HOUSTON – A Texas inmate is facing scheduled execution Tuesday evening for fatally stabbing his estranged wife and drowning her 6-year-old daughter in a bathtub nearly 14 years ago.
Gary Green, 51, is set to receive a lethal injection for the September 2009 deaths of Lovetta Armstead, 32, and her daughter, Jazzmen Montgomery, at their home in Dallas.
The girl's father, Ray Montgomery, said he is not cheering for Green’s execution but sees it as the justice system at work.
“It’s justice for the way my daughter was tortured. It’s justice for the way that Lovetta was murdered,” Montgomery said.
As of late Tuesday morning, Green’s attorneys had not filed any appeals seeking to stop his execution at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His attorney did not return several calls and emails seeking comment.
In prior appeals, Green’s attorneys claimed he was intellectually disabled and has had a lifelong history of psychiatric disorders.
“These impairments likely rendered (Green) unable to form the requisite intent to commit capital murder,” Green’s attorneys wrote in 2018.
Those appeals were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court and lower appeals courts.
The high court has prohibited the death penalty for the intellectually disabled, but not for people with serious mental illness.
Authorities said Green killed the two after Armstead sought to annul their marriage.
On the day of the killings, Armstead had written two letters to Green, telling him that although she loved him, she had “to do what’s best for me.”
In his own letter, which was angry and rambling, Green expressed the belief that Armstead and her children were involved in a plot against him.
“You asked to see the monster so here he is the monster you made me ... They will be 5 lives taken today me being the 5th,” Green wrote.
Armstead was stabbed more than two dozen times while Green drowned Jazzmen in the home’s bathtub.
Authorities said Green also intended to kill Armstead’s two other children, then 9-year-old Jerrett and 12-year-old Jerome. Green stabbed the younger boy but both survived.
“Told (Green) because we’re too little to die and we won’t tell anybody about it,” the 9-year-old told jurors in testimony about how he convinced Green to spare their lives.
Josh Healy, one of the prosecutors with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office that convicted Green, said the boys were incredibly brave.
Green “was an evil guy. It was one of the worst cases I’ve ever been a part of,” said Healy, who is now a defense attorney in Dallas.
Montgomery said he still has a close relationship with Armstead’s two sons. He said both lead productive lives and one has a daughter who looks like Jazzmen.
“They still suffer a lot I think,” said Montgomery, who is a special education English teacher.
In recent years, Montgomery and Jerome Armstead have participated in domestic violence seminars. Montgomery said he’s tried to help other people recognize the signs of domestic violence, signs he didn’t see before Lovetta Armstead and his daughter were killed.
“Just being able to go out and help and spread awareness has been like therapy to me,” he said.
Montgomery, who is a deacon at his church in Dallas, said he’s continued to live his life like his daughter is still here, including throwing her a party every birthday. He also had a high school graduation party for her, including a parade at her gravesite and a backyard barbecue with family.
“That was my way of dealing with it, to make it feel like she’s still here. I prayed over her grave one day and I told her I would never let her name die down,” Montgomery said.
Green’s execution is the first of two scheduled in Texas this week. Another inmate, Arthur Brown Jr., is set to be executed Thursday.
Green would be the fourth inmate in Texas and the eighth in the U.S. put to death this year.
Green is one of six Texas death row inmates who are part of a lawsuit seeking to stop the state’s prison system from using what they allege are expired and unsafe execution drugs. Despite a civil court judge in Austin preliminarily agreeing with the claims, three of the inmates have been executed this year. ___ Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/juanlozano70.