Houston Man Resentenced to Death for 1990 Double Murder Following Retrial
Daryl Wheatfall, a 57-year-old man previously sentenced to death in 1991 for the 1990 murders of James and L.B. Fitzgerald, has been resentenced to death by a Harris County Jury, according to District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Wheatfall’s initial conviction was overturned due to flawed jury instructions, leading to a retrial. The retrial focused solely on determining his punishment, as his guilt was not in question. The jury had two options: to reinstate the death penalty or grant Wheatfall a life sentence.
During the retrial, the jury heard testimony about Wheatfall’s violent history, which included the 1990 stabbings of the Fitzgerald couple over $50 and an attack on a prison guard. Despite his age, the jury deemed Wheatfall too great a threat to be removed from death row.
The couple’s son, who survived the 1990 attack and testified against Wheatfall in the retrial, played a crucial role in the proceedings. The retrial, which spanned two months, included four weeks of individual jury selection and four weeks of testimony and deliberation.
Assistant District Attorneys Janna Oswald, Sarah Seeley, Brett Batchelor, and Savana Hooper prosecuted the case. Oswald expressed gratitude to the jury for their diligence, emphasizing Wheatfall’s ongoing danger to both the prison population and the broader community.
District Attorney Kim Ogg acknowledged the emotional toll of such cases, offering condolences to the remaining family members of the Fitzgeralds. The law at the time of the crime controls Wheatfall’s parole eligibility, and a life sentence would have automatically made him eligible for parole. The jury’s decision ensures Wheatfall remains on death row.