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Roderick Dasha NEWTON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 9, 1999
Date of birth: December 7, 1977
Victim profile: Jesus Montoya, 20
Method of murder: Shooting (.35 caliber gun)
Location: Dallas County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 15, 2000
Name TDCJ Number Date of Birth
Newton, Roderick Dasha 999348 12/07/1977
Date Received Age (when Received) Education Level
03/15/2000 22 9
Date of Offense Age (at the Offense) County
03/09/1999 21 Dallas
Race Gender Hair Color
Black Male Black
Height Weight Eye Color
5' 10" 206 Brown
Native County Native State Prior Occupation
Hartford Connecticut Cook, Laborer
Prior Prison Record
Summary of incident

On 03/09/1999, Newton and one co-defendant carjacked a 20-year old Hispanic male, forced him to an ATM at gunpoint, then shot and killed him. 
Williams, Julian Paul
Race and Gender of Victim
hispanic male

Texas Attorney General

Media Advisory: Roderick Newton scheduled for execution

Thursday, July 16, 2009

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information about Roderick D. Newton, Jr. who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2009.

In 2000, Newton was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder and robbery of Jesus Montoya. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.


On March 8, 1999, Roderick Newton and Julian Williams went to a car wash in Pleasant Grove in Dallas looking for someone to rob. Newton, who was armed, started a conversation with Jesus Montoya who was washing his truck. After a few minutes, Newton, Williams and Montoya left the car wash and drove to a bank, where Newton forced Montoya to withdraw $200 from an ATM.

Newton next drove Montoya’s truck to a vacant field, where he told Montoya to take off his shoes, forced him out of the truck, took his gold chain and cross, and shot Montoya several times. Newton left Montoya in the field and drove his truck back to the car wash, where he and Williams got back into Newton’s car and drove away.

The next afternoon, Newton pawned Montoya’s gold chain and cross.

On March 9, 1999, a neighbor noticed that Montoya’s truck was still at the car wash. After discovering Williams’s fingerprint on glass in the passenger’s side of Montoya’s truck, Mesquite police arrested Williams who gave a statement implicating Newton in Montoya’s murder. Mesquite police then attempted to arrest Newton, who led them on a high speed car chase before finally being arrested. In processing Newton’s car, Mesquite police discovered a .35 caliber gun and two Texas ID cards in the vehicle’s glove box.

  • Mar. 8, 1999 — A Dallas County grand jury indicted Newton for the capital murder of Jesus Montoya.

  • Feb. 25, 2000 — Judgment was entered after a jury found Newton guilty of capital murder as alleged in the indictment.

  • Mar. 1, 2000 — The jury answered the punishment special issues affirmatively. The court assessed a sentence of death.

  • Jan. 31, 2001 — Newton filed a direct appeal with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

  • Dec. 10, 2001 — Newton filed for state habeas relief in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

  • June 12, 2002 — Newton’s conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

  • Jan. 15, 2003 — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Newton’s application for state habeas relief.

  • Jan. 14, 2004 — Newton filed his petition for writ of habeas corpus in a U.S. district court.

  • Mar. 28, 2007 — The federal district court denied Newton’s federal habeas petition.

  • Apr. 15, 2007 — Newton filed a motion for a certificate of appealability (“COA”) with the U.S. district court.

  • Apr. 25, 2007 — The federal district court denied Newton’s COA motion.

  • Nov. 27, 2007 — Newton requested a COA in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • Mar. 13, 2008 — Newton’s request for COA was denied by the Fifth Circuit Court.

  • July 28, 2008 — Newton filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Oct. 6, 2008 — Newton’s petition for writ of certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Mar. 24, 2009 — The trial court judge signed a death warrant, ordering Newton be executed after 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2009.


In May, 1993, Newton threatened to kill two officers after he was arrested for making terroristic threats to an elderly person.

One of Newton’s neighbors testified that in October 1993, someone stole several items from her car. While Newton was never arrested for this crime, the neighbor testified that she later recovered the items from Newton’s home.

In November 1993, when one of Newton’s teachers confronted him for sleeping in class, Newton attacked him, forcing the teacher to physically remove Newton from the classroom and call police. Newton later telephoned the teacher and threatened to “eliminate” him.

In 1994, Newton was stopped for suspicious behavior, but ran from the police. When finally caught, he falsely identified himself.

In November 1996, an officer saw Newton and another person working under the hood of a car. As the officer approached them, they immediately started walking away from the car. When the officer attempted to speak with Newton, he again ran from the police. Newton was eventually convicted of evading arrest for this incident.

In October 1997, when stopped for traffic violations, Newton identified himself by another name, but stated he did not have any form of identification. Newton was later convicted of failing to identify himself as a fugitive from justice.

