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Carolyn Lima Sentencing Hearing (1964)

KPRC-TV

Sound | 1964

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  •  Defense attorney Clyde Woody argues before the judge to count the three years Carolyn Lima already served in prison towards her five-year sentence 
  •  Assistant District Attorney Neil McKay opposes the motion. McKay later served as a judge on the Harris County Criminal Court of Law #5 from 1974 to 1986.   
  •  Criminal District Judge Miron A. Love passes his sentence 
 
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This footage from Houston’s KPRC-TV captures the sentencing hearing for Carolyn Lima on March 10, 1964, following her conviction of murder without malice. In an edited segment, reporter Lee Tucker recounts the opposing arguments presented in the hearing and its eventual outcome. Unedited footage of the court proceedings follows. Lima was convicted in 1961 for the fatal shooting of Houston realtor Fred Tones and sentenced to execution. Lima’s partner, Leslie Elaine Perez (a transgender woman then known as Leslie Douglas Ashley) was also convicted and sentenced to death. Lima would have been the first woman legally executed in Texas in nearly 100 years. Federal Circuit Judge John R. Brown issued stays of execution for Lima and Perez on March 29, four hours before they were scheduled to die. In 1963, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the prosecution had suppressed evidence favorable to Lima and Perez, and ordered new trials for both. Lima’s second trial took place from February 17 to 28, 1964. Following their second trials, Lima was sentenced to five years in prison, and Perez was declared insane and sent to a state mental hospital in San Antonio. Perez escaped, spending six months on the run before being discovered working as a clown for a traveling carnival. Perez was tried again for Tones’ murder and sentenced to 15 years, serving five.