Athens Review, Athens, Texas

In the News

March 26, 2014

Man set to die for killing Texas delivery woman

HUNTSVILLE — The caller appeared to be faking an elderly woman's voice in placing an order for four dozen doughnuts and breakfast tacos to be delivered to a suburban Dallas home. Hyun Mi Cho at Chaha Donuts was wary, but she'd previously been to the address in Rowlett.

When Cho arrived, 18-year-old Anthony Doyle answered the door and invited her inside, then demanded her money. Responding that she had none, Cho was attacked with a baseball bat, her battered body dumped in a trash can in an alley. A neighbor taking out garbage discovered her.

Doyle, now 29, is scheduled to die Thursday evening for the fatal beating at his mother's home 11 years ago.

Doyle would be the fourth Texas inmate executed this year and last before the state — the nation's most active when it comes to capital punishment — begins using a new batch of pentobarbital obtained through a different pharmacy. Prison officials have refused to disclose its provider, arguing the information must be kept secret to protect the supplier's safety. The state attorney general's office previously has said the information should be public and is waiting to hear arguments from corrections officials on why the policy should be changed.

Doyle's attorney asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution, contending he deserved a new punishment hearing because Dallas County jurors at his capital murder trial in 2004 were presented unknowingly false evidence about Doyle's inability to be rehabilitated while he was confined at a now-closed juvenile detention facility.

Attorney Lydia Brandt argued the defunct Texas Youth Commission, operators of a North Texas military-style juvenile boot camp where Doyle was sent after other attempts to address his delinquent behavior failed, wasn't capable of delivering adequate rehabilitation. The boot camp model designed to "break behavior" is now prohibited, the camp at an old air base near Vernon where Doyle was incarcerated from 1999 to 2001 has closed and the Texas Youth Commission was overhauled and rebranded after abuses were exposed beginning in 2007.

With that knowledge today, "There is a reasonable likelihood that Mr. Doyle would not have been sentenced to death," Brandt said.

State attorneys told the justices Brandt's arguments were not new, not material to Doyle's case, that his problems in various juvenile detention programs were only part of the state's punishment evidence and that the Supreme Court never has recognized unknowing use of false testimony at trial by prosecutors as a constitutional due process violation.

Trial prosecutors said Doyle had been a major discipline problem for years, even going back to elementary school.

"I think horrible facts of the crime and his long criminal history is what convinced jurors of the death sentence," Toby Shook, a former assistant Dallas County district attorney who helped prosecute the case, recalled last week.

Doyle was seen driving Cho's car and told a friend he got it by "hitting a lick," street slang for robbery, police said.

Cho, 37, had been in the U.S. about two years and was earning money to care for her ill parents in South Korea, according to Cho's sister, who operated two doughnut shops.

Police already had been searching for her after she didn't return from the delivery Jan. 16, 2003. Doyle's sister told officers canvassing the neighborhood in Rowlett, just east of Dallas, about a wet brown spot on a carpet. Police then found blood spatters on the ceiling and kitchen walls and a strong odor of bleach and fresh paint. Evidence showed Doyle used barbecue sauce trying to cover the blood, tried to clean the scene and repaint walls.

He was arrested at a friend's home in Dallas, then gave police a 10-page written confession.

Evidence showed he tried to use Cho's credit cards and shared the food she delivered with friends. His bloody clothes were found at his mother's home, where the slaying occurred. He also led authorities to the bloody baseball bat.

Doyle told investigators he was under pressure from parents and his girlfriend to support his 3-week-old daughter and couldn't get a job.


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