The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Texas executes man convicted of killing mother 19 years ago

The death chamber in the state penitentiary Huntsville, Tex., in 2008. (Pat Sullivan/AP)
3 min

The state of Texas has killed a man deemed guilty of killing his mother.

A jury convicted and sentenced Tracy Beatty to death in August 2004 for the killing of his 62-year-old mother, Carolyn Click. During his trial, prosecutors argued Beatty had a “volatile and combative relationship” with his mother.

The 61-year-old man received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, said Texas prison spokeswoman Amanda Hernandez. He died at 6:39 p.m. local time Wednesday.

He is the fourth inmate to be put to death in Texas this year and the 13th in the United States.

Hernandez reported that Beatty’s last words were: “Yes, I just want to thank (pause) I don’t want to leave you baby, see you when you get there. I love you. Thank you to all my brothers back on the unit for all the encouragement to help get my life right. Sunny, Blue I love you brothers. See you on the other side."

Beatty’s lawyers say he was denied a proper psychological evaluation before he was scheduled to be executed Wednesday evening after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against blocking his killing.

Beatty fatally strangled his mother after an argument in November 2003 and buried her body outside her mobile home in Whitehouse, about 115 miles southeast of Dallas.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined the request to stop Beatty’s execution. His lawyers had appealed after a district judge dismissed a request that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice unshackle Beatty’s hands while he underwent a mental evaluation in September. The judge cited a lack of jurisdiction in turning down the request.

A neurologist and a psychologist hired by Beatty’s legal counsel argued in court records that Beatty was unable to complete the evaluations if his hands were shackled. The tests, experts said, required his hands to be free.

“If Mr. Beatty is shackled and unable to participate in these evaluations, his ability to seek available remedies will be harmed,” Beatty’s lawyers said in court documents.

One expert who examined Beatty said he “is clearly psychotic and has a complex paranoid delusional belief system” and that he lives in a “complex delusional world” where he believes there is a “vast conspiracy of correctional officers who … ‘torture’ him via a device in his ear so he can hear their menacing voices,” Beatty’s attorneys wrote in court records.

In 2021, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice started allowing inmates to be unshackled during an expert evaluation if a court granted permission.

Beatty’s lawyers intended to file for clemency and other legal remedies after the experts evaluated their client. But a week before Beatty’s scheduled execution, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit sided with the district court and denied his lawyers’ request to block the execution.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Beatty’s death penalty sentence to a lesser sentence or to postpone it for six months.

Beatty’s execution was rescheduled on three previous occasions.