April 1, 1999
New Boston, Texas
Lee Andrew Taylor (pictured) kills fellow inmate Donta Green, either as revenge for an alleged theft or in self-defense
In November 1995, 16-year-old Lee Andrew Taylor broke into the home of John and Mildred Hampton (both 79 years old) while, in his words, “on cocaine and acid.” He assumed the home was empty and had intended to burglarize the couple. When Taylor was confronted by the Hamptons, he grabbed a lamp as a weapon and beat them. He later used the money gained from the robbery and assault to rent a hotel room and throw a party.
John Hampton died of his injuries two months later; the majority of his time recovering was spent in a coma. Mildred survived the attack, though she required extensive reconstructive surgery to her face.
Taylor pleaded guilty to the attack (later claiming “drugs and sex and rock and roll” had been predominantly responsible) and received a term of life imprisonment. While serving this sentence, Taylor joined the white supremacist group the Aryan Brotherhood, later claiming he joined simply for his own protection while in prison.
When another inmate, Daniel Richbourg, noticed some of his property had been stolen, he enlisted the help of Taylor to get revenge against the person he believed was responsible: a black inmate named Donta Green. Taylor approached Green during breakfast on April 1, 1999, placed Green in a headlock, and stabbed him repeatedly with an 8-inch (20 cm) “rod-like shank” resembling an icepick while Richbourg was armed with a sharpened piece of plastic.
Immediately following the fatal stabbing, Taylor bragged about killing Green, boasting he had stabbed his victim 25-30 times. (Green’s autopsy showed he had been stabbed 13 times.) Despite the initial admission of guilt, Taylor later recanted and claimed self defense. In an interview with the Associated Press years later, Taylor said “I’m here for defending myself from eight black dudes in prison.”
The jury did not accept the self defense plea, and Taylor was convicted of murder, receiving a sentenced of death. He attempted to appeal the sentence by claiming it was against his rights to give him a death penalty when his crime was committed as a minor. The court asserted capital punishment was not given for the murder of John Hampton, committed when Taylor was 16, but the murder of Donta Green, committed when he was 20. Despite the explanation of the ruling, Taylor insisted the punishment was in retribution for not being sentenced to death as a teen, stating, “The state couldn’t give me the death penalty when I was 16, so they got back at me.”
Taylor was executed by lethal injection on June 16, 2011. His final statement, addressed to his family and Green’s, touched on redemption. “There are 300 people on death row, and not every one of them is a monster. The state of Texas is carrying out a very inhuman and unjust situation. It’s not right to kill anybody, not the way I did it, or the way it’s being done to me. Everyone changes, right? Life is about experience, and people change. For all you people, I defended myself when I killed your family member. Prison is a bad place. I didn’t set out to kill him. But he would not have been in prison if he was a saint. I hope y’all understand that. I hope you don’t find satisfaction in this, watching a human being die.” Taylor concluded his statement with, “I’m ready to teleport.”
“Lee Andrew Taylor.” Clark County Prosecutor. Accessed: April 1, 2020. http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/US/taylor1255.htm (image source)
Graczyk, Michael. “Texas Inmate Who Killed Prisoner Executed.” NBCDFW. June 16, 2011. Accessed: April 1, 2020. https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/texas-inmate-who-killed-prisoner-to-die/1896299/
“Texas inmate who killed fellow prisoner set to die.” Amarillo Globe-News. June 16, 2011. Accessed: April 1, 2020. https://www.amarillo.com/article/20110616/NEWS/306169752
“Texas courts.” Austin American-Statesman. April 19, 2011
Graczyk, Michael. “Killer condemned for slaying of fellow prisoner loses appeal.” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. October 9, 2010
“Murder suspect faces adult trial.” The Marshall News Messenger. February 21, 1996