Justin Fuller has been on Texas death row since 1998. He was convicted with two other suspects in the murder of Donald Whittington in Tyler, Texas in 1997. Justin has always maintained that he innocent of shooting Mr. Whittington. However, the biggest tragedy in Justin’s case is the way it exposes the corrupt defense system in the state of Texas. Justin was failed at almost every level by unqualified and inept defense attorney’s. It is a certainty that had Justin been provided with competent representation he would not be on death row today. Consider these facts:

  • Donald Killingsworth was appointed to represent Justin at trial. Mr. Killingsworth had not paid his bar dues or attorney taxes and was facing disbarment. He requested that Wes Voldbering, be appointed co-counsel, despite the fact that Mr. Voldbering had no experience in capital cases. During the discovery phase of the trial, Mr. Killingsworth was suspended from practice. This left the inexperienced Mr. Voldbering as Justin’s only defense during a critical portion of the trial.

  • Prior to trial the prosecutor offered a plea bargain, which would have allowed Justin to receive a life sentence. Justin’s attorney’s did not tell Justin of the plea offer, although Justin has indicated that he would have accepted it.

  • There were many errors throughout the trial. During jury selection, the prosecution was able to strike all but one black juror, with no attempt by Justin’s attorney’s to challenge the racial prejudice to the court. In addition Mr. Voldbering told the jury that Justin would testify, when Justin did not intend to testify.

  • Toby Wilkinson was appointed to carry out Justin’s state habeas and he demonstrated one of the grossest displays of negligence and incompetence in this case so far. Mr. Wilkinson submitted to the court a previous habeas pleading he filed on behalf of Henry Earl Dunn, copying it page for page, often without changing names, dates or facts of the other case. Although the court noted that the habeas was a copy of Dunn’s pleading, they let the case go forward.

Justin’s current lawyer, Don Bailey, has filed numerous claims about the incompetence of Justin’s previous representation, only to be rejected by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The law states that every defendant has a right to a competent attorney. Without adequate representation, defendants have little to no chance to prove their innocence or to receive lesser sentences. In the state of Texas, higher courts like the CCA have let stand capital convictions in which defense attorney’s were sleeping or on drugs at the time of trial! With Texas executions occurring at a record pace, it is time to recognize the serious problems in our justice system. Justin’s case is a travesty of justice, and it is not the only one! We must stop the assembly line of death in the state of Texas!

Recently the 5th Circuit denied Justin a rehearing, and an

execution date has been set for August 24th of this year.

Please find out how you can help!

Call Lily Hughes at (512) 494-0667 or email for more information.

Or contact Don Bailey at (903) 892-9185 or email

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Hooman Hedayati

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