Randall Mays, Texas

Update: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Randall Wayne Mays was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm local time, on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  His execution has been stayed.  Sixty-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 11 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 uniform 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 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 window without his rifle. Deputy Valentine attempted to maneuver between the Mays and 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 perviously 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.  A new execution date was set for 2019 once competency was determined, however, that execution warrant was withdrawn by Judge Joe Clayton of Henderson County.  In the past, attorneys for Randall asked that his execution be halted, arguing that Randall was mentally incompetent and, therefore, ineligible to be executed.  They also argued that Randall has schizophrenia and does not understand why he is to be executed.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stayed Randall's most recent execution over claims that he is intellectual disabled and ineligible for execution.  The case has been remanded to a lower court for review.


Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Tony Ogburn and Paul Habelt. Please pray for strength for the family of Randall. Please pray that if Randall is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented prior to the execution.  Please pray that Randall may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.



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