Violent inmate to die Tuesday for double slaying

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) Leon David Dorsey IV, who brashly called himself "Pistol Pete," was no stranger to violence. Now he is scheduled to be executed Tuesday after being linked to the 1994 slaying of two video store clerks.

The former delivery driver and laborer from Dallas already was in prison, serving 60 years for killing a woman in a Korean convenience store robbery, when a Dallas police cold case squad tied him to the unsolved shooting deaths of two employees at a video store.

Dorsey, now 32, was set to die Tuesday for the April 1994 attack.

No appeals were in the courts Monday to stop the lethal injection. which would be the seventh this year in America's most active capital punishment state and the first of two this week. Another two executions are scheduled for next week.

"I did 21 death penalty cases either as the lead or on a team," said Toby Shook, a former Dallas County assistant district attorney. "Upon reflection, Leon Dorsey is probably No. 1 as the meanest criminal I prosecuted."

Dorsey was facing capital murder charges in 1998 for the fatal shootings of James Armstrong, 26, and Brad Lindsey, 20, at the Blockbuster Video store in East Dallas where they worked, when he acknowledged to a reporter in a prison interview that he committed the killings. He also suggested the families of his victims not focus on their losses, equating their grief to losing money in a craps game.

"They're dead," he told a Dallas Morning News reporter. "That's over and done with. I could have came in here and been, 'Oh, I'm sorry, I'm so bad.' But I don't feel like that. That's not being honest with myself."

"Leon didn't do himself any favors in that regard," one of his trial lawyers, Doug Parks, recalled last week.

Prosecutors used the contents of the interview to help convince a jury he should be put to death.

"He's a total psychopath," Shook said. "But the guy was honest about being a psychopath."

Prison records show since he arrived on death row eight years ago, he's had at least 95 disciplinary cases. One of them, in 2004, was for using an 8.5-inch (21.6-centimeter) hand-made knife to stab an officer 14 times in the back. The officer's body armor prevented serious injuries.

Less than two weeks ago, authorities recovered another knife from his cell.

"We had to convince the jury he'd be a continuing danger and he more than satisfied that in prison," Shook said.

As of Monday, he had no appeals in the courts

A fuzzy black-and-white image of Dorsey on a store video shows him wandering around the place Easter Sunday evening of 1994 then leaving.

He returned just after midnight, robbed $300 from the cash register, then forced Armstrong and Lindsey into an office and became angry because Armstrong had trouble opening a safe. Armstrong was shot in the side. Lindsey was shot in the back as he tried to escape. Then Armstrong was shot a second time. Cameras caught images of everything but the third shot.

Dorsey, 18 at the time, told his girlfriend and at least four others about the killings. The girlfriend went to police, but detectives believed Dorsey was too tall to be the robber. Five months later, he killed a 51-year-old Korean woman, Hyon Suk Chon, at the convenience store she managed in Ennis, south of Dallas.

He went to prison for that slaying. Then four years later he confessed to the video store killings when questioned again by police. In the confession, prosecutors said he gave details only the killer would know.

His first trial ended in a mistrial when one juror held out for acquittal. Defense lawyers argued Dorsey was not the man on the video images and pointed out his fingerprints were not found at the murder scene. Jurors at his second trial took three hours to convict him.

Evidence at his trial also showed he offered $5,000 to another inmate to take the fall for the slayings.

Dorsey first attracted the attention of police when he was 12, when he was living with his grandparents in Waxahachie, after getting kicked out of Germany where his mother was stationed in the Air Force.

He told The Morning News in 1998 he remembered stabbing a pee-wee football teammate while in kindergarten and trying to burn down his baby sitter's house when he was 10. As a preteen, he spent 18 months at a Dallas psychiatric hospital. At 14, he fired a gun in a classroom at school. At 15, items stolen during property crimes, thefts from air base gym lockers and at least one robbery were found at the home where was living with his mother. At 16, he shot at a couple in a road-rage incident. He said he was evicted at age 17 from a boys' home in South Dakota.

"I've done cut folks; I've done stabbed folks; I've killed folks," he told The Morning News. "But it don't bother me."

On Thursday, Michael Rodriguez, one of the infamous "Texas 7" prison escapees, has volunteered for execution for his part in the fatal shooting of a Dallas-area police officer, Aubrey Hawkins, during a robbery while he and the six other escapees were fugitives in December 2000.