Update: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 7:56 pm EDT
Lester Leroy Bower, Jr., has been executed by the state of Texas, at 6:36 pm CDT. Read the full story here.
Update: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 6:18 pm EDT
The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected two requests to stay the execution of Lester Leroy Bower, Jr. His execution is scheduled to occur later tonight.
Update: Monday, June 1, 2015 11:38 am EDT
Lester Leroy Bower, Jr.'s execution is scheduled to occur at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Sixty-seven-year-old Lester is convicted of murdering 51-year-old Bob G. Tate, 39-year-old Ronald Mayes, 29-year-old Philip Good, and 52-year-old Jerry Mac Brown, on October 8, 1983, near Sherman, Texas. Lester has spent the last 30 years on Texas’ death row.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a request for a stay of execution from Lester. Lester argued that his jury did not have time to fully consider all mitigating evidence before sentencing him.
Lester was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Lester graduated from high school and college, where he played football. Lester had no previous criminal history. Prior to his arrest, he worked as a chemical salesman and enjoyed rafting, hunting, backpacking, and archery. He and his family, a wife and two daughters, moved from Colorado to Texas months before the murders.
In the fall of 1983, much to his wife’s objections, Lester Bower was contemplating purchasing and flying an ultralight aircraft. Bower, unbeknownst to his wife, called Phillip Good after seeing his sale advertisement for an ultralight aircraft. Philip introduced Bower to Bob Tate, who owned an ultralight he wanted to sell.
On October 8, 1983, Bower drove out to an airport hanger to meet withe Philip and Bob. According to Bower, he purchased the ultralight from them, dismantled it, and went to store it in a local gun club so his wife would not find out about his purchase. According to prosecutors, Bower “snapped” and killed Philip and Bob. He then killed Jerry Brown and Ronald Mayes when they came over to investigate. Bower initially lied to investigators about his whereabouts on the day the four men were killed, allegedly wanting to spare his family from the attention being involved in such a case would bring.
Bower was convicted based on circumstantial evidence. Bower sold firearms on the side, had purchased prior to the murder a gun that used Julio Fiocchi .22 caliber bullets. Casings for these bullets were found on the floor of the hanger where the four men were killed. It was also believed that a silencer was used in the murders, although the murder weapon was never found. Prosecutors said he killed the men in order to steal the plane. Parts of the plane, with the name “Tate” scratched on them were found in Bower’s garage, along with fingerprints from Jerry, decals and materials which were traditionally found on the exterior of an ultralight aircraft, receipts for Julio Fiocchi .22 caliber bullets, books and articles on weaponry and how to commit murder, instructional guides for using silencers, and manuals for construction of ultralight aircrafts. Unidentified blood stains were also found on Bower’s boots.
Five years after Bower’s conviction and death sentence, a woman came forward claiming Bower did not kill the men; her ex-boyfriend and his three friends did in a drug deal gone bad. Since then, three more witnesses have come forward confirming key pieces of the woman’s claim.
Lester Bower had previously been scheduled to be executed on February 10, 2015, however he received a stay of execution from the Supreme Court of the United States. The stay was granted in order to grant the court time to consider whether they will hear his case, which includes the claim that spending the last 30 years on death row amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. The court ultimately decided not to hear his case, allowing Texas to once again scheduled Lester’s execution.
This is at least the sixth execution warrant for Lester. Lester has maintained his innocence, although he is prepared to die.
Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Bob Tate, Ronald Mayer, Philip Good, and Jerry Brown. Please pray for the family of Lester. Please pray if Lester is innocent or lacks the competence to be executed, evidence will be brought forth before his execution. Please pray that Lester may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.