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Newspaper articles about Gary's execution

Killer apologizes to victim's family
Published August 21, 2002

HUNTSVILLE - A Freeport parolee who betrayed the woman who gave him a second chance by killing her daughter apologized to the family and blew kisses to his wife before his execution Tuesday.

The lethal injection ended Gary Wayne Etheridge's 12-year stint on Texas Death Row for the Feb. 2, 1990, sexual assault and murder of 15-year-old Christie Chauviere in her Tamarind Woods home near Richwood.

"To the victim's family, I'm sorry for what was taken from you; I hope you find peace," Etheridge said, looking toward the room where Christie Chauviere's sisters and uncle stood with law enforcement officials who worked the case.

Wearing a blue shirt and pants, Etheridge had needles in both arms and straps across his arms and chest. His head was freshly shaved.

He looked toward his wife, who he met and married while on Death Row.

"To my sweet Claudia, I love you, stay strong, keep building and be careful," Etheridge said. "That's it."

Lethal drugs - sodium thiopental to sedate him, the muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide to collapse his diaphragm and lungs and potassium chloride to stop his heart beat - flowed through his body at 6:13 p.m.

"I can feel it burning," Etheridge said. "I'm getting real dizzy."

Etheridge took deep breaths, like snores, gasped a few times, and then went still. A doctor pronounced him dead at 6:22 p.m.

Etheridge was the 22nd inmate to be executed in Texas this year. However, he was only the third inmate sentenced to death in Brazoria County to be executed since 1976. The last was in 1992.

On Feb. 2, 1990, Etheridge was high on cocaine and looking for more drug money when he robbed the home of his employer, Gail Chauviere. He was convicted of stabbing and sexually assaulting Christie Chauviere, leaving her to die in the hallway of her home. Gail Chauviere was stabbed more than 30 times in the attack, but survived to testify against Etheridge.

Gail Chauviere died a few years ago of liver disease she contracted through blood transfusions after the attack.

Etheridge admitted, in a Death Row interview last week, that he "cut Gail's throat and stabbed her three or four times with a little bitty knife." But he claimed someone else, who he declined to name, stabbed Christie.

Law enforcement officials have said there was no evidence of a second attacker. Eye-witnesses, fingerprints, DNA evidence and Etheridge's own confessions overwhelmingly pointed to his guilt, prosecutors said.

Christie's sisters, Cynthia Brecht and Carolyn Barrett, and her uncle, Richard Chauviere, declined comment after the execution.

In previous interviews, they have said lethal injection was too good for Etheridge. "He's getting off easy," Brecht said in June. "This will be like putting a dog to sleep. No pain or suffering like he caused."

Etheridge's wife, a German woman who he met through pen-pal correspondence but never saw without Plexiglas between them, was his only family member attending the execution. Also on Etheridge's side, a Catholic priest held a cross against the window to the death chamber.

Etheridge was pleasant when prison officials spoke with him in a holding cell at the Huntsville Unit's Death House before the execution, said Larry Fitzgerald, a prison spokesman.

He ate most of his requested last meal of nachos, french fries, a cheeseburger, a fried chicken patty and a cinnamon roll with sides of cheese, ketchup and pickles, Fitzgerald said.

Earlier Tuesday, Etheridge visited with his wife and spoke to his brother, Ellis Michael Etheridge, by phone, Fitzgerald said. Ellis Michael Etheridge is serving a 99-year sentence at another Huntsville prison for burglary of a building and injury to a child.

In his last interview, last week, Etheridge said he was ready to die and that he had been saved.

"I'm more than excited to get out of this tired, old, fat body," Etheridge said. "They can't kill the spirit."

Etheridge's body will be taken to the east Texas town of Van for cremation, Fitzgerald said. His wife plans to take his ashes home with her to Germany.

The execution proceeded after Etheridge's attorney received word the U.S. Supreme Court had declined to review his case.

Jim Marcus, who represented Etheridge for the nonprofit Texas Defender Service, had complained jurors were unable to consider Etheridge's childhood abuse and drug addiction when deciding between death and life in prison.

Etheridge had been scheduled to die at least twice before. Reprieves postponed execution dates in 2000 and in June.

By prison system statistics, Etheridge was an average inmate.

His time at almost 12 years on Death Row is just above the 10.6 year average length of stay. He was 38, just below the average age of 39 for executed offenders.

But his crime stood out in Brazoria County as one of the worst even experienced lawmen can remember. The bloody scene told of a massive struggle.

Gail Chauviere had helped Etheridge, keeping him on as a maintenance worker at condominiums she owned in Surfside Beach after discovering he was on parole for stabbing an inmate while both were in prison.

Etheridge had served less than half of his 10-year sentence when he was paroled in January 1990.

Some in law enforcement have said Etheridge's release was symptomatic of a dark time in Texas justice, when some inmates were released quickly to make room in prison for the most violent offenders.

"That was during a period in our criminal justice system where we had a revolving door going on," said Sweeny Police Chief Gary Stroud, who worked the case for the Brazoria County Sheriff's Department and was present at the execution. "I'm not sure he should have been walking around anywhere."

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials in Brazoria County expressed relief but not joy.

"The cycle of the justice system in this particular case has been completed," said Chief Deputy Charles Wagner of the Brazoria County Sheriff's Department. "There's not a feeling of satisfaction. There's a feeling that it's finally all over with."

(source: The Facts)

Killer of 15-year-old girl is executed
Published August 21, 2002

HUNTSVILLE - An apologetic Gary Wayne Etheridge was executed Tuesday evening for the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old girl more than a dozen years ago while the then-paroled burglar said he was high on drugs.

In a brief final statement, he apologized to the girl's relatives and expressed love to his wife, who watched through a window a few feet away.

"I'm sorry for what was taken from you", he told two sisters and an uncle of his victim, Christie Chauviere. "I hope you find peace."

Then he looked out another window at his wife and urged her to "stay strong, keep building and be careful. I love you."

As the drugs began flowing into his heavily tattooed arms, he added that he hoped "there's closure for the victim's family and everybody. I feel it burning. Getting real dizzy."

Then he gasped several times and sputtered before he stopped breathing.

He was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m., nine minutes after the drugs began flowing.

Etheridge, 38, acknowledged knifing the girl's mother, who hired him as a maintenance worker despite knowing his criminal past, but said he wasn't responsible for killing the teenager at her Brazoria County home on Feb. 2, 1990.

Etheridge was the 22nd Texas inmate put to death this year and the fourth this month. Last year, 17 prisoners were executed in Texas. A record 40 were put to death in 2000.

"I've been a criminal all my life," Etheridge said earlier from death row. "I was there. I done wrong and I feel responsible, but I did not kill the girl."

The U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, refused Tuesday to stop the punishment. His attorneys had argued in appeals that earlier lawyers did not provide him competent help.

It was the second time in recent months the former maintenance man prepared for death.

A day before Etheridge was scheduled to die in June, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted the punishment after his attorneys complained the judge who signed his death warrant once called him "a piece of trash" and was biased against Etheridge.

A new judge was assigned to his case and reset the execution date for Tuesday.

Etheridge, with a history of theft and burglary convictions, was on parole for about six weeks after serving part of a 10-year term for burglary when he showed up at the home of Gail Chauviere.

Chauviere had given him a job at a condominium she managed near Surfside, about 60 miles south of Houston. Etheridge said he demanded money "to fill a hole for drugs" and he knew the woman carried in a bag some cash received from tenants.

When Chauviere resisted, she was stabbed. Her daughter also was assaulted and fatally stabbed with a knife.

"I never intended to hurt everyone," Etheridge said. "I cut and stabbed Gail with a little bitty pocket knife."

Etheridge, who started using cocaine at age 17, said he probably was high on drugs at the time and she fought as he tried to put the woman in a closet.

