Gary Green, a 51-year-old man convicted in 2010 for the capital murders of his wife and her daughter, was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday night in Texas.
Green was found guilty in the stabbing death of his estranged wife, Lovetta Armstead, and the drowning death of her 6-year-old daughter, Jazzmen Montgomery, on September 21, 2009, at their home in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas.
According to documents from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Green checked himself in to a mental hospital about a month before the murders. He was diagnosed with major depressive disorder with psychotic features and prescribed a schizophrenia medication.
“The hospital determined that Green did not need to be committed and discharged him. Two days later, a different doctor diagnosed Greene with bipolar disorder in an outpatient setting,” the court document stated.
About a week before the murders, Green learned that Armstead was trying to get their marriage annulled. On the day of the crime, Armstead wrote two separate notes to Green. One said she loved him but needed to part ways “to do what was best for her,” the court documents state. The second note said that Green was to move out of their home immediately.
Green responded in anger and disbelief. He thought “Armstead and her children were involved in a plot against him,” the court documents stated.
“The note stated that Green planned to take five lives, including his own. Green then fatally stabbed Armstead and drowned Montgomery in a bathtub,” according to the documents.
A lethal injection table at Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville. Gary Green died Tuesday by lethal injection for the murders of his wife and her daughter in 2009. Greg Smith/Corbis/Getty
Green then went after Armstead’s two sons, who both pleaded with Green to spare their lives, which he did. Green told the boys he killed their mother and sister because he didn’t want to get a divorce. He then told them he intended to kill himself, which he attempted by taking massive amounts of Tylenol and Benadryl.
The attempt was unsuccessful and he eventually turned himself in to police, where he confessed to the murders.
“During the confession, Green told police that he had heard voices in his head telling him to kill Armstead and her children, that he believed the family was plotting against him, and that he thought by killing the family he would ensure that they would all be reunited in heaven,” the court documents read.
The note he wrote to Armstead was presented to a jury, as well as a video of his confession. During closing arguments, one of Green’s attorneys told the jury that his team expected jurors to find Green guilty, and that proof presented by the state was “undeniable.”
During the punishment phase of the trial, the state provided multiple examples of violent behavior toward girlfriends and female acquaintances in Green’s past. The state also said Green was intellectually challenged, with an IQ “of only 78 or 79.”
The jury found “a probability that the Defendant, Gary Green, would commit future criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society” and that “taking into consideration all of the evidence, including the circumstances of the offense, the Defendant’s character and background, and the personal moral culpability of the Defendant, Gary Green, [there was not] a sufficient mitigating circumstance or circumstances to warrant that a sentence of life imprisonment rather than a death sentence be imposed.”
Green died at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, at 7:07 p.m. local time Tuesday. The execution came after several appeals were denied.
He issued a final written statement before his death, supplied to Newsweek from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
“Vetta, Jared, Ray I’m sorry, no I’m not sorry, I apologize for all the harm I have caused you and your family. We ate together, we broke bread together, we laughed and cried together as a family. I’m sorry I failed you, there’s nothing I can do. I’m not just saying that because I’m laying on this gurney. We were all one and I broke that bond right or wrong I took not one, but two people that we all loved, and I had to live with that while I was here. I ask that you forgive me, not for me but for y’all. I’m fixing to go home and y’all are going to be here. I want to make sure you don’t suffer. You have to forgive me to heal and move on. Sorry JT, I always loved you and I told you I will never say goodbye, but this is goodbye. There’s nothing I can do to bring your mom and sister back. One thing about the man I used to be, is that I never stopped loving y’all. See y’all on the other side. God bless you. I’m Done Warden.”
Gary Green became the fourth Texas prisoner put to death this year. Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Green went through the appeals process, claiming he was mentally unstable and that he shouldn’t be put to death. All pleas were denied.
Green is the fourth person put to death in 2023 by the TDCJ, and the first of two scheduled for this week. Arthur Brown Jr., 52, is scheduled for lethal injection on Thursday for the 1992 execution-style murders of four people inside a Houston residence.
Another execution at the Huntsville penitentiary is scheduled March 29 for Anibal Canales Jr., 58, for killing another inmate in his cell in 1997 at the Telford Unit in Bowie County. There are two more executions scheduled in Huntsville next month.