Orien Cecil Joiner seems to have been a very violent, and very angry man. He was extremely abusive to his wife and child and abusive to his fellow employees at his job. On a few occasions, he threatened to hurt the people around him with his favorite knife held to their throats. He had a "desire to cut off facial features, i.e., a nose, tongue, or ear," and he wanted to "make a woman" out of one male co-worker.

So when it came time for him to die on Texas death row, his pleas of innocence fell on deaf ears.

I am just sorry for, but they will have to go through this one time again, cause sooner or later, whoever did this crime is going to be caught and they'll have to come down here and do this again and they will realize they witnessed an innocent man going to be with Jesus Christ.

Joiner had claimed he saw two black men run from his neighbor's apartment on December 17th, 1986, and yet, mud between the apartment and the fence they had supposedly jumped over contained no footprints, nor was there any blood trail leading that way. And there would have been, due to the extreme violence of what lay inside.

Photo by Kyle Mackie on Unsplash
Photo by Kyle Mackie on Unsplash

Inside the apartment was what remained of Carol Lynette Huckabee, 26, and Eva Marie DeForest, 29, two Lubbock waitresses and roommates. Whoever hurt these women had a deep hatred in his heart. Huckabee was stabbed and had her throat slashed. DeForest had been beaten and stabbed. Both women were raped "during or after" the attack.

Perhaps most unsettling, both women had many stab wounds to the face. It was dehumanizing overkill that would render them unrecognizable as individuals. Neither a crime of greed nor revenge, this clearly was a killing to satisfy a craving.

Joiner was spotted by another neighbor at these apartments, "with blood on his shirt and dripping from his hand." Joiner had claimed he punched a window to get inside the apartment to account for cuts on his hands, and that he had gotten blood on his shoes from leading a police officer into the apartment. He had been the one to call the police, after all. But after telling police conflicting stories, they arrested him only three days after the murders took place. He would subsequently be found guilty and sentenced to death. It didn't help his case that his wife had told police that he had held her captive only two days prior- abusing her horribly and threatening to kill her with that favorite knife of his.

Joiner died in the year 2000 via lethal injection. It was a busy year for executions- Joiner was the 25th out of 40 inmates to "leave" death row permanently. George W. Bush was governor and likely wanted to appear tough on crime. The strategy worked, as he was elected president the following year.

You can see one final jailhouse portrait of Joiner, supposedly at peace with God and maintaining his innocence. To me, he looks to be in a cold sweat, perhaps afraid of his impending death, perhaps afraid to finally meet that creator.

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