"She kicked me and it hurt," he said.

Etheridge drove off in the woman's car. A neighbor found Chauviere, seriously wounded with at least 30 stab wounds, and her daughter. The girl had been bound with a telephone cord and fatally stabbed several times in the chest. The high school freshman also had been sexually abused with an object.

Five days later, after wrecking the car in Mobile, Ala., Etheridge was arrested while hitchhiking south of Houston. He told police he was heading back to Brazoria County to turn himself in, apologized to the arresting officer for killing the girl and gave a written statement that he committed the murder.

In a death row interview, Etheridge blamed the slaying on a companion. At his trial, however, Gail Chauviere identified him as the lone attacker.

(source: Houston Cronicle)

Killer apologizes to victim's family
Published August 21, 2002

HUNTSVILLE - An apologetic Gary Wayne Etheridge was executed Tuesday for fatally stabbing a 15-year-old girl in 1990.

In a final statement, he apologized and expressed love to his wife, who watched through a window a few feet away. "I'm sorry for what was taken from you," he told two sisters and an uncle of his victim, Christie Chauviere. "I hope you find peace."

Mr. Etheridge, 38, was a maintenance worker at a condominium near Surfside, about 60 miles south of Houston, that was managed by Gail Chauviere. Prosecutors said he stabbed Gail Chauviere at least 30 times and then tied up, sexually assaulted and fatally stabbed her daughter. Gail Chauviere survived.

Mr. Etheridge said he probably was high on drugs at the time. When arrested five days later, he confessed to the killing, but he later said he wasn't responsible.

A day before Mr. Etheridge was scheduled to die in June, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted the punishment after his attorneys complained that the judge who signed his death warrant once called him "a piece of trash." A new judge reset the execution date.

(source: The Dallas Morning News)

Man executed for girl's 1990 murder
In a final statement, he addresses wife and victim's family
Published August 21, 2002

HUNTSVILLE - Gary Wayne Etheridge, convicted in 1990 for the rape and stabbing death of a 15-year-old Brazoria County girl, was executed Tuesday evening in the death chamber of the Huntsville "Walls" Unit. During a brief final statement, Etheridge expressed remorse for the death of Christie Chauviere but did not admit to committing the crime.

"To the victim's family. I'm sorry for what was taken from you," he said, addressing Chauviere's two sisters and her uncle. "I hope you have peace."

Etheridge then turned and smiled at his wife Claudia Etheridge, who put her hand on the plexiglass divider between the viewing room and the death chamber.

"To my sweet Claudia. I love you," he said. "Stay strong, keep building and be careful."

After indicating he had completed his statement, Etheridge then began speaking again.

"I hope there's closure for the victim's family and everybody. That's about it," he said.

As the fatal dose of chemicals was applied at 6:13 p.m., Etheridge - clad in a blue dress shirt instead of regular prison whites - described the sensations he was feeling.

"I can feel it burning", he said. "I'm getting really dizzy."

He then gasped and sputtered audibly as he lost consciousness. Claudia Etheridge leaned her head against a nearby wall and cried softly as her husband's sentence was carried out.

He was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m.

Etheridge was sentenced to death after being found guilty of killing Christie Chauviere on the night of Feb. 2, 1990. Etheridge, who worked for Chauviere's mother at a nearby condominium, had come to the house to steal the money Gail Chauviere normally brought home from her place of work so he could buy drugs.

According to Gail Chauviere's testimony during Etheridge's trial, she returned home to find Etheridge's car in her driveway and Etheridge sitting on her couch. Etheridge demanded money, which Gail Chauviere said she would give to him if he did not harm her or her daughter. Instead, Etheridge attacked Gail Chauviere with a knife, stabbing her more than 30 times before she lost consciousness. He then turned his attention to Christie Chauviere, who he raped before stabbing her to death.

While Gail Chauviere survived the attack and provided the most damning testimony at Etheridge's trial, she died three years ago from a liver disease she contracted during emergency blood transfusions after the attack.

