Scroll To Top

Convicted killer of Texas gay man set to die Thursday

Convicted killer of Texas gay man set to die Thursday

A former mechanic from Chicago was headed to the Texas death chamber Thursday for the robbery and fatal shooting of a Corpus Christi, Texas, man. Richard Cartwright, 31, would be the eighth Texas prisoner put to death this year and the second in as many days. Cartwright was one of three men who duped Nick Moraida into thinking they were gays offering to share beer with him at a beachfront park along Corpus Christi Bay in 1996. Instead, Moraida was stabbed and then shot to death while being robbed of his watch and wallet, which contained between $60 and $200. His assailants hoped to use the money to buy drugs and alcohol. Moraida's body was spotted by two fishermen the next morning in some sea grass. Kelly Overstreet, 27, and Dennis Hagood, 28, are serving long prison terms. They agreed to plea bargains and testified against Cartwright. In late appeals Cartwright's lawyers argued he was condemned by a Nueces County jury because of testimony Overstreet now insists is false. Overstreet originally placed much of the blame for the shooting on Cartwright, but in a written statement to Cartwright's lawyers earlier this month, Overstreet said he was "upset at being turned in by Hagood and Cartwright." "I intentionally made Cartwright out to be the bad guy out of spite when in fact I am the one who was at the forefront of all events," Overstreet wrote. In an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Cartwright's attorneys argued that jurors relied on inaccurate information at the trial. And while not denying that Cartwright fired the shots that killed Moraida, the appeal said Cartwright participated in the robbery-slaying under duress because he feared retaliation from Overstreet, who had a reputation for violence. "At most he merely followed orders from a violent person whom he was afraid of and who had already threatened him," the appeal said. State attorneys argued it was "incredible" that Cartwright, armed with a gun, felt threatened by Overstreet, who had a knife. They also said Overstreet's new statements, which they called "inherently unreliable," did "nothing to establish actual innocence" or undermine Cartwright's culpability. "No credible explanation has been given as to why Overstreet waited eight years to come forward with his testimony," the Texas attorney general's office said in its response to the high court. "I am just another statistic in the dubious title held by the State of Texas--death penalty capital of the world," Cartwright, who declined to speak with reporters, wrote on an anti-death penalty Web site. "There are many reasons that this is wrong, not the least of which is that I did not commit the crime for which I was convicted and sentenced to death." Mark Skurka, the trial prosecutor, said Cartwright "was a mean guy, a hard guy." Cartwright previously served a two-year jail term in Illinois for a drug conviction. Just before his trial Cartwright wrote letters from jail to his partners urging them to all agree on a single story. The letters were intercepted by authorities. "They were very incriminating," Skurka said. "That helped hang him. We had the codefendants, the accomplices, and we had to have corroborating testimony, and he provided it." Wednesday, Bryan Wolfe, 44, a twice-convicted robber from Louisiana, was executed for the 1992 robbery-slaying of Bertha Lemell, an 84-year-old Beaumont woman who baby-sat his children.(AP)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff