Duane Buck removed from death row, sentenced to two 60-year terms

HOUSTON—Death row inmate Duane Buck was removed from death row Tuesday and sentenced to two 60 year terms. Each term will run concurrent with a life sentence for capital murder.

Buck, 54, was convicted of murdering Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler, and attempting to murder Phyllis Taylor and Harold Ebenezer during a July, 30, 1995 attack at a family home.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg addressed the new ruling and confirmed that Bucks original court hearing allowed race to play a factor in his sentencing. According to Ogg, Buck’s lawyer improperly allowed the jury to consider Buck’s race before giving him the death penalty during his 1997 trial.

“The facts of Duane Buck’s heinous crimes are not in dispute. He was a habitual felon who, in a fit of rage, murdered two people and tried to murder two more,” Ogg said. “There is no apology or good will or good time that can substitute for the justice of spending his life behind bars in payment for lives he took. However, this case can accomplish something. It can close a chapter in the history of our courts, in that they will never again hear that race is relevant to criminal justice or to the determination of

Buck will be eligible for parole in 2035 and will face the parole board with prior convictions for capital murder, two counts of attempted murder, delivery of cocaine and possession of cocaine.

“While his legal case ends today Buck also leaves behind a trail of misery and heartbreak for his victims,” Ogg said. “The Harris County District Attorney’s Office will do everything within its power to make certain that Duane Buck is never allowed to walk amongst free society for as long as he shall live.”