AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) -District Attorney Randall Sims came forward with an official execution date for the ongoing death penalty case for Travis Runnels.
Runnels has been on death row for 13 years for the murder of a prison supervisor of a shoe-making shop in Amarillo’s Clements unit.
Today, the 47th District Attorney announced the date of his execution is set for December 11, 2019.
Travis Runnels Criminal History Timeline:
Runnels criminal history started in 1993, where he was convicted of second-degree felony of burglary. He would go on the accumulate two more felony charges.
His second felony charge of aggravated robbery included carrying a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 70 years in prison and would be eligible for parole in 2025.
His final felony charge while in prison in Amarillo would later lead to his death penalty.
In 2003, Runnels was working on the cleaning staff in the Clements unit boot shop, and had disputes because he wanted to work in the prison’s barbershop. On the day of the murder, Runnels asked another inmate for his boot knife where he would later walk behind the shop’s supervisor, Stanley Wiley, and slit his throat.
He was charged with murder after pleading guilty.
In 2005, the charge then turned into a Capital murder conviction, and two days later he was sentenced with the death penalty.
After many appeals were denied, on August 8th 2019, the 47th District Attorney announced Runnels execution date is set for December 11, 2019.
At the news conference, NewsChannel10 asked the District Attorney why the courts decided to pursue the death penalty when many prosecutors have been shying away due to expense.
“I’m not going to let expense or politics ever interfere with the decision about what I’m going to do on that. I’ve got office policies, I’ve got five things in it, the very first one is always do the right thing,” explained 47th District Attorney Randall C. Sims.
The District Attorney also explained how inmates came forward with no reward on behalf of Wiley.
“There were eight inmates that testified against Travis Runnels and the reason they did it, I’ll sum it up as 'he’s the nicest man out there, he treated us as equals and was very nice to everybody out there, including the inmates. The inmate that gave the boot knife to Mr. Runnels, while he was the stand, he cried just nearly the whole time,” said Sims.
There are 219 inmates currently on Texas’ death row. Texas, which reinstated the death penalty in 1976, has the most active execution chamber in the nation