Etheridge was able to flee the crime scene and made it as far as Mobile, Ala., before turning around and coming back to Texas. He was arrested by an off-duty Houston police officer as he was hitch-hiking five days later.

In his initial statements made after his arrest, Etheridge admitting to Christie Chauviere's murder.

"Yes, I know I'm under arrest for killing that 15-year-old girl," he told the officer who took him into custody. In a statement taken a day later, Etheridge again said, "I killed a girl."

In recent years, Etheridge changed his story, admitting he was present at the murder, planned the robbery and attacked Gail Chauviere (but said reports of her injuries were overblown). A Web site run by his wife - a German woman who became his pen pal after his conviction - also protests his innocence.

Claudia Etheridge told The Brazosport Facts in a recent interview that her husband's brother, Ellis Michael Etheridge - who is serving a 99-year prison term for injury to a child - was the real killer after requesting payment for the information. Neither Etheridge or his wife offered a rebuttal to Gail Chauviere's testimony which said he acted alone.

Etheridge's body was scheduled to be transported to Van, near Tyler, for cremation. His wife will then take his ashes with her back to Germany.

(source: The Huntsville Item)

Of course I did not agree with one of these articles since Gary did not kill the girl but I was annoyed the most from The Huntsville Item article. They blamed me for asking The Facts for money for an interview, but they did not include my reasons. Here's the little conversation between the Item reporter and me.

From Claudia

For immediate release as correction

I am the wife of Gary Etheridge who was killed by the State of Texas on August 20 and I disagree with plenty of things in your article.

Gladly you wrote that Gary expressed remorse but did not admit to committing the crime, because most newspapers wrote that he has apologized which he DID NOT DO. Being sorry for a thing is not apologizing or admitting at all as most wrote in their papers. Gary was sorry for what happened 12 years ago because it was his idea to go to the Chauviere home. Anyway, there are a few things in your article I strongly disagree with:

I don't know who gave you the information about testimonies and the crime, but they are WRONG and I'm so tired to read the same shit over and over. No reporter obviously ever took the time or did the effort to read the original trial files because there you could read with your own eyes that the things you are filled with maybe from the prison or the courts are not correct.

1. Yes, Gary unfortunately stabbed Gail Chauviere. A crime he never denied, but strangly he never was tried for, because in Brazoria they rather were eagerly busy to give him a death sentence for a thing he did not do, than to try him for what he actually did.

2. No, Gary did not turn around after he stabbed Gail, to rape and stab Christie Chauviere. Christie Chauviere was not raped at all. In the autopsy report you can read, that this girl was never raped in her life. The report says that she still was a virgin and there was no semen at all. She had a cut from a knife on her vagina as well as on other parts of her body, but there was no rape from a human being.

3. Gary was at the crime scene and stabbed Gail with a small pocket knife in one room, while his brother Michael attacked Christie in another room with a large knife. There are 3 rooms between the two different locations and both victims were bleeding very much. There was no blood found between the victims and it is not possible at all that one single man stab two women at the same time with two different knives, going from one room into the other, without leaving a blood trial between the victims. I am no investigator but to me this alone is proof enough that Gary was not alone. Even pictures of the crime scene showed that the victims were found in two different rooms far away from each other. Gary even did not know that Christie was dead when they left the house, because it happened in a different room. I never in my life will understand how a prosecutor can convince a jury that both stabbings happened in the same room when at the same time they see with their own eyes pictures taken at the crime scene and they show something different. How can you believe the words of someone who was not there more than the pictures taken at the crime scene ? And which killer would run between the victims in one room (if it would have happened in the same room) changing knives for each attack ?

4. No, Gary did not confess to Paul Day, the officer from the SWAT team who arrested him. You yourself print that Gary said "Yes, I know, I'm under arrest for killing that 15-year-old-girl". This is no confession at all. Gary was asked if he knows why he's under arrest and he simply said "Yes, I know, I'm under arrest for killing that 15-year-old-girl". If you would ask me if I know why he was under arrest for and I would say "Yes, I know, he's under arrest for killing that 15-year-old-girl" would that make me a suspect as well ?

