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Danny Dean THOMAS






Changed his name to Shozdijiji Shisinday
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 18, 1981
Date of birth: August 30, 1955
Victim profile: Sylvia Elaine Harrison, 19
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Harris County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 1, 1982. Died in prison on August 29, 2009


Texas Death Row Inmate Dies of Boredom

August 31, 2009

A convicted killer on Texas’ death row for nearly three decades has died in prison, prison officials said.

Danny Dean Thomas was found dead Saturday, a day before his 54th birthday, on death row at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit near Livingston. Prison officials said an autopsy would be performed but initially were attributing his death to natural causes.

Thomas changed his name to Shozdijiji Shisinday since his conviction for the July 1981 abduction and murder of a Houston woman. Sylvia Elaine Harrison, 19, was fatally shot and her body was dumped in the San Jacinto River in Harris County.


Court issues rulings in death penalty cases

September 13, 2001

AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday upheld the conviction of Danny Dean Thomas, who was sentenced to death for the 1981 kidnapping and murder of a 19-year-old woman.

Thomas and a friend helped Sylvia Elaine Harrison after she had car trouble, according to evidence. They later abducted her from her home, and Thomas shot her in the head as she begged for her life.

Among the 54 points of error that Thomas raised in his appeal include allegations that Thomas’ written confession was coerced and that he did not waive his rights before making the written statement.

The court wrote there is no court record to indicate the allegations.

‘‘The sheriff’s detectives who obtained his confession had actually done a great job and treated him very well,’’ said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Bill Delmore.

Thomas, also known as Shozdijiji Shisinday, was tried twice for the crime. His first conviction, which was overturned, was in March 1982. His latest conviction was in November 1998.

Thomas also alleged in his appeal that the passage of time since his original trial prevented him from presenting an effective insanity defense at his new trial. Thomas contended that since his first trial, his schizophrenia has gone into remission and as a result, the jury did not have the opportunity to observe the full effects of the illness.

The court wrote that the delay between trials did not prevent Thomas from presenting evidence concerning his mental state at the time of the offense and said it sees no relevancy between Thomas’ demeanor at the trial to his presentation of an insanity defense.

Thomas’ attorney could not be reached Wednesday.

The court also affirmed the conviction of Johnny Ray Conner, who was sentenced to death for the 1998 killing of Kathyanna Nguyen, a convenience store owner who was shot in the head during a robbery.



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