execution | Texas Public Radio

execution

Death penalty laws are on the books in 31 states, but only five carried out executions last year. Now Arkansas is rushing to execute death row inmates at an unprecedented pace this month, before the state's supply of lethal drugs expires.

Ryan Poppe

How Texas determines whether someone has the intellectual capacity to be sentenced to death is being examined by the nation’s highest court on Tuesday.  The Supreme Court made it clear no person with intellectual disabilities is to be executed but how Texas determines who fits that criteria is what is at stake this week.

In 1980, Bobby Moore was convicted for shooting a store clerk during a Houston robbery and later sentenced to die.  Moore’s IQ score ranges from 50 to 70 points, a person with average intelligence has an IQ score between 85 and 114.

Texas Inmate, 67, Executed For Slayings 31 Years Ago

Jun 4, 2015
Courtesy: The Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE — A 67-year-old man convicted of killing four men more than three decades ago was executed Wednesday, making him the oldest of the 526 Texas prisoners put to death since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.

Lester Bower Jr. was convicted of the October 1983 fatal shootings at an airplane hangar on a ranch near Sherman, about 60 miles north of Dallas. Prosecutors say he killed the four after stealing an airplane he’d been trying to buy from one of his victims. “Much has been said about this case. Much has been written about this case. Not all of it has been the truth,” Bower, strapped to the death chamber gurney, said. “But the time for discerning truth is over and it’s time to move on.”

Lokal_Profil / cc

AUSTIN — The identity of Texas’ lethal drug supplier would remain confidential under a measure the state House approved Monday — bringing it to the cusp of clearing the Legislature, despite advocates’ calls to lift the secrecy surrounding the drugs used for executions in the nation's busiest death chamber.

The bill would prohibit disclosure to the public and even to death row inmates and their attorneys. It sailed through the Texas Senate last week, then passed the lower chamber via a simple voice vote and without debate.

That means the proposal is just a legislative logistical step away from the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it into law. An ongoing legal challenge already prohibits Texas from disclosing where the state buys execution drugs. That ruling came after manufacturers reported being threatened by death penalty opponents.

Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE — A Texas inmate was executed Tuesday for the killings of his 15-year-old girlfriend, her mother and her grandfather nearly 13 years ago in Houston.

Derrick Dewayne Charles, 32, became the seventh prisoner put to death this year in the nation’s most active capital punishment state. He was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. CDT, 25 minutes after being given the execution drug.

Asked by the warden if he wanted to make a final statement, Charles replied: “Nah. I’m ready to go home.” As the pentobarbital took effect, he took two breaths, yawned and then appeared to go to sleep. Six relatives of Charles’ victims witnessed the execution, but he made no eye contact with them.

The lethal injection was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments from Charles’ attorneys that he was mentally incompetent for execution and that they needed time and court-approved money for experts and investigators to pursue that claim. Another appeal argued Charles’ trial court also acted improperly by refusing to appoint psychiatric experts and investigators.

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