Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Robert Nelson Drew

When I decided to review each of the 450 lethal injections in Texas, now 451, I naturally suspected Cameron Todd Willingham, Ernest Cantu, and Carlos DeLuna would be among the cases I studied carefully. They are frequently mentioned as examples of people who may have been innocent, though plunged by Texas. 

I had never heard of Robert Nelson Drew.

It's not that no one ever wrote of Robert Nelson Drew. You can read about his case here, here, and here. Also here and here. Drew just somehow never made it to the Pantheon of likely innocents convicted by the State. Life passed him by, and now Death turns a deaf ear. Even his transition was punctuated with dismissiveness. The judge who signed his death warrant added a smiley face.  


The "Sincerely" was also a nice touch.

Jeffrey Mays was brutally stabbed to death. There's no doubt about that. He had been traveling with a friend, Bee Landrum,  and two hitchhikers, Robert Drew and Ernest Puralewski. Mays had picked up Drew and Puralewski at separate locations, offering rides in exchange for the sharing of travel expenses. Until that day, Drew had never met any of the others.

Based almost exclusively on the testimony of Bee Landrum, Drew was convicted of the stabbing and sentenced to death. How can a jury fail to convict, afterall, given the gut-wrenching testimony of  an eyewitness who could very easily himself have been the victim? We all know eyewitness testimony is the gold standard for evidence.

Unfortunately for the prosecution, there was absolutely no physical evidence tying Drew to the crime. In fact, what little forensic data existed pointed to Drew's co-defendant, Ernest Puralewski. The murder weapon, a buck knife with a 3" blade, belonged to Puralewski and was on his person when he was arrested separately and far away from Drew.

Unfortunately for the prosecution, Puralewski pled guilty to the murder for a lesser sentence. Though Puralewski did not know Drew beyond the events of that day, he unequivocally cleared Drew of any involvement in the murder.

That leaves Bee Landrum's eyewitness testimony, and only Bee Landrum's eyewitness testimony. Unfortunately for the prosecution, the police made a tape recording of their initial interview with him. Those bastards kept that recording from the jury and from the defense for five freakin' years, but it eventually came out. In that recording, Bee Landrum admitted he had not seen the killing. He passed a polygraph test to that effect.

After the trial, Bee recanted his testimony, then recanted his recantation.

And so there you have it. Robert Nelson Drew didn't murder Jeffrey Mayes, and now we all know it, assuming we care to look. Drew even deprived the Pro Death Penalty camp their standard "Well, he committed lots of other heinous crimes, so he only got what he deserved" fall-back argument. It turns out that Drew, unlike most of the people I am learning of, had no prior record. 

Somehow, the vaunted Texas judicial system failed to find any problems with this case. The jury whiffed, as did the appellate court system, as did the Board of Pardons and Paroles, as did then Governor Ann Richards. They all failed in their job to protect the innocent and insure justice was done, and not one of them paid a price for it.

On 2 August 1994, Robert Nelson Drew paid with his life.

tsj
30 Mar 2010

16 comments:

Kathy said...

In the orginal hearing Robert Nelson Drew admitted to killing my 17 year old friend, Jeff Mays, and licking the blood off Jeff's leather jacket.
RND paid for the crime with his life, which will never equal, or even come close to, the value of Jeff's life to all of us who knew him.
But at least now RND can never hurt another child ever again.

Kathy said...

Bee Landrum, the eyewitness to the murder, was 16 YEARS OLD. He was helpless while his best friend was BRUTALLY murdered in his presence. Then, he was threatened, time and again, by Drew and Puralewski, that they would find him and finish him, too. I'm sure his story was shaky - imagine that pressure at SIXTEEN YEARS OLD.

Christa (Jeff's sister) said...

Robert Nelson Drew was left handed. The coroner reports clearly show that when Jeff's neck was sliced open, it was done by a left handed person. Any of the many wounds would have killed him, including all of the chest wounds, which were made by Drew and Puralewski, who were on both sides of Jeff's body.
Puralewski claimed he alone acted because he had already recieved his sentence. He was hoping Drew would also get a lighter sentence than death. In my opinion, both of them should have been executed.

Christa said...

Please keep in mind that the witness in Jeff's case DID see the killing. He saw it from inside the car, in the rear-view mirror. Some may consider that as being that he didn't actually SEE it. It's just a play on words.

Also, you mention that the "Texas judicial system failed to find any problems with this case. The jury whiffed, as did the appellate court system, as did the Board of Pardons and Paroles, as did then Governor Ann Richards". Okay, so, doesn't that tell you something? Either YOU are wrong, or all of those others who are trained in this area are wrong.
While I appreciate your research and hard work on this, it continues to sicken me when my brother's murderer is falsely glorified, and made to look like a victim. There was no wrong-doing on behalf of the government where RND was concerned. Please find some other "victim" who truly deserves your time and efforts.

