The United States Supreme Court recently refused to hear the appeal of a woman on the Texas Death Row.
Suzanne Basso, 56, was convicted of capital murder for being involved in the torture and murder of Louis Musso, 59.
According to testimony during the jury trial in Texas, Musso suffered incredible torture during the last days of his life. Court records indicate he was bathed in a solution of bleach and pine cleaner. He was also scrubbed with a wire brush. Evidence indicated his killers were probably giving Musso this kind of “bath” when he died.
Further evidence revealed that on the morning of August 28, 1999, Musso’s body was found dumped near a roadway in Galena Park. The medical examiner determined an extraordinary number of injuries to Musso’s body and was unable to count the hundreds of bruises that covered Musso from head to toe. Musso’s blackened eyes resulted from a “hinge fracture” to his skull, which the M.E. determined was caused by a blow to the back of the head. He sustained broken bones in his nose, ribs and throat.
Marks on his back could have been caused either by cigarette burns or a hot poker.
His back showed signs of having been whipped.
The cause of death was believed to have been a skull fracture from an unknown object which left a large, X-shaped laceration in Musso’s scalp.
Basso is one of ten women on Texas Death Row.
Prosecutors accused her of being the ringleader of a group of six who allegedly tortured Musso over a long period of time before murdering him in a Houston suburb house.
Evidence further showed that in July of 1998, Basso unsuccessfully attempted to designate herself as Musso’s representative payee of his Social Security benefits.
Al Becker, who was Musso’s representative payee and friend of 20 years, began having difficulty contacting the victim. After Musso moved in with Basso, she allegedly refused to allow Becker to talk with his friend over the phone.
Police found a will following Musso’s vicious murder which allegedly left all his property to Basso.
Basso allegedly lured Musso from family and friends in New Jersey to Texas with promises of marriage.
Basso admitted in a statement that she drove the car with Musso’s body in it to where it was dumped.
Defense attorneys had argued on appeal that his trial attorneys had not presented an expert witness during her jury trial to discuss her background. Her attorneys also complained about the jury instructions on appeal.
The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to refuse to hear her appeal, opens the door for Texas prosecutors to request an execution date Basso.
Wichita Falls prosecutors have successfully prosecuted several death penalty cases in recent years. One Wichita Falls attorney said he believed Basso had exhausted her appeals, although appellate attorneys frequently wait until minutes before actual executions to file motions.
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