Tuesday night, Napoleon Beazley became the 14th person executed in Texas this year. Tuesday morning, the board of pardons and paroles decided they would not grant Napoleon Beazley a reprieve from the execution ... Nor would they commute his sentence to life.
Because Beazley was 17 at the time of the crime, the case has drawn national and international media attention. The night of April 19th, 1994...would be the reason why the nation was introduced to Napoleon Beazley. That night, Beazley and two friends, Cedric and Donald Coleman drove to Tyler to carjack a Mercedes. An unsuspecting John and Bobbie Luttig were on their way home from Dallas. Without demand, the couple were gunned down in the driveway of their home--and John Luttig was killed.
District Attorney Jack Skeen said,"Beazley basically looked him right in the eye and shot him in the head."
While the horrific nature of the crime is etched in Tyler's history, the national media grabbed onto to the story for two reasons: John Luttig's son, Mike, is a federal judge who many believe could be in-line to become a supreme court justice. And, triggerman Napoleon Beazley was only 17 years old.
"We would read these articles or be asked these questions and he would be referred to as a child, we'll he's not a child. He was referred to as a juvenile, he's not a juvenile. In Texas he's an adult and we would tell these people this over and over again", Skeen said.
Beazley's age soon became the focus of the nation. Scheduled to die last August, he was granted a stay of execution, four hours before he would have been put to death. Adding another twist to that day: Smith County Judge Cynthia Kent, who sentenced Beazley, wrote a letter to Governor Perry, asking that Beazley's case be commuted to a life sentence--because he was so young.
Recently, we spoke to Napoleon Beazley on death row who says age is irrelevant. "I was what...only two months away from my 18th birthday when I was incarcerated. Is a person that much different from one point to the other? Age is like, to me, a moot point."
While Beazley has his own opinion about age, dozens of clergy and family *continued to plead for his life in Austin. With so much attention focused on Beazley, Bob Arms, a close friend of John Luttig says it's the many years of court appeals, news stories and pain that he'd like to see come to an end.
"My reaction is, I would just assume the story would go away because we're not always reminded of the good side of John and his stories or the good side of the family, but you're reminded of the pain they've gone through. You're reminded of the many discussions about Beazley," Arms said.
The many discussions that still linger in the air, even Tuesday from the death house in huntsville...eight years after a crime that Beazley admits he commited.
"You know there's nothing, nothing I can do to possibly take away these people's pain. There's nothing I can say, nothing I can say to her."