Condemned killer's trial lawyer disputes ineffective counsel claim

Appeal claims Tai Chin Preyor denied fair trial

SAN ANTONIO – As his execution neared, attorneys for Tai Chin Preyor, 47, filed an appeal claiming that the issue of mitigating evidence was not adequately addressed during his trial and during subsequent appeals. His attorney disputed that claim.

“He got a fair trial,” Preyor’s trial attorney John Economidy said Thursday. “I will go home tonight and sleep well.”

Economidy bristled at claims of ineffective counsel made by Preyor’s appellate attorneys on Thursday.

“The tendency is for defense attorneys to try any last-ditch effort to try to save a life,” Economidy said. “You see that in capital cases all the time.”

The appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court claimed that allegations that Preyor was beaten and sexually abused as a child were ignored by his lawyers. Economidy denied that.

“We went through school records and actually went up to New York City where he was raised,” he said. “We spent three days up there talking to teachers, friends and family members.”

The allegations were not mentioned by his family when they testified during Preyor's trial, according to Economidy.

According to testimony during Preyor’s trial,  he broke into the apartment of Jami Tackett, his girlfriend and drug supplier, during the early-morning hours of Feb. 2, 2004. 

They argued and got into a physical fight. He attacked her with a knife and slashed her throat “from ear to ear,"  according to trial testimony.

The jury didn’t buy Preyor’s claim of self-defense, Economidy said.

“The evidence showed that he was filthy with guilt," Economidy said.

Noting what he called "a touch of irony," Economidy said that before his trial began, Preyor turned down a plea bargain offer of 24 years in prison.

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