“Awestruck, he clutched his mother’s hand, reveling in the dirt and sawdust underfoot, the smell of cotton candy and popcorn in the air and the roar of the crowd and the machinery. He immersed himself in a wild, wonderful world of four-year-old fantasy. Reality, though, was waiting at that carnival for Willie and Ena: reality in the shape of a man–a man named Tommy Lynn Sells.” from Through the Window
On this date, twenty-seven years ago, in Forsythe County, Missouri, Ena Cordt and her young son Rory, nicknamed Willie, died in a brutal fashion, murdered by the child’s own baseball bat. No one knows what Ena was thinking when she invited the carnival worker into her house for a home-cooked meal. No one knows how she expected that night to end. All we know is that she did not expect it to end violently at the hands of a raged-filled man.
Sells, of course, blamed Ena for their deaths. He claimed she was trying to steal his drugs. But Sells made a habit of blaming victims for his sins. When asked why he beat to death little Willie who posed absolutely no threat to him, who, because of his young age, was incapable of identifying him; Sells painted that act with a humane brush. He said he killed the boy because he did not want him to grow up as an orphan.
After the serial killer was sentenced to death in 2000, an unscrupulous man claimed that Ena Cordt was the lover of a local judge, in fear that Ena would expose their secret, hired Sells to commit the murder. Sells went along with the man’s scheme for a while, thinking he could get some cash in his commissary account by being cooperative. At one point, the man even produced a confession document signed with the serial killer’s name. The document, however, was a forgery. Experts said, it was not Sells’ signature. The man himself denied ever signing it.
Although Don Swan, the lead investigator in the Cordt double homicide is convinced that Sells committed the crime, no charges have ever been filed. The belief of the local authorities is that Sells can only be executed once and Texas is more likely to carry through on that sentence than any other state in the union.
Sells recently lost his last appeal in federal appeals court. It is unlikely that his case will make it on the Supreme Court docket. All that remains now is for the state to set a new date. Currently, there are nine executions scheduled for the remainder of 2012. It is unknown, at this time if Sells will be added to that list or if he will live through yet another year on death row.