Napoleon Beazley

Napoleon Beazley

Napoleon Beazley


Napoleon Beazley was convicted by the State of Texas for the murder of John Luttig in 1994.  Beazley was 17 years old at the time of the crime, and his death by legal injection on May 28, 2002 sparked public outrage from a split community.  The two other defendants, Cedric Coleman and Donald Coleman, were 19 and 18 at the time of the crime and received life in prison instead of death by lethal injection. 


The details of the murder are provided below:


Napoleon Beazley took his mother’s car on the night of April 19, 1994 and picked up Cedric and Donald Coleman.  Beazley was carrying a .45-caliber pistol and a sawed-off shotgun and soon followed John and Bobbie Luttig home. 


Beazley took his .45-caliber pistol, ran toward the garage, and shot John Luttig in the side of the side.  John remained alive but stunned, and Beazley quickly ran around to the other side of the car to Mrs. Luttig.  He fired a shot at close range and missed, but Mrs. Luttig still fell to the ground.  Then, Beazley returned to where Mr. Luttig was sitting and shot him point blank in the head. 


Beazley proceeded to search Mr. Luttig’s pockets and found his Mercedes keys.  He escaped with the Mercedes but lost control and crashed the car into a retaining wall.  He soon regrouped with Cedric and Donald Coleman and abandoned the Mercedes. 


Napoleon Beazley and the two other defendants were eventually arrested.  Beazley was sentenced to death by lethal injection on March 17, 1995 and soon begun the appeal process.  Cedric and Donald Coleman received life in prison. 


On June 3, 1997, Beazley filed for state writ of habeas corpus, and the evidentiary hearing began on September 5, 1997.  He was eventually denied relief on January 21, 1998, and the process of denied relief and permission to appeal began.  Napoleon Beazley was eventually scheduled for execution, but he was granted a stay of execution on August 15, 2001.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals eventually threw out the stay of execution and Beazley was scheduled for execution on May 22, 2002. 


In a last effort to avoid execution, Beazley petitioned for certiorari review from the Supreme Court on May 22.  The petition was denied, and Beazley was executed on May 28, 2012.  He was the 19th murderer under the age of 18 executed by the United States since 1976.  He was the 11th in Texas alone. 


The media covered Napoleon Beazley’s case intensely—as is the case in any execution of a person who committed the crime when they were a juvenile.  The case also received a massive amount of media attention and reaction from the general public because of execution laws and statistics in the state of Texas compared to other states. 


According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Texas allowed a total of 487 executions since 1976—more than four times the amount of death penalties granted by Virginia, the closest state with 109 total. 




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