Jim Rockwell The electric chair in Huntsville the enlistment aptitude tests. Pre-trial IQ tests placed his intelligence score at 70 to 80. He registered “mildly retarded” with a 66 in verbal abilities, but scored a normal 99 in performance skills. McKinney characterized Jurek as “sociopathic, exhibiting a number of antisocial traits.” “His insight and judgment are generally felt to be poor and limited by his general educational background and limited functional level of intelligence,” the psychiatrist continued. He noted Jurek had difficulty making change for a dollar and naming six large cities. “Lying is certainly indicated” in Jurek’s behavior pattern, McKinney said. But more important for Jurek’s future, McKinney concluded that he was neither psychotic nor out of touch with reality; he could stand trial. The trial lasted five days. Dist. Atty. Wiley Cheatham, a 20-year courtroom veteran, and County Atty. Robert Post prosecuted the case. Jurek had two court-appointed attorneys: George Middaugh, a longtime Cuero attorney and businessman \(subsequently suspended from practicing law for three years over one month out of The University of Texas Law School. The defense put only one witness on the stand, but not until Jurek had already been found guilty and was in the punishment phase. Charlie Jurek then testified that his son had never gotten in trouble and had worked to help support the family. Cheatham and Post had several witnesses reconstruct the travels of the blue-and-white pickup truck. The three girls who said they had been chased testified that they later saw it speeding toward Hell’s Gate Bridge with a screaming blonde girl in the back. And witnesses placed Jurek in the park talking to Wendy before the murder. The only weak spot in the prosecutor’s case was their failure to establish a hard-and-fast identification of Jurek as the driver of the truck while Wendy Adams was riding in the back. One of the chased girls said it was definitely Jurek at the wheel; other witnesses weren’t sure. Cheatham later told a Dallas reporter the defense lawyers did “as good as they could, but they were under a severe handicap. There isn’t much you can do with an unloaded gun. And that’s what they had. We had the witnesses who saw her in the truck, and we had his confession. They didn’t have much to work with.” The jury, mostly middle-aged longtime county residents, took less than an hour to return a guilty verdict. In the punishment phase, Cheatham asked Charlie Jurek if he knew that his son had twice before been charged with assault to rape young girls. Mr. Jurek answered simply, “No.” The state called four witnesses to testify that Jerry Jurek had a poor reputation in the community. Along with their verdict, the jury returned to the court room with answers to Judge Kelly’s two questions: Did the defendant act intentionally and in a manner to knowingly cause the death of another? Is he likely to be a continuing threat to society? Under the law, two affirmative answers obliged Judge Kelly to sentence January 28, 1977 5
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