Texas prison inmate Billy Joel Tracy was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to death in December for the July 2015 fatal beating of Correctional Officer Timothy Davison.
At trial, the jury watched video surveillance footage that showed Tracy, 40, slip a hand free of its cuff and attack Davison as the two stood in front of Tracy's cell in the administrative segregation wing of the Barry Telford Unit in New Boston, Texas. Tracy grabbed Davison's metal tray slot bar and wielded it like a hammer, delivering blow after blow to Davison's head, even after the officer's body became limp.
Tracy threw Davison's body foot over head down a flight of stairs before fouling the air with Davison's pepper spray and retreating to his cell. Tracy bit a member of the five-man extraction team tasked with removing him after the deadly assault.
The jury heard testimony and viewed photographic and video evidence of Tracy's violence in prison and his history of escape attempts. Assistant District Attorney Kelley
Crisp warned the jury in closing arguments that, if allowed to live, Tracy is likely to kill again.
Tracy has been behind bars for more than half his life.
In 1995, he was sentenced to a three-year term for retaliation in Tarrant County, Texas. Three years later, Tracy was sentenced to life with parole possible, plus 20 years for burglary, aggravated assault and assault on a public servant in Rockwall County, Texas, connected to the beating of a teen girl. In 2005, Tracy received an additional
45-year term for stabbing a guard with a homemade weapon at a Texas Department of Criminal Justice unit in Amarillo. Tracy was sentenced to 10 years in 2009 for attacking a guard with razor blades at a TDCJ unit in Abilene.
Tracy's death sentence is the first in Bowie County in more than 15 years. He is being held at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.