Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

April 14, 2013

Threadgill execution scheduled Tuesday

Sentence follows 10 years of appeals in state, federal courts

Corsicana — At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Ronnie Paul Threadgill is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas for the murder of 17-year-old Dexter McDonald on April 14, 2001, outside a nightclub in Navarro County.

On April 14, 2001, three young men walked out of a nightclub in Navarro County and got into a car. Kevin Williams sat in the front passenger seat, and Dexter McDonald sat in the right rear passenger seat. Christopher Lane, the car’s owner, got into the driver’s seat but then got back out to talk to someone. Shortly thereafter, Ronnie Threadgill ran up and fired two shots from a handgun. The first shot did not hit anyone. The second shot hit McDonald. The bullet passed through McDonald’s arm and went into his chest, according to an account by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Williams, who was in the passenger seat, jumped out of the car. Threadgill, then 29 years old, then leaped into the driver’s seat and took off with the car, stopping only long enough to drag McDonald out and leave him on the ground. McDonald was taken to the hospital but died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

At trial, Williams testified that the first shot was fired from outside the car, and that when the second shot was fired, the shooter “was standing outside the car, bent over into the car.” Danyel Nellums, who was nearby when the shooting happened, testified that McDonald was intoxicated and was sitting in the back seat with his head leaning against the window frame. Nellums specifically denied defense counsel’s suggestion that McDonald was lying down or stretched out on the seat.

Threadgill’s past criminal history was brought to the jury’s attention once he’d been found guilty. Nine officers and one other witness testified during the punishment phase that Threadgill’s reputation in the community was that of a bad or very bad guy. He had prior misdemeanor convictions for assault, resisting arrest, theft, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and possession of marijuana, as well as prior felony convictions for possession of cocaine and burglary. He’d spent most of his adult life in prison or jail.

Two witnesses claimed that he’d been part of a previous shooting in Limestone County, although he hadn’t been charged or convicted of it.

Threadgill’s appeal stemmed from the possibility that his lawyer’s didn’t seek felony murder instead of capital murder, and that his lawyer should have rebutted the alleged shooting that was brought up during the trial as an argument that Threadgill is a danger to society. The implication was that when he fired into the car he didn’t know McDonald was in the back seat, or that he didn’t mean to kill McDonald.

He was convicted on July 18, 2002, and sentenced on July 19 of that same year. His sentence was upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Oct. 13, 2004. A writ of habeas corpus was denied on Oct. 5, 2005. The federal court in Dallas, denied his petition for a federal writ of habeas corpus on Aug. 10, 2009. The U.S. Court of Appeals, fifth circuit, agreed with the federal court on May 12, 2011. He tried one more time, with a writ of certiorari filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1, 2011, and it was denied on Jan. 17, 2012.

Last August, Judge John Jackson, 13th District Court in Navarro County, scheduled Threadgill’s execution by lethal injection for April 16, 2013.


Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail:


Text Only
Latest News
  • 7-30-14 4-H robotics.jpg Science made simple

    Hats out of old newspaper and leftover wrapping paper, simple robots out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands and pencil erasers, a microcosm of the aquifer made of root beer and ice cream — with a dollop of chocolate syrup. These were among the fun science projects at Tuesday’s 4-H Discovery Days event at the Navarro County Youth Expo.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • County: No increase in city subsidies

    As budget talks continue at the Navarro County Courthouse, one consensus that’s been reached will impact budget planning at the Corsicana Government Center.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30-14 AthensFire.jpg Senate report finds fault with government inspection of chemical facilities

    WASHINGTON — The government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at a higher risk for a terror attack and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities, congressional investigators say.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30-14 Club-Rotary gov.jpg Club News

    News and announcements submitted by clubs and organizations throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Beat 7/30/14

    A listing of meetings and events of interest from throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — A jury has awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in his lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.

    July 29, 2014

  • Texas school trustee penalized in cheerleader case

    SAN MARCOS — A Central Texas school board has ordered a trustee to attended professional conduct training after parents and teachers said he used his position to get his daughter onto a cheerleading team.

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    WASHINGTON — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29-14 Lassiter.jpg Lassiter named new Calico director

    Brittany Watkins-Lassiter has been named the new Calico Director for Corsicana High School. Lassiter replaces Amy Tidwell, who resigned to become the dance squad coach at Sachse High School.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29-14 McManus.jpg County OKs mall lease

    The question of where many county courthouse offices would move during the three-year historical restoration of the Navarro County Courthouse was officially answered Monday.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Twitter Updates