Sells was convicted in the murder of Harris, but also confessed to a string of murders that spanned the country and three decades, according to the Clark County Prosecutor. He called himself “Coast to Coast,” an allusion to his migratory lifestyle in which he hopped trains, panhandled, stole vehicles and left behind a trail of bodies, the prosecutor’s office said.
ABC 20/20 is examining some of Sells’ cases on its new episode tonight, Friday, November 12, 2021. Among the cases is the death of 10-year-old Joel Kirkpatrick, son of Julie Rea, who was initially convicted in her son’s murder.
“The last person in the world I would hurt is my son,” Rea said in the 2002 interview with 20/20. “My son knows I would have never hurt him.”
20/20 will also air an interview with Fabienne Witherspoon, who survived an attack by Sells.
“I always felt if something like that ever happened to me, I would probably just faint. I would just- I would faint and die. I would not fight, but I found out that I was somebody different,” Witherspoon told 20/20.
Here’s what you need to know:
Sells Was Not Offered a Special Last Meal & Declined to Give Any Final Words Before His Execution
Sells was executed by lethal injection on April 3, 2014, in Texas at age 49, according to the Clark County Prosecutor. He was the fifth person to be executed in Texas in 2014, and the 15th that year in the United States.
The prosecutor’s office writes that Texas does not offer a special “last meal” to death row inmates before they are executed.
“Texas no longer offers a special ‘last meal’ to condemned inmates. Instead, the inmate is offered the same meal served to the rest of the unit,” the prosecutor’s office writes.
Sells declined to give any last words before he died by lethal injection, according to the prosecutor’s report.
A 10-Year-Old Girl Survived a Murder Attempt By Playing Dead After He Killed Harris
The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office writes that Sells entered the Harris’ home through an open window December 31, 1999, and found Harris sleeping in a bottom bunk and 10-year-old Krystal Surles sleeping in the top bunk. Sells was a used car salesman and acquaintance of the Harris family, the report says.
Sells entered the home after leaving a bar, put his hand over Harris’ mouth and brandished a 12-inch boning knife, the report says. Sells cut her and she managed to break free, and shouted, “You cut me!” Sells sliced her throat twice, stabbed her 16 more times and left her dead on the floor, the report says.
Sells then approached Surles, and she promised not to say anything. He cut her throat, and she fell to the floor, pretending to be dead, the report said. She fled to a neighbor’s house, and police were called. Surles went on to identify Sells and testify against him at trial, the report said.
Tommy Lynn Sells Cause of Death: How the Convicted Killer Died