Update: April 3, 2014

Texas has executed Tommy Lynn Sells.  Read the story here.


Update: April 2, 2014


The US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the ruling of US District Judge Vanessa Gilmore staying the execution of Tommy Lynn Sells.The 5th Circuit will rule at a later date regarding the stay of execution for Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas.Tommy's attorney will likely appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States.Tommy's execution is scheduled for Thursday, April 3, 2014.



Update: April 2, 2014


US District Judge Vanessa Gilmore has issued a temporary stay of execution for Texas death row inmate Tommy Lynn Sells until Texas officials provide Tommy's attorneys with information about the supplier of the drugs that will be used to execute him.State officials refuse to reveal the name of the supplier out of concern for the safety of the supplier.Judge Gilmore stated that by refusing to release the information, they are preventing Tommy and his attorneys "from evaluating or challenging the constitutionality of the method of execution."The state has not yet announced if it plans to appeal Judge Gilmore's ruling.Another inmate scheduled for execution next week, Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas is also involved in this lawsuit.



March 3, 2014



Tommy Lynn Sells' execution is scheduled for 6 pm CDT, on April 3, 2014, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Forty-nine-year-old Tommy is convicted of the murder of 13-year-old Kaylene "Katy" Harris on December 31, 1999, near Del Rio, Texas. Tommy has spent the last 13 years on Texas' death row.


Tommy was born with a twin sister.  He had two older brothers and three younger brothers.  Tommy had a non-traditional upbringing, including questionable parentage.  At the age of 18 months, while living in St. Louis, Tommy and his twin sister contracted meningitis.  Tommy survived while his sister did not.  Shortly after this ordeal, Tommy was sent to live with his aunt in Holcomb, Missouri, where he lived until he was five, when he moved back with his mother.  His mother expressed indifference towards him and by the age of seven, Tommy was chronically skipping school.  According to his mother, Tommy went out of his way to do the opposite of what he was told.




At the age of eight, Tommy began spending time with Willis Clark, who was from a neighboring city.  Willis would take Tommy on day trips and give him lavish gifts.  Tommy would often spend the night at his home.  Tommy claims to have been molested until the age of 14.  Willis would later be convicted of child molestation.  Tommy was introduced to alcohol at the age of seven, by his grandfather.  At the age of 10, Tommy began smoking ditch-weed marijuana.  At the age of 13, Tommy attempted to rape his mother, and at the age of 14, Tommy began surviving on his own, including hopping trains, stealing, and killing.  Tommy dropped out of school after 8th grade.  Due to his lack of education, he often worked low-end jobs.  Tommy became a drifter, moving from town to town, state to state to find work.



On December 31, 1999, around 4 am, Tommy Lynn Sells approached the trailer home of Terry Harris, with whom Sells was acquainted.After failing to pick the back lock, Sells eventually crawled through the window into 14-year-old Justin Harris' room.Justin, who was blind, was awakened but believed the noise to be from siblings.Sells left the boy's room moved throughout the trailer, looking in various bedrooms until he found the room of 13-year-old Kaylene "Katy" Harris.Katy was asleep on the bottom bunk.On the top bunk was 11-year-old Krystal Surles.Sell laid down next to Katy and, using the butcher knife he was carrying, cut off Katy's bra, panties, and shorts, and began fondling her.


Katy quickly awakened and screamed for Krystal to go get help.  Sells stabbed Katy and then moved behind her, holding his knife to her throat.  Krystal would later say that Katy "told me with her eyes to stay there and not move."  Krystal saw Sells drag the knife across Katy's throat, twice.  Then Katy collapsed, gasping for air.  Sells continued to stab Katy.  A coroner later determined there were 16 stab wounds, in addition to the two throat wounds.  Katy died almost instantly.


Sells then moved towards Krystal.  She promised him that she would be quiet and not say anything.  Sells cut her throat and left.  Krystal fell back and pretended to be dead.  After Sells left, Krystal put her hand to her throat and went to the nearest neighbor, a quarter of a mile away, because she believed that the everyone in the trailer was hurt.  Krystal could not talk.  Her windpipe had been severed and her carotid artery had been grazed.  The neighbor was awake and called 9-1-1.  While waiting, Krystal motioned for pen and paper, writing three notes: "The Harrises are hurt."  "Tell them to hurry." "Will I live?"  Krystal was raced to the hospital and then airlifted to another hospital where surgeons worked for hours to repair the damage caused by the five-inch cut.


Krystal survived and soon after awaking, was ready to help police.  She worked with a sketch artist to come up with a sketch of the attacker.  Since nothing was taken from the home, police suspected that the murder was motivated by sexual deviance.  They also suspected that the killer knew the family and that Katy had been the target.  Police asked family to look at the sketch and consider everyone they knew.


The boyfriend of Krystal's mother believed it looked like a friend of Katy's adoptive father, Terry.  He thought the man worked as a local car salesman.  Police obtained information, including pictures of all the employees at a local auto sale shop.  The pictures where shown to Krystal, who identified one man as the attacker.  That man was Sells, who was arrested on January 2, 2000.


Following his arrest, Sells began talking, ignoring the advice of his lawyer.  Sells began to call himself "Coast to Coast," the geographical spread of his alleged murders.  Since his arrest, Sells has confessed to several murders and could have been involved in as many as 70 murders, many of which were children.  Many of his murders involved sexual assault and were usually adolescent girls and petite women.  Police have attempted to piece together many of his murders, including sending him on out-of-state field trips to walk investigators through some of his crimes.  Sells memories of the crimes are sometimes vague, as he was usually high and/or drunk.  Sells would work for a few days or steal something of value, and sell it to get high.   He has since stopped being cooperative with police.



Please pray for peace for the family of Katy Harris.  Since her death they have moved, unable to live in the same home where Katy was murdered.  They suffer from depression and anger.  Please pray for their healing.  Please pray for peace and healing for all who may have been victims of Tommy Sells' crimes.  Please pray for strength for the family of Tommy.  Please pray that Tommy may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.