'Tourniquet Killer' Anthony Shore, who terrorized Texas woman, finally set

A convicted sex offender whose signature killing method prompted him to be dubbed Houston's "Tourniquet Killer" is set to die by lethal injection Wednesday evening, barring any late legal action. 

Anthony Allen Shore, 55, will be the seventh Texas inmate to be executed this year. When he was arrested in 2003, he confessed to killing a 21-year-old woman by twisting a cord from a window blind around her neck and dumping her in the drive-thru lane of a Dairy Queen in 1991. 

"He said, 'I have a tip for you. There's a serial killer on the loose.'"

- Barbara Robertson, KPRC assignment manager

Maria del Carmen Estrada's slaying went unsolved for more than a decade until a tiny particle collected from beneath her fingernail matched the DNA of Shore.

When police arrested Shore, who was on probation for his 1998 conviction for sexually assaulting two relatives, he also confessed to killing three others, including a 9-year-old girl and two teenage girls. All were Hispanic, and three had been sexually assaulted.

"There were voices in my head that I was going to have her, regardless, to possess her in some way," Shore, a former tow truck driver, phone company repairman and part-time musician, told detectives about Estrada. The then-21-year-old Estrada was walking to work about 6:30 a.m. on April 16, 1992, when he offered her a ride she accepted.

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It wasn't until five years after Shore's DNA went into a state database following his 1998 sexual assault conviction that the match to Estrada's murderer was made.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has described Shore as a "true serial killer" who terrorized young Hispanic females in the Houston area for years.

Besides Estrada, Shore confessed to the slayings of Laurie Tremblay, 15, found beside a trash bin outside a Houston restaurant in 1986; Diana Rebollar, 9, abducted while walking to a neighborhood grocery store in 1994; and Dana Sanchez, 16, who disappeared in 1995 while hitchhiking to her boyfriend's home in Houston.

At the time of the Sanchez murder, Shore called Houston television station KPRC to report the location of a body. 

“I pick up the phone and I say, ‘Tipline,’” former KPRC assignment manager Barbara Magana Robertson said. “He said, ‘I have a tip for you. There’s a serial killer on the loose.’”

Robertson said the nearly 40-minute call became serious when the man started giving her directions to the location of a body, including details on how it was positioned. 

“He gave me clues to like four or five different murders and I had no idea. I’m thinking I’m getting one murder details and he knew I was getting several different murders,” said Robertson.

At his trial in 2004, with the confession and DNA results in evidence, a jury convicted Shore of capital murder. The next day, Shore's lawyers told jurors that, against their judgment and advice, their client wanted the death penalty. Jurors then heard four days of prosecution evidence about the three other slayings and heard from three women who testified he raped them.

The trial judge ultimately asked Shore directly if his lawyers' statements about him wanting the death penalty were accurate.

"This is very accurate," he replied. 

In appeals, lawyers appointed for Shore argued he suffered from brain damage early in life that his trial attorneys didn't discover, and the brain injury affected his decision about wanting the death penalty. A federal appeals court earlier this year turned down his appeal and two weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case.

The six-member Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously rejected a clemency petition Monday.

"I would describe Anthony's demeanor as that of any condemned man, that even though his life is severely altered by being in prison, especially on death row, he would rather have that than death," Knox Nunnally, one of Shore's attorneys, said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

John Elliott

John Elliott

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