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DeGarmo Changes Mind And Seeks Stay; Bass Turned Down

March 11, 1986

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A convicted killer who demanded the state set an execution date and then offered to let the highest bidders witness his death filed a request for a stay Monday as a ″gift to his family,″ his lawyer said.

Roger DeGarmo, a 31-year-old drifter from California, had asked that no efforts be made to stop his execution by injection, scheduled for early Wednesday.

But after visiting with relatives, DeGarmo decided Saturday night to seek a reprieve, said lawyer Greg Gladden.

″It’s a gift to his family. He still believes it will cause him more pain and sacrifice and punishment worse than death. But he was willing to go along with the program for them,″ Gladden said. ″He apologized for the inconvenience in the timing.″

The request for a stay was filed with State District Judge Charles Dickerson in Richmond and with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.

DeGarmo, one of 225 men on death row in the state, was sentenced to death for the abduction and slaying of Kimberly Ann Strickler, a Houston hematologist.

Ms. Strickler, 20, was shot to death Jan. 8, 1979, in the trunk of her car after being abducted from the parking lot of a shopping center.

DeGarmo gained nationwide attention when he offered to auction three of the five witnesses a convict is allowed in the death chamber. He also promised to provide play-by-play commentary for those watching him die.

DeGarmo said seven people bid - two of them at $1,500 each - but he refused to identify the people. The money would be divided between DeGarmo’s family and the family of the victim.

″The death penalty has become such a zoo - why not make money off it? Everybody else does,″ DeGarmo said in a recent interview.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge John Singleton refused to block the execution of Charles Bass, who also is scheduled to be put to death early Wednesday.

Bass, 29, was convicted of the 1979 slaying of a Houston City Marshal Charles Henry Baker.

His lawyers have appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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