Phillips entered the fourth-floor office of Alley
Theatre director Iris Siff on Jan. 12, 1982, and demanded money.
After a struggle, he strangled Siff, 58, then fled with her
television, fur coat, purse, jewelry and vehicle.
Phillips, who once served time for killing his 3-year-old
son, previously had worked as a security guard at the theater. He
claimed he killed Siff in self-defense after she attacked him.
Texas Executes Killer of Director
December 16, 1993
A former security guard at a
Houston playhouse was executed by injection early today for
strangling the theater's director during a holdup.
The convict, Clifford X. Phillips, 59, went to
his death hours after the Supreme Court refused to block the
It was the 71st execution in Texas since the
state resumed use of the death penalty in 1982. That is nearly one-third
of the executions in the United States since the Supreme Court in
1976 allowed capital punishment to resume.
Mr. Phillips was convicted in the 1982 murder of
Iris Siff at the Alley Theater. Mrs. Siff, 58, was working late on a
government grant application when she was strangled with a telephone
Mr. Phillips had been dismissed as a guard a few
weeks earlier for sleeping on the job.
His lawyers had argued that Mr. Phillips, who is
black, was a victim of racial discrimination. The jury was all-white
and the victim was white.
Mr. Phillips had served seven years in prison in
New York State for killing his 3-year-old son in 1970 by forcing
water down the child's throat. The child's body was found in a
suitcase. He was also accused of beating his daughter into a
"Enough is enough is enough," Joseph Siff, Mrs.
Siff's son, said on Tuesday. "This man has had three strikes. As far
as I'm concerned he's given up his rights to the potential for
rehabilitation by his own actions."
Mr. Phillips gave a rambling final statement that
lasted nearly five minutes. In it he expressed love for his wife,
gave thanks to Allah and expressed remorse for the slaying.