February 4, 1997
Bowie County, Texas
William Wyatt rapes and murders his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son

Wyatt and his girlfriend Renee Porter lived together with Porter’s 3-year-old son Damien Willis. Porter later testified she had noticed Damien appeared frightened of Wyatt and, the day before the murder, Porter accused Wyatt of abusing her son.

On February 4, Wyatt dropped Porter off at work and returned to their home to babysit Damien. During his final statement to police, Wyatt claimed something on TV “made [him] feel like having sex” before he raped Damien. Afterward, he struck the 3-year-old with a belt five or six times when Wyatt believed Damien had put something in a light socket. When the toddler began to cry, Wyatt put a plastic bag over his head to silence him, smothering him in the process.

Wyatt waited some time to call 911 to report an accidental drowning. Wyatt claimed he gave Damien a bath and later found the child underwater and unresponsive. Damien’s temperature was significantly lower than that of a child who had recently died which arose suspicion, as did bruising over Damien’s thighs and forehead, fresh and healed wounds on his rectum, and the fact the bathtub was dry.

Police arrested Wyatt the same evening and questioned him about Damien’s death. Wyatt first told police the story of finding Damien in the bathtub. The following day, he changed his statement to admit to raping Damien before putting him in the tub. The next day, he confessed to raping, beating, and suffocating Damien.

Wyatt recanted his confession during his trial, stating he was coerced and under duress at the time. He was convicted regardless and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Wyatt was executed on August 3, 2006, still maintaining his innocence.

“Execution Report: William Wyatt.” Texas Execution Information Center. Accessed: February 4, 2019. http://www.txexecutions.org/reports/372.asp
“William E. Wyatt Jr.” Office of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney. Accessed: February 4, 2019. http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/US/wyatt1037.htm
“Ex-jailer who killed 3-year-old executed.” Longview News-Journal. August 4, 2006

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