Lisa Ann Coleman was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m. on Wednesday evening. In 2006, Coleman was convicted in the death of 9-year-old Davontae Williams – who was beaten and starved to death. Despite a last-minute appeal, Coleman became the sixth woman executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
On July 26, 2004, authorities were called to an Arlington, Texas, apartment on reports of an ill child. However, when paramedics arrived on scene, the 9-year-old boy was already dead.
Authorities eventually identified Marcella Williams as Davontae’s mother and Lisa Ann Coleman as her live-in girlfriend. Both women were later arrested, as the young boy was clearly abused.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Davontae died of malnutrition. At the time of his death, the 9-year-old boy weighed 35 pounds. It was also determined that the child was physically abused. The medical examiner identified a total of 250 scars on Davontae’s body.
As reported by Texas Tribune, Williams was investigated by Child Protective Services on six separate complaints of abuse. However, the cases were eventually closed and she retained custody of her son.
In 2004, Governor Rick Perry ordered a state review of more than 1,000 CPS cases. As a result of the review, it was determined that “CPS caseworkers failed 70 percent of the time to act quickly to protect a child in danger.” Although the agency has undergone many positive changes, for Davontae it was simply too late.
As reported by WFAA News, Williams and Coleman were both charged with capital murder. However, Williams eventually pleaded guilty. As a condition of the plea, she avoided the death penalty. Lisa Ann Coleman was convicted of capital murder on June 22, 2006. She was later sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Attorney John Stickels represented Lisa Ann Coleman in her appeal. Stickels argued that his client was charged with the wrong crime.
At the time of Coleman’s conviction, capital murder was defined as a homicide — which was committed in conjunction with another crime. The list of included crimes included burglary, kidnapping, obstruction, or threat of terrorism. In Coleman’s case, prosecutors said she was also guilty of kidnapping.
According to prosecutors, Coleman and William admittedly locked Davontae in a closet. As he was therefore prevented from leaving the apartment, prosecutors said the child was kidnapped. Attorney Stickels disagrees.
“It is wrong, it is child abuse, but it’s not kidnapping… I’m not saying she’s innocent and did not do something wrong. But it’s just not kidnapping.”
As her final appeal was rejected, Lisa Ann Coleman was executed on Wednesday evening. In her final words she expressed love for her family in friends. However, she did not mention Davontae Williams.