5. Yes, Gary first signed a written statement, but he did so (and this also is no new procedure, we all know that such things happens), Gary first signed a statement because he was beaten by police officers and because there was the deal that after signing a statement, they would release his (then) wife Teresa from jail and get his baby back home (his baby Brittany was in custody and since Gary always was a caring man he rather signed a statement, because he wanted to know his then wife and the baby back home safely rather than in jail and custody).

6. Yes, I told "The Facts" that Gary's brother Ellis Michael Etheridge is Christie's killer and this is what Gary tried to explain to the courts and judges and lawyers since 1996 and a simple DNA test of the blood drop that was found on the victims shirt easily and still today could proof this. It was not my idea to suddenly blame Michael a few weeks or months before Gary's killing. Gary tried to tell the truth already years ago, but no one was listening. Texas is worldwide famous for rather killing an innocent man than to admit that they have cheated a convinct in court and that they did wrong.

7. Michael is not serving a life sentence for "injury to a child", but for killing his own baby on September 15, 1992, one and a half years after he killed Christie Chauviere.

8. In the meantime I talked to childhood friends of Gary who knew Michael as well and they told me that Michael always was the violent one, for example he had a prior conviction for sexually assaulting a 13 year old boy. Can't you see it ? Michael was violent, already sexually assaulted a teenager, he killed his own baby. Sure, Gary was no saint, he was a petty criminal, but Gary only was in prison for burglary, DWI and stealing a car. Not very violent crimes as to my knowledge and such a non violent guy suddenly allegedly rape and stab a girl to death ? Not very likely.

9. This said Michael wrote a letter to me when he heard about Gary's execution date, telling me that he's very worried, that Gary will blame him in his final statement and this could hurt his own parole. I mean ... if Michael would not be the killer ... If I would be him, not being Christie's killer ... I would sit back in my cell, very relaxed, not caring about, what my brother will say in his final statement or not. You only can worry about this when you are the killer.

10. This said brother Michael even was so dare to call Gary when he already was in the death house in Huntsville and I asked Gary what the hell Michael wanted from him and Gary said ... "I have no idea at all, but it appeared to me that he's very worried about his parole".

11. Regarding the payment I asked "The Facts" for the information. First, I am very surprised that "The Facts" did forward such informations to other media members. Anyway, it is true and you surely can mention this in your article, if you think that it's of any interest for your readers, but I would prefer you to include the entire information. I never had plans to sell my story, or Gary's story, or sell the information about Michael. I myself worked for the biggest and most popular daily newspaper here in Munich/Germany and in Germany it is common and pretty normal that we pay a fee for certain informations and even for interviews. So in my eyes my request was not inproper and I told Yvonne Mintz that I don't ask for money to "make money" out of the story. I asked her because I was without a job at the time I asked her and I simply did not know anymore how to pay all the expenses to go to Texas to be there for Gary. The only reason why I ever asked "The Facts" for money was, because I did not know anymore how to pay a ticket, a rental car and a motel room, but gladly some friends of Gary and mine sent me some money and in this way I could be there for Gary in his final days which was extremely important for both of us. In the way you wrote in your article, that I was requesting payment for the information, it appears that I want to get money out of Gary's tragic situation which never was true. Period.

12. As I said earlier, I have no idea at all, from where you got your information, but I suggest you to read Gary's trial files and in there you will find that I did not put one single thing on the website that is not true. Gail Chauviere never ever testified that Gary acted alone. Mrs. Chauviere did not talk frankly about the crime, she only answered to the questions she was asked and she never was asked if there was a second person at the crime scene. I wonder why ? Would she have said that Gary was not alone ? The questions Mrs. Chauviere were asked were: "Did Gary rob you" and she answered "Yes". Second question was "Did Gary stab you" and she answered "Yes". Third question was "Did you see that Gary touched or stabbed Christie at any time" and Mrs. Gail Chauviere's answer was "NO !"

