You are here: Who we are / Murder Victim Family
Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ron Carlson RIP

Ron Carlson’s sister, Deborah Ruth Carlson Davis Thornton, and Jerry Lynn Dean were murdered with a pick ax by Karla Faye Tucker and Daniel Ryan Garret on June 13, 1983.

Both Tucker and Garrett were sentenced to death. Ron originally supported their sentences, telling the prosecutors, ” I think they got what they deserved.” Ron lost his stepfather and natural father within a year of Deborah’s death. “You can’t imagine the anger that was in this body,” he says now. For many years, Ron treated his pain with alcohol and drugs, until becoming a Christian in 1990.

Ron ultimately forgave Karla and Dan and worked hard to commute their death sentences. Dan died in prison of natural causes in 1993. Karla Faye Tucker was executed on February 3, 1998 in Huntsville, TX. Ron was invited by Karla to witness the execution as one of her representatives. When he did so, he became the first known victim’s family member to witness an execution on behalf of the murderer.


The world is not a better place because the State of Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker. Even though Karla murdered my only sibling -- my sister, Deborah, who had raised me after our mother died -- I stood with her as one of her witnesses when she was executed. I was there to stand up for the Lord, for the strength of his love. Karla and I had both done a lot of wrong in our lives. We had both turned to drugs to heal our pain; we had both hurt a lot of people. But the love of Jesus Christ transformed us. We were able to forgive ourselves and each other. "I love you Ronnie," was one of the last things Karla said. I still carry that love with me.