Updated: Monday, October 22, 2018 9:51 am EDT
Kwame Abia Rockwell was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution has been stayed. Forty-two-year-old Kwame is convicted of murdering 22-year-old Daniel Rojas-Torres, and 70-year-old Jerry Burnett in Fort Worth, Texas in March 2010. Kwame has spent the last six year on Texas’ death row.
Kwame graduated from high school and was the co-owner of a car lot. He did not have a prior prison record.
During the early morning hours of March 23, 2010, Kwame Rockwell and two other men, all wearing ski masks and gloves, entered a convenience store in Fort Worth, Texas. The left-handed gunman shot Jerry Burnett, a bread delivery man, shortly after entering the store. Jerry died ten days later in a hospital.
Daniel Rojas-Torres, who was working the counter, attempted to flee into the storeroom, but was caught by the robbers. He cooperated with the robbers, giving them the money they wanted, before he was forced into the back of the store, where he was killed by a shot to the back of the head. Rockwell stated that he had to kill the two men because they could identify the group, who were frequent customers at the store, as they worked nearby.
Video surveillance showed that the robbers also had a gas can and intended to burn the store, however, they were unable to start the fire.
Rockwell was arrested a few days later in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to the two others inside during the robbery, two other men acted as a lookout in a car. Two co-conspirators were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Another received a prison sentence. One of the men who acted as a lookout received a plea deal, testifying about what happened, and stating that he did not believe that anyone was going to be harmed.
Shortly after being sent to prison, Rockwell was diagnosed with schizophrenia. While not brought up at his trial or sentencing, recent attorneys have attempted to argue that Rockwell should not be executed due to his mental illness. On Friday, October 19, 2018, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted Rockwell's execution, due to his attorney's arguments. A lower court had previously dismissed the claim of mental incompetency, however, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that at least two mental health experts must examine Rockwell to determine competency.
Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Daniel Rojas-Torres and Jerry Burnett. Please pray for strength for the family of Kwame Rockwell. Please pray that if Kwame is innocent, lacks the company to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Please pray that Kwame will come to find peace through a personals relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.