Gary told me from the beginning, already in his first letter, that he was at the crime scene together with his brother Michael and that in the beginning he protected him, because he felt that it was his fault that Christie was killed. Gary felt so tremendously sorry for what happened because it was his idea to drive them to the Chauviere home. He always wanted to be an ideal for his younger brother (7 years younger) and in protecting Michael he wanted to take responsibility for what happened.

Now, when Gary is dead I found a piece of paper among his belongings ... Gary told me so often that the court has cheated him from the very first moment and this is so true. There is a form, signed by Gary Stroud (investigator and eagerly eyewitness of Gary's killing) on February 2nd, 1990 (the day the crime happened). They found Gary's car in Gail Chauviere's drive way and this was the only reason why they instantly were after him, but they only caught Gary on February 7th, 1990 (five days later !!!) I mean ... it even would have been possible that someone have stolen the car and Gary was not at the crime scene at all. They did not know anything about him or if he was there unless they talked to him and the form from February 2nd, 1990 already says "... that Gary Etheridge did then and there intentionally cause the death of an individual, Christie Chauviere, by stabbing her with a knife ..." What the hell is this? They did not talk to Gary at all, but already said that he killed the girl "intentionally". They have cheated him from the very beginning and it's such a shame that people still think, that Gary received a fair trial.

And here's what Mr. Greg Donnell, one of Gary's defense attorneys of the actual trial signed on November 11, 1998: "From day one, Gary insisted he did not kill Christie Chauviere. He gave us the name of another person, but I believe it was a fictious name to cover for the other person who was really there. I believe Gary was trying to protect someone, but I do not know who that person is. Gary never told us the one who killed Christie Chauviere was his brother Michael Etheridge. I believed, then and now, that another person was involved because the evidence of physical resistance was such that it would have taken a second person to struggle with the two victims; the locations where the victims were found were so separated that it is very unlikely that only one person was there; and a neighbor of the Chauvieres who later testified at trial told the police that the driver of the car leaving the Chauverie house was blonde headed. Gary was not blonde headed at the time of the offense, and is not blonde headed now, but his brother was."

It's pretty sad, that the jury never heard that "then and now" the defense lawyer believed that Gary was not alone at the scene. It will not bring back my Gary but I hope that one day the world will know that Gary Etheridge did not kill and never touched this little girl Christie Chauviere. Gary was straight with the Lord and Gary knew that he will be saved by the Lord's hand, but are they ? All the people, who helped Gary getting a death sentence ? Most of all the judge who hated Gary from childhood on. The prosecutor, the defense lawyers, the jury, all the judges at the CCA and the Supreme Court who were not willing to re-view Gary's case, the Parole Board members and the governor who decided that Gary has to die, just like that ... but never knowing anything about his case. Did a man receive a fair trial when in Brazoria they already decided that Gary "intentionally" killed the girl before they even arrested him and ever spoke to him ? There is no justice in your country and I hope that all the people who helped to kill my Gary will get their penalty sooner or later as well. They will stand in front of the Lord one day as well and then they need to explain their sick and cruel and violent actions. Yes, Gary was a petty criminal, but none of his small crimes warrent the death penalty. Yes, he did wrong in his life plenty, did lots of wrong decisions, but he did so because he was a very devasted and desperate child. He had a terrible childhood, but the jury even never heard one word about Gary's horrible upbringing. They did not hear any mitigating circumstances at all, they only were told that he already commited a few crimes before.

