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Texas Executes Man For Killing His Mother Nearly Two Decades Ago

Texas executed Tracy Beatty on Wednesday for murdering his mother in 2003. Beatty, 61, was found guilty of fatally strangling Carolyn Click at the end of a violent and tumultuous relationship. Although his attorneys acknowledge Beatty killed his mother, they contended the crime didn’t qualify for the death penalty, reports the Texas Tribune. To be sentenced to death in Texas, a person must be convicted of not just murder, but capital murder, a legal subset that includes killing a police officer or young child, killing multiple people, or killing someone while committing another felony like robbery or rape. Although Beatty gave several versions of what happened in his 62-year-old mother’s death, he ultimately told police that he came home drunk, the pair started fighting and he choked her.


Beatty was found guilty of capital murder because prosecutors argued he killed his mother during a home burglary, entering without her consent, even though he lived with Click at the time. A neighbor testified that Click had told her the day she was last seen that she had told her son that day to move out after a fight. “The evidence of entry without consent in this case is thin, and the evidence of intent to commit a felony, theft, or assault even thinner,” wrote former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Cheryl Johnson, joined by two others in dissent to the 5-3 opinion upholding the death sentence. “There is no doubt that [Beatty] killed Click; the issue is whether the burglary was proven and thus whether the offense is capital murder or murder.” The dissenting judges pointed to the testimony of Click’s other neighbor, Lieanna Wilkerson, who said the mother and son argued every day. A majority of judges have affirmed Beatty’s death sentence, in part because of his violent relationship with his mother.

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