Killer who dropped appeals set to die tonight — (Houston Chronicle)

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Houston Chronicle 

September 10, 2003

Author: JAMES KIMBERLY, Staff

A Montgomery County man is scheduled for execution tonight for the 1999 murders of his wife and another woman.

Larry Hayes, 54, expedited his death by dropping his appeals. He said he is eager to atone for his crime.

“I feel by carrying (the appeals) on I’m lying about the fact of what I did,” said Hayes of Woodloch, which is near Conroe.

Hayes was convicted of shooting his wife, Mary, seven times in the head on July 15, 1999, the night after she told him she’d been having an affair. Twenty minutes later he shot 18-year-old Rosalyn Robinson – a college-bound high school graduate – while stealing her car from a nearby convenience store.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Jim Prewitt said the crimes warranted the death penalty.

“What he did with the two victims was just horrible,” said Prewitt, who prosecuted Hayes.

Hayes, who once served as Sunday school director for a Conroe church, did not have much of a criminal record prior to the night of violence, but his wife had complained to police and a local shelter that she had been abused. Hayes never was convicted of domestic violence.

In a recent interview, Hayes said the murders occurred after he had fought with his wife all day and night about the affair. He said she told him “that I needed to get over it and live with it or just go get your gun and kill me.”

“I snapped,” he said. ” I don’t know any other word for it.”

He sent his 9-year-old daughter from the house and went after his wife. She was shot to death hiding under her daughter’s bed.

Hayes grabbed some clothes and prescription medications and fled to a Diamond Shamrock convenience store and gas station in Grangerland where he encountered Robinson. He shot Robinson because she refused to come with him.

“At that time I really wasn’t in my mind. She wouldn’t get in the car. I figured, `I can’t leave her here with a pay phone inside the store, I wouldn’t make it a mile down the road,’ ” he said.

Hayes was arrested in Polk County after being wounded in a gunbattle with sheriff’s deputies.

Hayes had been diagnosed as bipolar and manic depressive in 1998. At the time of the crime spree he was taking Prozac and Valium. Hayes said he believes the drugs contributed to the crimes, but he does not blame them for his actions.

Hayes said he wanted to plead guilty at his trial but his defense attorneys talked him out of it. Once convicted, he did not want to appeal.

John MacDonald was appointed to represent Hayes during an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which was mandated by state law.

Because Hayes did not want the appeal, MacDonald said he compromised. He filed an appeal with the court and then filed a motion asking the court to dismiss it, leaving it up to the nine-judge panel to decide what to do. The court considered Hayes’ appeal and rejected it last fall.

Hayes decided not to pursue a second round of appeals.

Hayes was examined this spring and found mentally competent, Prewitt said.

It is unusual for a condemned inmate to drop his or her appeals and volunteer for execution. Of the 309 people executed in Texas since 1976, only 19 have waived their appeals and voluntarily gone to their deaths. Nationally, 99 out of the 873 people executed since 1976 volunteered.

Hayes said he used his time on death row to make peace with God and he is prepared to die.

“I actually get excited when I think about seeing friends and loved ones . . . in heaven,” he said. “I have no doubt where I am going.”