In November 1997, Newton was convicted and given a probated sentence for unlawfully carrying a weapon and theft of services. His probation was later revoked because Newton failed to comply with its terms.

In December 1997, Newton led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle. Newton eventually ran from the car, but was later arrested. Newton was convicted of evading arrest and possession of marijuana.

In February 1998, Newton robbed two women. In relation to this incident, Newton was found guilty of two counts of theft of property from a person, and sentenced to five years probation.

Newton’s probation officer testified that Newton did not attend his first probation meeting because eight days after being placed on probation, he was arrested again for a burglary of a vehicle. Newton later lied to the officer about his place of residence. At his second meeting with his probation officer, Newton tested positive for marijuana. Newton failed to make any more of his required probation meetings, and his probation was consequently revoked.

Newton also caused problems while he was being held in the Dallas County Jail for the capital murder of Jesus Montoya. Specifically, Newton assaulted and threatened an officer.


Stay of execution granted for man convicted in '99 Pleasant Grove murder

By Jennifer Emily - The Dallas Morning News

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday granted a stay of execution for a man who was to die today and ordered a lower court to determine whether he deserves a new trial and whether he is mentally retarded.

Defense attorneys had argued that Roderick Newton, who was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering 20-year-old Jesus Montoya in a Pleasant Grove ATM robbery in 1999, did not get a fair trial because police failed to hand over evidence that would have questioned the credibility of a co-defendant who testified against him.

The Dallas County district attorney's office supported Newton's attorney's efforts to halt the execution after agreeing that Mesquite police withheld a written statement that contradicted the co-defendant's testimony.

District Attorney Craig Watkins said he believes Newton is guilty and he will prosecute him again if a new trial is granted.

"We've always thought he was guilty. We'll pursue the same punishment," Watkins said. But he added, "The process was less than perfect. ... We have the responsibility to call a spade a spade."

First statement

David Finn, one of Newton's attorneys, and prosecutor Mike Ware, who oversees the county's conviction integrity unit, say they believe police never gave defense attorneys or prosecutors copies of co-defendant Julian Williams' first statement to police.

In that statement, Williams denied any knowledge of the crime, according to a copy of the handwritten statement. He also said he would not lie.

Williams later made two substantially different statements and took the stand to testify that Newton shot Montoya as the man begged for his life.

Williams pleaded guilty after he testified and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Finn also said Mesquite Police Officer Michael Meek testified at trial that he took two statements from Williams – not three.

"It was not an oversight" that the first statement was never presented to the defense, he said. "It was not an accident. It was not a mistake. The detective should thank his lucky stars that the statute of limitations is only three years for aggravated perjury."

Greg Davis, lead prosecutor during the original trial and now the No. 2 prosecutor in Collin County, said Wednesday that "nothing was withheld from the defense."

He said that the defense attorneys reviewed the police file at the Police Department before the trial. He added that he was not present at that meeting.

"It was a premeditated and vicious killing, and Newton has never expressed one word of remorse for his actions," Davis said.

"Besides the co-defendant's testimony, we had [a] witness who identified Newton as the man who pawned Montoya's crucifix necklace after the murder, Newton's prints on Montoya's vehicle, Newton's attempt to escape at the time of his arrest and a confession to a cellmate that the defense called to the stand. The evidence of guilt was overwhelming against Newton."

Finn said trial attorneys viewed only physical evidence at that meeting.

A Mesquite police spokesman, Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, on Wednesday declined to discuss the case and referred questions to prosecutors. He said that he has not spoken to Meek.

"My understanding is we made everything available to defense attorneys," he added.

DA's office

Finn credited the DA's office for its help in securing the stay. Although Finn discovered the statement might exist, prosecutors found the document at the Mesquite Police Department.

"They could have just looked the other way," Finn said. "And they didn't. That speaks volumes about their integrity."

Withholding information that could benefit a defendant is commonly called a "Brady violation."

Agreeing to a stay of execution is an unusual move for a prosecutor, although Watkins has agreed to one before.

In September 2007, Watkins agreed to a stay of execution for Joseph Roland Lave Jr. because a second polygraph examination of a co-defendant was not given to the defense at trial. Lave is on death row, and prosecutors say they believe he is guilty.

Retardation issue

The DA's office did not agree to Newton's stay on the issue of mental retardation.

But in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the mentally retarded cannot be executed. They can be tried for capital crimes and sentenced to life in prison if they understand the charges they face and can contribute to their defense.

Neither the Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals nor the state Legislature has laid out a definitive method to determine if defendants are mentally retarded. But in several cases, defendants with IQs below 70 have been spared the death penalty.

Newton's IQ is 61, according to court records.

No date has been set for proceedings by the original trial court to hold hearings about the Brady violation and whether Newton is mentally retarded. After that hearing, the appeals court would make a decision based on the lower court's recommendation.



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