Gary did not take drugs because he was so happy in life. He did so to fill a hole and because he never was taught how to resolve problems. While in prison Gary finally became the good man he always wanted to be, but nobody ever before gave him the chance to be the good man he always wanted to be. Gary was no bad person, he only never had no one who believed in him and after he was treaten like trash for years by his family, ex-wife and friends, he finally acted like trash and committed a few small crimes. The only problem why Gary Etheridge became a petty criminal was, that nobody ever believed in him and that he never was taught how to live a quite normal good life. Gary had a terrible life and it is a shame that he never got any help from anyone and that your state, your country allowed his sad life to end in this way. But as Gary said in a recent interview ... they can kill his body, but not his spirit. I know that Gary now is at peace and that he arrived in heaven, which is paradise and exactly what he deserves. Gary was much better than them, because he had a heart of gold. Yes, he was on the other side of the bars for long years, but he was a much better person than most of them who brought him to prison and never gave him a chance to rehabilitate. The people who helped Gary getting a death sentence ? They are not at peace and with Gary's senseless killing nothing is resolved at all. It did not resolve the problem. How could it ? If Gary's killing would be of any deterrence then the entire police of Brazoria is without a job now, because no further crime ever will happen again. Did it bring back the victim ? Not to my knowledge. I did not hear that Christie came back and is living safe and happily together with her family again. She was not re-born in the moment Gary gave his life for a crime he even did not commit. And the victims family ? Gary was so hoping that the victims family will find closure, although he did not kill the girl, but I do not hope so. I know that there was a life taken from them as well, but what kind of people would they be if the senseless killing of my Gary would cheer them up. I hope that they are better than that. How can they be satisfied or happy now, where another life is taken, where another mother cries, where two innocent little girls (12 and 13 years old) need to grow up without their daddy ? How can they find something like "closure" ? What exactly is closure ? Gary's killing will not bring back the victim, so how could it ever ease their pain ? I fear that sooner or later the victims family will find out that nothing has changed in their life ... that there is no closure at all, because they still will miss their loved ones terribly.

Claudia Etheridge

From The Huntsville Item

Ms. Etheridge:

I am sorry you feel that way about the story written in our paper on August 21. However, I feel the evidence against Mr. Etheridge was more than sufficient to merit his sentence. I apologize if you feel differently.

For future reference, any American reporter with an ounce of integrity will not pay for interviews. In the mind of Ms. Mintz and those who heard of your request, that was considered a request for a bribe and a heartless and appalling move on your behalf. We would have thought you would have put the needs of the man you swore to love honor and cherish ahead of those of your own. Perhaps the lack of such a request would have evoked more sympathy to Mr. Etheridge's case.

The Huntsville Item will stand by its story.
Mark Passwaters

From Claudia

Asking for a fee (which is a common procedure in Germany), even by explaining that it only is for paying travel expenses even in sick eyes never can be any form of "bribe". This is a very big accusation and be sure that I am no naive girl. I am still in touch with the newspaper I once was working for and they are in touch with US attorneys and I never will allow you or others to accuse me of making a request of bribe. My reasons always were honest and sincere and my only intent was being there for Gary and I never did anything else in the past 2 years.

I can't believe that you as a reporter show so less consideration and feel that "evidence against Mr. Etheridge was more than sufficient to merit his sentence". What kind of evidence ? There was no evidence against Gary at all ! No DNA, no finderprints, no so called testimoney of Gail Chauviere that he was the only attacker at the crime scene. Nothing at all and if you rather believe what you maybe "heard" about Gary's case on the street I gladly will send you copies of the autopsy report and of Gary's trial files and you can read with your own eyes that there was no evidence against him at all. Your country really makes me sick. How is it possible that allegedly intelligent person as I assume reporters should be, rather close their eyes from the truth and from the facts. You report about a new killing, about a new execution, about a new death sentence carried out weekly. That's nothing new and this for you even don't need to be very good in your job, because each story seems to be the same. It must be a very boring job for you to write about the same procedure again and again. If you would take your job seriously and would be honestly interested in truth and justice, then it would be a challenge for you to find out the truth about Gary's crime. But this for all of you are too lazy. You rather kill an innocent man before you move your asses and before you would develop how innocent and poor people get cheated from the courts. Your nation is really a bunch of cowards, but as I said, you also will face God one day sooner or later and you need to take responsibility for your actions as well.

