THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 1998
FACT SHEET ON CLIFFORD HOLT BOGGESS
Texas Attorney General Dan Morales offers the following information in the case against Clifford Holt Boggess, scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Thursday, June 11, 1998.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
Clifford Holt Boggess was convicted for the capital murder of Frank Collier during the course of committing or attempting to commit robbery in Saint Jo, Texas.
In May 1986, Boggess told his roommate, Tommy Stinson, his cousin, Damon Smith, and some co-workers about an old man in Saint Jo who carried a lot of money and would be easy to rob. The old man, Frank Collier, who owned a grocery store, did not believe in banks and always carried a lot of cash in his pockets. Boggess told Stinson that he knew the routine of the old man and the way he closed the store.
During the later part of June or the first week in July 1986, Boggess asked his roommate if he would assist him in robbing the old man. He needed help in obtaining a weapon and also needed a ride to Saint Jo. Boggess stated that he was broke and "did not want to be." Stinson refused, stating that he did not want to get involved. Boggess also sought the help of Damon Smith, in robbing and killing Frank Collier, but Smith also refused to help.
On July 23, 1986, Mr. Grover Clevenger was passing through Gainesville on his way to Muenster, saw Boggess walking along the highway, and offered him a ride. Boggess accepted, and they proceeded on to Muenster, stopping once for a few beers. Clevenger bought the beers because Boggess said he was broke. Once in Muenster, Boggess stated that his destination was just beyond Muenster, in Saint Jo, and Clevenger agreed to drive him there. Clevenger dropped Boggess off in Boggess Park in Saint Jo.
Clevenger remained in the park for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and upon leaving town, he saw Boggess flagging him down. Clevenger agreed to give Boggess a ride back to Gainesville. Boggess told Clevenger that he had just picked up a check and offered to pay Clevenger $20 for gas. Clevenger told Boggess that he had plenty of gas. Boggess then counted out $500 in cash and offered to buy Clevenger's car, which Clevenger refused. Upon returning to Gainesville, Boggess and Clevenger went to the VFW Hall to drink beer and shoot pool. Boggess paid for all the beer they consumed.
David Heller was in Frank Collier's store between 6:10 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. and Frank Collier cashed a $20 check for him. Between 6:50 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Heller was in Boggess Park when he observed a car pull up and Boggess get out. Boggess proceeded into the park where he put a substance on his fingers from a small plastic bottle with a red cap. Boggess left the park and headed towards the center of town. Gary and Cathy Brewer and Tanya Reeves saw Boggess two blocks from Collier's store.
Christine Brewer was in Frank Collier's store at 7:00 p.m. on the evening of the offense. She made a purchase totaling $4 which corresponded to the last entry in the store's register. While in the store, she saw Boggess. Upon completing her purchase, she left the store, and Boggess remained in the store.
Chris Milton and his cousin went to Collier's store a little after 7:00 p.m. When Collier could not be found in the main part of the store, Milton went back to the storage area where he found Collier lying in a puddle of blood. Milton went to a nearby store and called the police.
Ray Clevenger, an officer with the Saint Jo Police Department, received a call at 7:31 p.m. that there was a problem at Collier's grocery store. Upon arriving at the store he found Collier's body in the storage room. One of Collier's pockets was pulled out of his pants and the inside of the pocket was bloody. There was $950 in cash found in his back pants pocket.
The autopsy revealed that Frank Collier's throat had been cut and that he had received various injuries to his face, one of which appeared to be the imprint of the sole of a tennis shoe. His nose, ribs and sternum were fractured. The Medical Examiner concluded that the cause of death was the wound to the neck, a stab wound to the face, and blunt force injuries to the head and chest.
Boggess had not worked for Robert Williams, his employer since the 23rd of July. Williams saw Boggess on the 25th of July in an unfamiliar automobile. Boggess told his boss that he had quit drinking and saved his money in order to buy the car. Boggess had purchased an automobile on July 24, 1986, with a $400 cash down payment.
Boggess told at least three people that he had been involved in the murder. He told Phoebe Boaz, his girlfriend, that he killed an old man he knew in Saint Jo who owned a grocery store. He then proceeded to describe the killing by stating that prior to going into the store he put superglue on his fingers. Once inside the store he grabbed the old man from behind the counter and drug him into a back room where he cut his throat and kicked him several times in the ribs and the face.
