‘10,927 days is too much’: Outrage after no execution date set for man who murdered several members of one family

Family devastated as judge declines to set execution date for murderer (Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Emotions were high Friday as family and friends gathered outside the 351st District Courtroom demanding justice, hoping that an execution date is set for Arthur Brown Jr., who was convicted three decades ago in the brutal execution-style murders of four people, including a pregnant teen.

They felt their cries were unheard as Judge Natalia Cornelio decided not to sign an order for the date, citing that Brown was in the process of getting a new attorney.

Brown was found guilty on June 20, 1992, and sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murders of Jose Tovar, 32; Audrey Brown, 21; Frank Farias, 17; and Jessica Quinones, who was only 19 years old and seven months pregnant at the time. Two others were shot, but survived.

The shootings were carried out at a home in the 4300 block of Brownstone.

Investigators said Brown had been buying drugs from Tovar, and the shootings were related to their transactions.

The victims were tied up with bedsheets and each placed in separate rooms. Brown and an accomplice, Marion Butler Dudley Jr., then shot each person in the back of the head. Another person, Antonio Dunson, was also involved in the crime.

The victims were members of the same family, with the exception of Audrey Brown, who was a neighbor.

According to court documents, after the murders, Brown confessed to his sister that he had “shot six Mexicans” and needed to go away. He then offered his sister $1,000 to drive his van across state lines in the middle of the night carrying narcotics.

The three suspects were eventually caught and stood trial in the case.

Dunson is currently serving a life sentence and Dudley was executed in 2006, but Brown’s case has the family baffled.

“After 30 years of this case, I think it’s very sad we can’t get justice,” said Rachel Tovar, who lost her husband, son, daughter-in-law and unborn grandchild in the slayings. “Everybody here is hurt. Everybody here is confused about why this judge isn’t doing what she needs to do.”

The grieving woman is one of the two people who survived the shooting.

A document filed with the courts pushing for the execution date states that Brown is not the victim, adding that the true victims were human beings and not simply “Mexicans,” as Brown referred to them, adding that their families remain traumatized to this day.

Assistant Harris County DA Josh Reiss said the family deserves closure and should not have to wait any longer.

“10,927 days is too much,” Reiss said. “Judge Nata Cornelio refused to fulfill her obligation under the law to sign an execution order for Arthur Brown Jr.”

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office plans to file papers with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to order the judge to set the execution order for August 31.

About the Authors:

Mother of two. Award-winning lover of digital storytelling, sparked by my fascination of being a fashionable gossip like my favorite "Willona Woods" character from "Good Times." On the serious side, president of the Houston Association of Black Journalists and dedicated community servant. Happy to share the news with you each and every day!

Reporter, proud Houstonian, U of H alumni, and lover of all the hometown sport teams.