James Autry

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James David Autry
Autryjames 1.jpg
Born(1954-09-27)September 27, 1954
DiedMarch 14, 1984(1984-03-14) (aged 29)
Criminal statusExecuted
Conviction(s)2 counts capital murder
Criminal penaltyDeath by lethal injection

James David Autry (September 27, 1954 – March 14, 1984[1]) was a convicted murderer in the U.S. state of Texas, executed by lethal injection.

Autry had been convicted of shooting 43-year-old Port Arthur convenience store clerk, Shirley Drouet,[2] between the eyes with a .38 caliber pistol on April 20, 1980.[1] He then shot two witnesses in the head, one of whom, Joe Broussard,[2] a Roman Catholic priest, died instantly, while the other, Anthanasios Svarnas, a Greek seaman,[2] survived but was left with permanent brain damage;[1] the crime had been committed with John Alton Sandifer, Autry's roommate.[2] Although no money was missing from the cash register, a carton of beer valued at $2.70 was missing.[2]

On October 4, 1983, he had been strapped in the gurney in the execution chamber, with the needles in his arms, when a stay of execution came through,[3] he would later be executed on March 14, 1984, in the second execution in Texas since the reintroduction of the death penalty in the state after Gregg v. Georgia.

He declined to make a final statement but did request a last meal of a hamburger, French fries, and a Dr Pepper.[4]

Autry was known as "Cowboy" on death row; as to lethal injection he said "it ain't manly" and said he would prefer to be hanged or beheaded. He also said he preferred execution to life in prison, he petitioned the Texas Board of Corrections to have his execution televised, arguing that the execution isn't "real" to the people unless they see it. The request was refused.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "James Autry Offender information." Archived 2005-11-01 at the Wayback Machine Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
  2. ^ a b c d e "James Autry." prodeathpenalty.com.
  3. ^ "When someone is executed by lethal injection, do they swab off the arm first?" The Straight Dope.
  4. ^ Final Meal Requests at the Wayback Machine (archived December 2, 2003). Texas Department of Criminal Justice (September 12, 2003). Archived from the original on December 2, 2003. Retrieved on November 17, 2007.
  5. ^ Drimmer, Frederrick (1990). Until You are Dead...: The book of executions in America. New York: Carol Publishing Group. pp. 81–82. ISBN 0-8065-1184-2.