I truly had a big laugh when I got your response. Perhaps the lack of such a request would have evoked more sympathy to Mr. Etheridge's case ? Ain't you feeling foolish telling me such bullshit ? People like you already had an opinion about "Mr. Etheridge's case" long before I came in the picture and for your better understanding I gladly repeat my request because I still stand to my request. When I asked Mrs. Mintz I did so because this is common procedure in Germany and I explained that I don't want to make money out of Gary's life or case, it's just because I had to travel back and forwards, I was without a job at that time and did not know anymore how to pay for all the travel expenses. This never can be taken as a "bribe" or "heartless" or an "appalling move on my behalf". It is impertintent to call anything I did for Gary "an appalling move on my behalf" because I never ever did anything to harm him or without his approval.

Btw ... since no media was present at our wedding I wonder how you think to know what I have sworn to Gary ... if I swore to love, honor and cherish him is nothing but our private business and I never ever did anything to harm Gary, to make him feel bad, to let him look bad and if you today after his cruel and senseless killing try to tell me that you would have evoked more sympathy to Gary's case without my request for a small fee you yourself know that this is a lie, because nobody ever had any other feelings but spiteful hate for Gary, no matter when I came in the picture.

Claudia Etheridge

PS Mister Passwaters

Even if this stupid "Perhaps the lack of such a request would have evoked more sympathy to Mr. Etheridge's case" would be even close to be true ... since when can you hold a thing one person does (me) against another person (Gary)

From The Huntsville Item

Ms. Schweiger-Etheridge:

I suppose you can read whatever you want into what I wrote. If that is what you have decided I wrote, so be it. I have no interest in arguing the point with you. I know people felt your request for money was disgusting and appalling. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you take it up with them. I mentioned your request for money in my story, but it had no bearing on the treatment Mr. Etheridge received in my story. I consider our communication at an end.

From Claudia

If you consider our communication at an end, then simply don't answer anymore, but you even can't make up your mind if you "would have evoked more sympathy to Gary's case" without my request for money or "if it had no bearing on the treatment". Anyway, I do not care if people who neither know me nor my reasons think that the request for money was disgusting and appalling. While talking about the death penalty, about state sanctioned KILLING it is very funny that you feel that a money request is more "disgusting" or "appalling" than killing a healthy living human person. Did someone cut your heart out of your chest straight after you was born or how is it possible that people like you neither have a heart nor a conscience ? Well, gladly Gary appreciated everything I ever did for him in his life and he never thought that anything I ever did for him could be "disgusting" or "appalling". Gary knew me better than that and gladly I know him better than all the hateful people like you ever made the effort to know him and because of this I know that he was much better than people like you, because he was human and he had a heart. (With this note I included an e-mail from the CCADP where they told me that they already got a fee from reporters for an interview - paying money for a certain information or for an interview is a common procedure in the US as well.)

From The Huntsville Item


If you cannot keep personal communication private, you merely fuel the fire for those who would believe that you are a political opportunist who used a needy man in a terrible situation of his own making for your own advantage.

I really had no opinion on the matter before you started badgering me. I may have one now.

We are not in the business of "having a soul." We are in the business of imparting information. I am truly sorry you cannot differentiate between the two.

From Claudia

I did not know that our conversation is "private" since you are a reporter and since you wrote about me, even mentioning my full name which I did not agree with, but don't worry about this, my lawyer in the US already is checking if you were allowed to print my name since I am no "VIP", but a very private person.

When I have some time left I try to think about what part in Gary's sad life, terrible situation and finally in his execution exactly is "my own advantage" since I lost my beloved Gary, since I don't know how to live without him, since I am heartbroken and financially ruined now, so at the moment I don't exactly see my own advantage and oh, I did not know that you are able to leave your heart and soul in front of your office door. Believe me, I can differentiate between more things you even are able to imagine.

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