked to a store and bought a Coke and bottled water. He called Steve Biles, a minister at his church and personal friend, and asked Biles to meet him. Shamburger and Biles drove around for a while and Shamburger eventually confessed his actions to Biles. Biles took Shamburger to retrieve his Bible, then they drove to the police station where Shamburger attempted to turn himself over to the police. All officers, however, were out investigating the instant crime, so Shamburger and Biles waited in the lobby. After Shamburger started flicking bullets on the floor, police officers arrived and ordered everyone in the room to the floor. Shamburger was arrested and soon after confessed to the murder of Lori Baker and the other burglaries. He said he did not intend to kill anybody when he broke into Lori's house, but admitted that he took the gun with him so he could "try to fight my way out or something" if he was caught.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Shamburger was indicted by a Brazos County grand jury for the capital offense of murdering Lori Baker during the course of committing or attempting to commit burglary of a habitation. Shamburger pleaded not guilty. On Oct. 19, 1995, the jury convicted Shamburger of capital murder. After a subsequent hearing on punishment, and based on the jury's answers to the special punishment issues, the trial court assessed punishment at death by lethal injection.

Upon automatic review of Shamburger's conviction and death sentence, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the judgment and sentence in an unpublished opinion dated Oct. 7, 1998. The United States Supreme Court denied Shamburger's petition for writ of certiorari on June 1, 1999.

Shamburger then filed an application for a state writ of habeas corpus. The state habeas court issued findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that relief be denied. After determining that the findings were supported by the record, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied habeas relief on Feb.3, 1999.

Shamburger next filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, on June 1, 2000. The district court entered final judgment denying federal habeas relief on March 15, 2001. Shamburger's motion to alter or amend the judgment was denied on July 3, 2001. Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit followed. On March 25, 2002, the Fifth Circuit denied Shamburger a certificate of appealability and upheld the district court's judgment denying Shamburger federal habeas relief. Shamburger's motion for rehearing in the Fifth Circuit was denied on April 22, 2002.

On July 22, 2002, Shamburger filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court challenging the Fifth Circuit's denial of relief. He filed an application for stay of execution on Aug. 23, 2002. On Sept. 6, 2002, the Supreme Court denied certiorari review and Shamburger's request for a stay.

On Sept. 12, 2002, Shamburger filed a successive application for state habeas corpus relief. That application is currently pending before the 361st District Court for Brazos County and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

CRIMINAL HISTORY

Shamburger has no prior criminal history.

MISCELLANEOUS

For additional information and statistics, please log on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.

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