Anonymous said...

one thing to say here is god will punish you all my uncle Robert nelson drew was innocent of this crime and for the moron up there who said he was left handed wrong my uncle robert whom we call bobby drew was right handed so better do more research and for the other idiot up there who claimed Robert did in fact do this to her son god will punish you for your ways earnest purlauski was caught with the murder weapon in his possession with your sons blood on it at the time he was caught trying to leave town i have all the transcripts from the trial and the statements of the witnesses's who blatantly stated that he didnt see the murder he was forced to by the police to say robert did this 1 because he was from out of state and tx morons love to mess with ppl from out of state 2 i know how cops are and their tack ticks to pressure someone into making a statement to get a case solved. oh and btw roberts son has filed suit against the state of texas for the murder of his dad. justice will be served god bless and have a wonderful day

Anonymous said...

R.I.P ROBERT NELSON DREW.HE WAS A KIND LOVING UNCLE A GREAT BROTHER AND SON A WONDERFUL COUSIN SORRY YOU HAD TO BE THE ACCUSED OF SUCH A HIDIOUS CRIME YOU DIDNT COMMIT WE ALL LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU SO VERY MUCH MAY GOD BE WITH YOU AND JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED WHEN GOD THE JUDGES OF JUDGES AND THE RULER OF RULERS TAKES US ALL HOME TO STAND BEFORE HIM YOU WILL RISE UP AND SHINE BEFORE HIM AND THESE PPL WHO CONVICTIED YOU OF SUCH A HIDIOUS CRIME WE ALL KNOW YOU DIDNT COMMIT WILL BE TURNED AWAY FROM HIM AND CAST TO ETERNAL DAMNATION AND PAY FOR TAKING YOU AWAY FROM YOUR LOVED ONES WITH THESE LIES LOVE AND MISS YOU. PEACE BE YOURS

Anonymous said...

Robert nelson drew was convicted of the murder of Jeffery Mays a 17 yr old runaway from Alabama whom was in texas with a runaway friend bee landrum who picked up 3 different hitch hickers along the path to where? robert nelson drew was charged for the capital murder of mays to whom was stabbed and throat cut by a left handed person according to the reports. and as a cousin of robert drew i should know Robert drew was right handed and the only eye-witness to Jeffery Mays murder was bee landrum. landrums statements to the police and the recorded taped confession to police per landrum during and through the trial of robert drews case had blatantly confessed that he had not seen who stabbed jeffery mays. allagations in the police report stated that robert drew had forced jeffery mays into the back seat of the car and had beat him up then stabbed him. and in the trial landrum had confessed that he had seen robert drew and earnest purlauski beating him outside of the car many feet away from the rear of the car.1 my question is if landrum was sitting in the car at the time of the stabbing which he claimed he was and that he was being held at knife point with his door locked claiming to see the stabbing through the rear view mirror of the car. i have many times tried to make this reenactment from my car sitting in the passenger side of my own car and there is no way that if im sitting in the passenger side of the car while being held at knife point and forced to be looking forward could i see anything happening at the rear of the car.2 if there was only 4 people in this car at the time of the said murder of jeffery mays and robert drew and eranest purlauski were beating him behind the car and then stabbed him and cutting his throat then who was holding landrum at knife point? bee landrum perjured himself on the stand in the conviction of robert nelson drew not 1 not twice but 3 times. both bee landrum and earnest purlauski both recanted their statements against robert drew stating that purlauski himself had acted alone and by himself in the murder of jeffery mays.and two times in the trial the prosecution made statemens that robert drew had beat jeffery mays to death and licked the blood off his hands then stabbed jeffery mays the second time made allegations that drew had yanked jeffery mays head back while out of the car and cut his throat while purlauski stabbed him in the chest robert had then licked the blood of jeffery mays coat. question is if this was hard evidence to the case why wasnt a mouth swab done on robert drew to prove the allegations to convict.the state had no evidence tying robert drew to this killing infact the weapon used belonged to bee landrum as well did the car used by the two runaways from alabama. and when the cops had caught earnest purlauski many miles away from robert nelson drew earnest purlauski still had the knife in his possession with jeffery mays blood on it. bee landrum and purlauski both recanted their statements later on saying robert held no part in the stabbing murder of jeffery mays and robert drews constitutional rights was violated by both the courts and the judicial courts denying him the right to a fair trial after this said evidence was brought forth five yrs after his trial. furthermore the knife robert had in his possession at the time of his arrest didnt match any of the fatal wounds sustained by jeffery mays. this case should have been tossed out of court and robert set free when the only eye-witness recanted and perjured himself under oath on the stand. both the written statement and the recorded statement and the vernal statement while under oath and question on the stand bee landrum had infact lied about seeing any of the stabbings and whom did the killing.

Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that someone could say a person is guilty of murder because they were left handed and the attack mark show this.. Um, i'm right handed and I do all sorts of amazing things with my left hand people!

Anonymous said...

