Dallas, TX – After spending only a year on Death Row, Gerald Woolcutt has been executed for owing $252.50 in library fees. The fees, which were owed to the Dallas Public Library, included overdue fines, several billed DVDs, and $25 in printing charges. Woolcutt was contacted several times via phone, email, and U.S. mail by the Dallas Public Library, but refused to return the items or pay the fees.
Woolcutt was arrested two years ago in June, put on trial, and found guilty on several counts, including: refusal to pay state-levied fees, making sarcastic remarks to a librarian, and taking advantage of his tax dollars by abusing a state-funding institution. The charges together prompted the prosecution to seek the death penalty, which was awarded to them by Dallas County judge Wilhem Schnitzenbacher. The library also revoked all of Woolcutt’s library privileges
The highly controversial execution had attracted the attention of a Dallas human rights organization, which had been working for months to get Woolcutt’s Dallas Public Library card reinstated. In a sad twist of fate, the day after Woolcutt was pronounced dead, the library waived the fees and mailed a new card to the Woolcutt home.
Woolcutt spent his last hours on earth tearing the pages from books he checked out from the prison library.