McKINNEY, Texas -- A man who spent 12 years on Texas' death row before winning a new trial was convicted a second time Monday for shooting to death a 73-year-old storekeeper to see how it felt to kill someone.
Jurors deliberated 2 hours before convicting Robert Excell White, who faces the death penalty or life imprisonment in the death of Preston Broyles during a $60 robbery on May 10, 1974. The verdict was returned about 5:30 p.m.
Testimony in the punishment phase of the trial will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday before the Collin County jury of eight women and four men.
White was charged with shooting Broyles and customers Gary Coker and Billy St. Johns, both 18 and both of nearby Princeton, Texas, to death during a May 1974 robbery at the rural Hilltop Grocery near McKinney, about 40 miles north of Dallas.
White was nicknamed 'Excell the Executioner' by deputies who said he told them he killed the three so he could see how it felt to take a life.
White's previous conviction was overturned in March by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals because he never was warned that information he gave to two psychiatrists could be used against him. He spent 12 years on Texas' death row, more than any other inmate, and had won stays for two execution dates.
Relatives of the three shooting victims were teary-eyed after the guilty verdict was returned.
'It was just horrible,' said Lois Coker, Gary Coker's mother, 'knowing that he could be found not guilty or of a lesser verdict (than capital murder).'
Robert St. Johns, brother of the second victim, added: 'I believe I speak for all my family when I say we won't be happy until the jury comes back with the death penalty.'
In closing arguments, Collin County prosecutor Bill Schultz emphasized a confession signed by White and the testimony of the defendant's cousin, Johnny White, who said Robert Excell White told him he committed the murders.
Outside the presence of the jury, the defense Monday called a Collin County Court clerk who introduced court records concerning Gary Dale Livingston. Livingston, one of White's accomplices, committed suicide last year after being paroled on three 20-year sentences he received in the slayings.
His brother, James Livingston, White's other accomplice, is serving a life sentence.