Robert Nelson Drew is burning in hell where he belongs. Ernest will burn right beside him when his day comes. I wish I could meet Bee Landrum, I would punch him in his stupid face for recanting. To the family of Jeff Mays I'm sorry for your loss. Also I find it funny that everyone is related to someone in these responses, someone is a cousin and the other is an uncle of that rat bastard murderer, I wouldn't be proud being related to that idiot if I were you. Since we all want to play a related roll, then I'm related to Judge Smiley face. That's hilarious if you ask me. That judge marked that dickhead's execution date with a smiley face. If I were to meet that judge today i would have shook his hand and said well done sir. Oh I forgot I am related to him and he once told me that he heard from the prison that Robert was constantly raped in prison and was made to eat feces by the black inmates. What an idiot. I hope that lethal injection burned but I bet not as bad as burning in hell. Hey Robert say hello to Hitler you dead idiot. Lots of love- Fardbut Raipdic :)

Anonymous said...

Hey you, son of Bitch above. That wasn't very nice. I happened to know Robert very well, he was a very kind and humane person. We grew up together, fyi, we went hunting one time and he shot at a deer missed it and accidentally shot a cow only wounding it, sure he could have left it there to suffer but no he did the humane thing and slit the cows throat so don't act like he was heartless. And if you would read the facts then you would know he only played a small role in the murder, he didn't kill the guy by himself. RIP Robert And Cow

Anonymous said...

I just saw Roberts name on Wikipedia and looked into his case, read the above article, and (regretably) the comments. Let me say this first, The general opinion of me, from family and friends is that I am "fuckin smart"
Now this case was obviously botched! I hate hearing of senseless murder, and understand even less senseless murdering. So this whole thing is and probably will always be a complete tragedy!
My feelings go out to the family of the "Boys" that died, no matter how they died. The reason I am posting this is the anger that comes to me from reading the post from the lowlife when he spoke of prison rape. So..... To the family of Robert, in case you believe that what he said was true, I can assure you that a story like that has about a million to one chance of happening. Trust me, I have been to prison! what I would like you to know is that in prison the inmates are experts at reading you, judging you, sizing you up. their ability to do this is mind boggling. If your boy was a strong spirit fighting for his life, No-one would have been able to do that to him. On the other hand, If you are the type of person that says things just to deeply disturb them, The kind of person that thinks talking about prison rape is a form of revenge, or that they use its horrible impact as if it were funny. You see, its boring in prison, so for fun the inmates will target other inmates who talk about getting raped, sexual jokes, shit like this guy posted. And well, they rape them, repeatedly! I know what this guy posted hurt you. But Im attempting to console you by telling you that robert survived the day to day crap in prison. Where this idiots mouth would have got him into trouble (and out of it) he does not have the character to take a shitty hand, and deal with it. I can only imagine the thoughts that went through your sons mind while all this took place. An to you "prison rape fan" I bet a million dollars that you believe in god! (I dont)

Anonymous said...

The fact that you are all debating this tells me there are grave issues in the American Death Penalty System. RIP to both men who lost their lives :((

Anonymous said...

I knew Bee back in the day when all this happened. I remember how upset he was at the time. I know he told me that he originally told police he didn't see what happened because he was afraid that the 2 involved had threatened him. I heard Bee"s voice and saw his face as he told the story to me of what happened after the murder when he returned to Alabama. He saw what happened. There is no doubt in my mind of that. I also know he was afraid because he was being threatened by friends and family of Robert. Bee was truly afraid of what they would do.

Anonymous said...

Robert Drew had stabbed another person in the chest prior to this murder. those claiming to be his family on this thread are claiming he was so loving and humane and would never do anything like that. But yet it stands he had stabbed his wife's former boss prior to killing Mays. The wife's former boss was also stabbed in the chest.Sounds to me like they are ignoring the fact Robert had a known mo

Anonymous said...

Where are your facts that he has stabbed another person prior to this? Ernest admitted he committed the crime himself though he was too late. Better do some reading. In Texas at the time they only gave 30 days to come up with new evidence, he waited 3 months to say Robert was innocent. The evidence pointed all to Ernest but sadly Robert had to pay for a crime he has not committed. And for the psychotic judge to put a smiley face as he signed a paper, a paper of murder, that's just wrong. He's a fucking sick. It's sad that Jeffrey was killed but Robert was killed too. Two innocent lives taken.

Anonymous said...

Where are your facts that he has stabbed another person prior to this? Ernest admitted he committed the crime himself though he was too late. Better do some reading. In Texas at the time they only gave 30 days to come up with new evidence, he waited 3 months to say Robert was innocent. The evidence pointed all to Ernest but sadly Robert had to pay for a crime he has not committed. And for the psychotic judge to put a smiley face as he signed a paper, a paper of murder, that's just wrong. He's a fucking sick. It's sad that Jeffrey was killed but Robert was killed too. Two innocent lives taken.

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