Boggess told his cell-mate, Kevin Moon, about the murder, stating that he left Whitesboro on foot, about 5:30 p.m. Clevenger, who was intoxicated, gave him a ride to Saint Jo.
After arriving in Saint Jo, Clevenger let him out about eight blocks from the location of the murder. Boggess related to Moon that he went to the store, pulled a knife and told Collier, "Okay, Frank, this is it." Boggess then went around behind the counter and grabbed Collier around the neck and threw him to the floor. He attempted to kill Collier by punching his face and driving his nose into his brain. When that proved unsuccessful, Boggess told Moon that he began to pound Collier in the chest in an attempt to break his sternum and cause his heart to stop beating. After this also proved unsuccessful, Boggess cut the old man's throat. Boggess told Moon that he took $560 from Collier. Boggess then left the store and ran into the same man [Clevenger] who had given him a ride to town. Clevenger gave him a ride back to Whitesboro, stopping en route for beer. Boggess described Collier as an old man whom he had known all of his life.
On August 5, 1986, Boggess told his cousin, Damon Smith, about how he killed and robbed Frank Collier. Boggess told him that a man from Oklahoma [Clevenger] had given him a ride to Saint Jo. Boggess was dropped off in Boggess Park where he applied superglue to his fingertips. He then proceeded to Collier's grocery store. Upon entering the store, he got a Pepsi, browsed around the store and after determining that no one was coming, grabbed Collier and threw him to the floor. He then hit Collier in the nose with the palm of his hand, drug him to a back storeroom, and cut Collier's throat twice, because after the first cut, "the blood didn't gush out like it would on TV." He took money out of Collier's pocket and from a wooden box used as a cash register. Boggess told Smith that after leaving the store, he went back to Boggess Park and saw the man from Oklahoma who had given him a ride earlier. Boggess flagged the man down and they went to Muenster where they played pool and drank beer. Boggess explained that he had to kill Collier because Collier knew him and could identify him. With the stolen money, Boggess put $400 down on a used Monte Carlo, bought a $99 stereo at Wal-Mart and the "rest of the money . . . he partied on."
Boggess is confined in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division pursuant to a judgment and sentence of the 97th Judicial District Court of Clay County, Texas, in Cause No. 039-87C, styled The State of Texas v. Clifford Holt Boggess. Boggess was charged with one count of capital murder for the murder of Frank Collier while Boggess was in the course of committing and attempting to commit the offense of robbery of Frank Collier. Boggess was tried before a jury upon a plea of not guilty. On October 16, 1987, the jury found him guilty of capital murder as charged in the indictment. Following a separate punishment hearing, the jury, on October 21, 1987, affirmatively answered the two special issues submitted pursuant to Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 37.071(b) (Vernon 1981). In accordance with Texas law, the trial court imposed a death sentence.
Boggess' conviction and sentence were automatically appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, which affirmed in a published opinion on February 1, 1989, and denied rehearing on March 8, 1989. Boggess v. State, 855 S.W.2d 656 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989). On July 3, 1989, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the judgment and remanded the case to the Court of Criminal Appeals for further consideration in light of Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989). On remand, the Court of Criminal Appeals again affirmed Boggess's conviction and sentence on May 29, 1991. Boggess v. State, 855 S.W.2d 645 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). On June 28, 1993, the Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari.
On August 20, 1993, the trial court scheduled an execution date of November 12, 1993. On November 5, 1993, after Boggess filed a motion for stay of execution, the trial court then withdrew the November 12 date and rescheduled the execution for December 14, 1993. On December 10, 1993, Boggess, represented by counsel, filed an application for state habeas relief, which the trial court denied on December 11, 1993. Boggess then filed a motion for stay of execution in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. On December 13, 1993, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief. Ex parte Clifford Holt Boggess, No. 25,760-01.
On December 13, 1993, Boggess filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus and motion for stay of execution in the federal district court. Boggess's motion to stay the December 14, 1993, execution date was granted. On May 16, 1996, the district court entered final judgment denying habeas corpus relief and, on June 17, 1996, issued a certificate of probable cause to appeal. On November 18, 1997, the Fifth Circuit affirmed denial of a writ of habeas corpus. On April 6, 1998, the Supreme Court denied Boggess' petition for writ of certiorari. Boggess v. Johnson, 118 S.Ct. 1394 (1998).
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY
Boggess pled guilty to capital murder and received a life sentence for the August 16, 1986, robbery and murder of 70-year-old Roy Vance Hazelwood, the proprietor of a Whitesboro variety store.