Sunnyside Double Murder: Former Death Row Inmate Receives New Death Sentence

Lisa Valadez | 11/17/2023, 10:28 a.m.

In an announcement, District Attorney Kim Ogg revealed that Daryl Wheatfall, 57, previously sentenced to death in 1991 for the brutal killing of James and L.B. Fitzgerald, has been resentenced to death by a Harris County Jury. Despite the emotional toll of such cases, the jury, considering Wheatfall's history of violence, deemed him too great a threat, even at his age, to be removed from death row.

The 1990 double murder, investigated by the Houston Police Department, involved the killing of the Fitzgerald couple over $50. Wheatfall's retrial, lasting four weeks for individual jury selection and then four weeks of testimony and deliberation, focused on his punishment, not guilt. Wheatfall's retrial was granted due to flawed jury instructions in his initial trial.

The jury, with only two choices, opted for a death sentence, given the parole eligibility implications under the law at the time of the slayings. Wheatfall, previously eligible for parole if sentenced to life, is now considered too dangerous to be granted anything but death row.

Prosecution was led by Assistant District Attorneys Janna Oswald, Sarah Seeley, Brett Batchelor, and Savana Hooper. ADA Oswald expressed gratitude to the jury, emphasizing their diligence in a duty not taken lightly. She stressed the importance of Wheatfall's return to death row, citing his ongoing threat to both the prison population and the community at large."