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The Buffalo Will No Longer Roam

This is Ronald "Buffalo" Chambers when he was 21 and sentenced to die the first time. That was 30 years ago.
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Ronald Chambers has been on death row for 30 years, making him the longest-serving inmate waiting to die in Texas. He's there for kidnapping, robbing and killing one college student at the Trinity River bottoms and beating another during the same horrific incident 31 years ago. He's been the subject of several stories in the paper version of Unfair Park and D magazine, but those stories, written by myself and Mark Donald respectively, ran so long ago they're not even part of the digital archives. According to this Associated Press story, "Chambers' longevity gets him the designation 'Old School' by younger inmates." They also call him the Dean of Death Row. When Mark and I wrote about him, he had another nickname: Buffalo.

The AP is also reporting that Chambers -- who was convicted three times for the murder of 22-year-old Mike McMahan (and the beating of 20-year-old Deia Sutton) on April 11, 1975 -- will finally be put to death next month. He's been here before, of course; twice in the past three decades his convictions have been overturned, once when Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that a state-appointed psychiatrist who questioned Chambers didn't tell him whatever he said would be used against him and again when the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors kept African-Americans off the jury.

"I knew it was coming," the 51-year-old Chambers told the AP about his impending execution. "No rich folks here. I'm not mad at that. But again, if I had the money, I wouldn't be here."

The state's information about Chambers can be found here. He is scheduled to be executed on January 25. --Robert Wilonsky

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