By BRANDI GRISSOM
Published: 02 August 2015
In Texas, 10 of the 261 death row inmates reported some military service, according to the Department of Criminal Justice.To Tim Rojas, it feels like just yesterday that he and his Marine buddy John Thuesen were on the battlefield together, looking death in the face and trying to make sure they both got home to their families.
In reality, it’s been more than a decade since they left Iraq. Rojas works at a high-powered Houston investment firm. Thuesen, though, is in a 6-by-10 solitary cell, hoping that Texas’ highest criminal court will spare him from the death penalty.
“Hope is everything,” Rojas said.
Thuesen, 31, has been on death row since he was convicted in 2010 of fatally shooting his girlfriend Rachel Joiner and her brother Travis Joiner in their College Station home.
In July, Brazos County District Judge Travis Bryan III agreed with Thuesen’s appellate lawyers that the attorneys who defended Thuesen at trial didn’t adequately inform jurors about their client’s post-traumatic stress disorder after his return from combat. With more information about PTSD and its effects, Bryan said in court documents, the jurors who sentenced Thuesen to death may have decided differently. Bryan’s ruling is now under review by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which will ultimately decide whether Thuesen should get a new trial and a chance at a lesser sentence.
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