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Sentence Reduced for Texas Inmate Randall Mays

Updated: Friday, March 29, 2024

Randall MaysRandall Wayne Mays was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution was stayed. Sixty-four-year-old Randall was convicted of the murder of 61-year-old Henderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Price Ogburn and 63-year-old Henderson County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Paul Steven Habelt on May 17, 2007, in Payne Springs, Texas. Randall has spent the last 15 years on Texas’ death row.

Randall was described by his family as good with children and a man who took care of his family. One of his brothers was executed for murder in 1995. A second brother was shot and killed, an event Randall witnessed, and a third brother died of a drug overdose. Randall did not graduate from high school, leaving school after the 10th grade. Randall used drugs for a time but stopped in 1991. Prior to his arrest, he worked as a welder, an oil field worker, an architectural designer, and a construction worker.

On May 17, 2007, Fran Nicholson called the police saying that her neighbor, Randall Mays was shooting at his wife, Candis. Fran was concerned because he was close to the road and her grandchildren were going to be dropped off by the school bus soon. Fran also observed Mays and his wife screaming at each other.

Deputies Billy Jack Valentine, Duane Sanders, and Eric Ward responded to the call. All three were in uniforms and arrived in marked patrol vehicles. Candis claimed that she and her husband were simply arguing. Mays claimed that he was target practicing with his gun, which was in the house.

Deputy Sanders left the other officers and went over to talk to Fran. Around the same time, Deputy Tony Ogburn arrived. Deputy Sanders radioed back that she wanted to press charges. When the police determined that Mays had previous felony convictions, Deputy Valentine attempted to arrest him. As he began reading him his rights, Mays began running towards the house. Deputy Valentine attempted to stop him but failed.

Mays emerged from the house with a deer hunting rifle telling the police to “Back off, back off!” Mays then returned inside the house. Deputy Valentine, along with others, continued to try and talk Mays into peacefully surrendering.

Approximately 20 minutes after the standoff began, Mays climbed out of a window without his rifle. Deputy Valentine attempted to maneuver between the Mays and the house so that he could not return, however, Mays saw him and ran back towards the house. Deputy Valentine tripped over a hose and failed to stop Mays. Mays fired a short time later, hitting Deputy Ogburn in the head. Mays then shot and killed Inspector Paul Habelt, who had arrived earlier. Officers began returning fire. Deputy Kevin Harris was shot by Mays in the leg, but Deputy Harris also managed to hit Mays, who then surrendered.

Randall Mays was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to death on May 18, 2008.

This is not Randall’s first execution date. He was previously scheduled to be executed in March 2015, however, his execution was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in order to determine if Randall was mentally competent to be executed. His 2019 and 2020 scheduled executions were stayed for similar reasons.

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals resentenced Randall Mays to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. Since his arrest, his lawyers have argued that Randall is incompetent and, therefore, ineligible to be executed. After multiple reviews of his competency, it was determined that Randall did not qualify to be executed, resulting in a reduction of his sentence.

Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Tony Ogburn and Paul Habelt. Please pray for strength for the family of Randall. Pray that Randall may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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