[UPDATE: Harris was granted a stay of execution. An appeal will decide whether the jury selection process in his trial violated the Equal Protection Clause]

On a January afternoon in 2012, an elderly Angleton, Texas man was stabbed several times by someone he knew.

Alton Wilcox, 85, had a knife driven through the left ventricle of his heart. A surgeon attempted to repair the wound, but previous scar tissue from an open heart surgery caused the right ventricle to tear. Wilcox would have died without surgical intervention, but the surgery ultimately killed him.

Wilcox knew James Harris Jr., who did lawn work for him. Harris asked Wilcox to borrow some money. Harris gave him some, but it wasn't enough. Harris flew into a rage, stabbing Wilcox to death, also severely injuring Mrs. Wilcox, 69, who fortunately survived the attack.
getty images/ texas dept corrections
getty images/ texas dept corrections

READ MORE: Texas Death Row: A Look At The Life And Crimes of Every Inmate Executed in 2023

Convicting Harris of the murder wasn't challenging, given the circumstances of his apprehension by police.

Police found the [Wilcox's] stolen vehicle and Harris at motel on the south side of town. Worfe said Harris, who was questioned by investigators all afternoon, confessed to the stabbing.

In Texas, murdering while committing another felony is a capital crime. Since Harris was robbing the elderly couple, he was eligible for the death penalty, which he received from the trial judge.

Harris's defense attempted to argue that Harris was not mentally competent enough to be culpable for the crime, with one defense-hired expert suggesting that Harris, "suffers from brain injury from exposure to numerous toxic substances...resulting in major cognitive disorder."

It was argued that the environment he had been exposed to since he was a child, coupled with his habitual drug use, mitigated against the death penalty, but the judge didn't buy that argument.

Harris, then 54, was received into Texas death row in December of 2013. If he is executed as scheduled on 3/13/2024, he will have spent just a little over a decade on death row before ultimately meeting the needle.

Texas Death Row: A Look At Notable Last Meals (And One Pile Of Dirt)

As of 2011, Texas no longer honors last-meal requests because of one very expensive and elaborate meal that went untouched. We take a look at that final meal, along with other notable ones, including the guy who requested a pile of dirt.

Gallery Credit: Renee Raven

A Look At The Life & Crimes Of Every Woman On Texas Death Row

Texas Death Row currently only has seven women waiting to be executed. Here is a look at the shocking and brutal crimes they were convicted of that landed them in line for the needle.

Gallery Credit: Renee Raven

Sold This Year: Infamous Darlie Routier Murder House in Rowlett, Texas

Gallery Credit: Renee Raven