Monday, August 18, 2008

Appeal denied for Texas death row inmate who admitted killing 5 in Tarrant County

Quick - August 18, 2008

A Tarrant County man who confessed to killing five relatives has lost a federal court appeal of his conviction for fatally shooting his two stepchildren while they slept.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholds the conviction of Terry Lee Hankins and moves him a step closer to execution for the 2001 slayings of Kevin Galley, 12, and Ashley Mason, 11. Their bodies, and the body of their mother, 34-year-old Tammy Hankins, were found in their mobile home in Mansfield, about 20 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

After Hankins was arrested in August 2001, he told police where to find the decomposing bodies of his father and half-sister, with whom he had a child and was expecting another. He said he fatally shot Earnie Hankins, 55, and bludgeoned Pearl "Sissy" Sevenstar, 20, in the fall of 2000.

According to court documents, he lied about his sister's whereabouts, saying he had sent her to a home for pregnant mentally-challenged women. However, he had stored her body in a plastic ice chest, then hid it in a car at his father's auto shop.

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