Execution to move forward for convicted 1992 killer after lawyer argues for new DNA testing

Arthur Brown Jr., along with Marion Dudley and Antonia Dunson, was convicted of murdering four people in the Brownstone Lane home.

Courtney Fischer Image
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Convicted killer's lawyer claims new DNA testing could prove innocence
Arthur Brown Jr., accused of tying up six people with bedsheets before killing them, is set to be executed Thursday. His attorney argues his DNA should be on those sheets, but they were never tested.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The execution for convicted killer Arthur Brown Jr. will move forward Thursday, despite arguments from his attorneys that new DNA testing could prove Brown's innocence. They argued unsuccessfully for more time to do the testing.

Brown's attorney, Kelsey Peregoy, with the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs, argued that because investigators say Brown tied up six people with bedsheets inside the Brownstone Lane home on June 20, 1992, his DNA should be on those sheets. Those sheets were never tested.

Since the murders 30 years ago, DNA technology has improved greatly, Peregoy pointed out. "Touch DNA," or "Trace DNA," is a method of testing that can show skin cells left behind on an object like bedsheets or the knife used to cut the sheets.

"There is no question biological evidence exists on these sheets," Peregoy said in court on Tuesday.

But prosecutors pointed out that this testing has been available since 2016, arguing that Brown's attorneys are bringing it up now to delay his execution.

Assistant District Attorney Josh Reiss also pointed out Rachel Tovar, who was shot that day but survived, identified Brown during the trial as the person who tied up her family and friends.

For three decades, Brown has maintained his innocence. His attorneys also argue Brown shouldn't be put to death because he's "unquestionably intellectually limited."

RELATED: Convicted killer Arthur Brown Jr to be executed in March 2023, judge says

Brown, along with Marion Dudley and Antonia Dunson, was convicted in 1993 of murdering four people: Jose Tovar, 32; Frank Farias, 17, Tovar's son; Jessica Quinones, 19, who was seven months pregnant; and Audrey Brown, a family friend with no relation to Brown.

Brown, Dudley, and Dunson went to the Tovar home to buy drugs, then robbed and shot all six people inside.

Rachel Tovar, Jose's wife and Frank's mother, and Nicolas Cortez, a neighbor, were the only survivors.

Rachel was in court with support from her daughter, as was Jessica Quinones' family.

"My daughter Jessica got justice," Graciela Quinones, Jessica's mother, said as she left court arm in arm with family. "I feel a little bit sad still, but I'm happy. I'm happy because God helped me go through all of this. And all of my kids and everybody, thank you very much for being here."

In 2006, Dudley was put to death by lethal injection. Dunson was sentenced to life in prison.

Brown is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. in Huntsville on Thursday, March 9. He will be the fourth person put to death by the state of Texas in 2023.

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