Death Penalty

Death Penalty
8:15 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Supreme Court Halts Execution Of Missouri Inmate

Convicted murderer and rapist Russell Bucklew in a February photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 7:51 pm

The Supreme Court on Wednesday put off the execution of Russell Bucklew, a Missouri inmate who has maintained that his rare congenital medical condition would make the lethal injection procedure excessively painful.

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Texas Death Row
4:07 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

With Just Hours To Go, Federal Court Halts Texas Execution

A Texas judge halted the planned execution of Robert Campbell, saying his lawyers could not fairly prepare an ineligibility claim because the state had not provided them with relevant information. Campbell is mentally disabled.
Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 12:21 pm

Update at 4:57 p.m. ET. Federal Court Halts Execution:

With just hours to go, a federal court has halted the execution of Texas inmate Robert Campbell.

The execution would have been the first since Oklahoma botched one in April.

The ruling has nothing to do with the drug shortage that's dominated the narrative over the death penalty in the country. Instead, Campbell's lawyers argued that the state knew that Campbell was intellectually disabled but did not let his defense team know that.

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Crime & Justice
2:57 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Texas 'Has No Plans' to Use Drug From Botched Oklahoma Execution

Update: After Tuesday night's botched execution in Oklahoma, Texas corrections officials say they have no plans to use midazolam in future executions. Midazolam was the first component of a three-drug cocktail administered to death row inmate Clayton Lockett yesterday. Read more about the execution here.

As KUT first reported in February, the state has supplies of midazolam on hand. But the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says in a statement that it "has no plans to change our procedures. Texas does not use the same drugs as Oklahoma as we use a single lethal dose of pentobarbital and we have done so since 2012.” 

Attorneys for death row inmates in Texas have unsuccessfully tried to find out who is selling compounded pentobarbital to the state. They're suing in civil court and making a case to the Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General that TDCJ should disclose its source. 

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Crime & Justice
12:23 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Botched Oklahoma Execution Prompts Questions About Lethal Injection

Amber Hunt AP

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 1:23 pm

The botched execution of death row inmate Clayton Lockett on Tuesday in Oklahoma is sparking a reassessment of lethal injection.

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Death Row
4:47 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

UPDATED: After One Botched Execution, Oklahoma Stays A Second

This file photo combo of images provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Clayton Lockett, left, and Charles Warner.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 10:12 pm

Update at 8:19 p.m. ET. Execution Fails:

According to reporters tweeting from inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma, the execution of Clayton D. Lockett has failed. Lockett died of a heart attack after the execution was aborted.

The execution of Charles Warner, which was supposed to take place at 9 p.m. ET., was stayed by Corrections Director Robert Patton.

According to the AP reporter on the scene, about 34 minutes after the execution was scheduled to begin, Lockett was still conscious.

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Crime & Justice
12:53 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Could Europe Put a Stop to the Death Penalty in Texas?

Execution room in the San Quentin State Prison in California.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

This week, Oklahoma's Supreme Court stopped the executions of two convicted murderers. At issue: where the state gets its execution drugs. The state does not want to reveal its source.  

Texas also has long kept its lethal drug suppliers secret, although Attorney General Greg Abbott recently issued an opinion stating it's time to go public.  But as death penalty opponents increase the pressure to expose suppliers and to disrupt the supply of the drug, some states are reviewing their options on capital punishment.

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Texas Death Row
1:46 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Federal Judge Orders Execution Drug Disclosure

Texas Tribune

A federal judge in Houston on Wednesday blocked two Texas executions, deciding that the state prison system’s refusal to disclose detailed information about drugs that will be used to kill them violates the inmates' constitutional rights.

U.S. Judge Vanessa Gilmore issued a preliminary injunction that effectively blocked the Thursday execution of Tommy Lynn Sells and the execution of Ramiro Hernadez Llanas, which was scheduled for April 9.

The Attorney General’s office notified the inmates' attorneys and the court that the state's attorneys will appeal Gilmore’s decision.

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Death Row
6:17 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Execution Drug Maker Wants Texas to Give It Back

Barbed wire outside the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, which houses the state's death chamber
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The owner of a compounding pharmacy outside Houston says he was told it was "unlikely" that his business would be revealed as the source of the state's lethal injection drug, pentobarbital.

Now that his Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy is known to be manufacturer of the drug intended for use in this week's scheduled execution and beyond, Jasper Lovoi has sent a letter to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), demanding the drug's return.

Lovoi's letter says he finds himself "in the middle of a firestorm" that he "was not advised of and did not bargain for." The identities of Lovoi and his pharmacy were originally revealed by the Associated Press, which obtained the information through an Open Records Request for its story on the new source of pentobarbital.

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Crime & Justice
5:45 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Report: Texas Executions Conducted Under Broken System

Anthony Graves was exonerated from death row in 2010. He and the American Bar Association are calling for changes to Texas's death penalty practices.
Erika Aguilar for KUT News

The Texas criminal justice system is not doing everything it can to ensure the death penalty is applied fairly.

That's according to a report released today by the American Bar Association’s Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Team, which claims Texas fails to meet national standards in all phases of implementing capital punishment.

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Texas
1:07 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

After 500th Execution, a Huntsville Death Row History

In 1923, the electric chair became the preferred method of execution in Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Kimberley McCarthy was put to death via lethal injection Wednesday evening, becoming the 500th prisoner to be executed in Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982, following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. McCarthy was condemned for the murder of her neighbor, 71-year-old Dorothy Booth, during a robbery.

Earlier: Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to die by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas this evening. Her upcoming death has caught national and international attention because – if the execution is carried out – she will be the 500th person executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated and the fourth woman.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:19 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Bill Would Change DNA Testing Procedures in Death Penalty Cases (Updated)

A bill from Sen. Rodney Ellis would require the state to pay for DNA testing before capital punishment cases go to trial.
Veronica Zaragovia

Update: A Texas Senate committee passed a bill last night that would require DNA testing of evidence in cases involving the death penalty.

The proposal will now go to the full senate for a vote.

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2013 Legislative Session
1:18 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Bill Would Make DNA Testing Mandatory in Death Penalty Cases

Sen. Robert Duncan (L) and Sen. Ellis joined Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott at a press conference on DNA testing in death penalty cases.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Some officials in Texas – including Attorney General Greg Abbott – want to change how the state handles DNA evidence.

Abbott says he thinks testing on DNA evidence should happen before a death penalty case goes to trial.

"If you’re innocent, you’re going to find out that your exoneration will come sooner," Abbott said. "If you are guilty, justice will be more swift and more certain."

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Texas
8:27 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Texas Executes First Death Row Inmate of 2013

Carl Henry Blue was put to death Thursday night.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The State of Texas executed 48 year-old Carl Blue Thursday night. He was put to death for killing his former girlfriend in 1994.

Blue was convicted of setting 38 year-old Carmen Richards-Sanders on fire at her Bryan apartment.

According to information on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's death row website, Blue threw gasoline on Richards-Sanders when she opened the door to her apartment. He then ignited her clothes with a lighter. Blue also threw gasoline on a man in the apartment—who caught on fire when he tried to help Richards-Sanders.

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The Lead
8:53 am
Wed January 30, 2013

The Lead: CPRIT-Funded Group Closes, County OKs Smoking Ban

State cancer agency CPRIT's biggest recipient is going out of business.
Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service still has Central Texas under a Red Flag Warning until 6 p.m. tonight. The humidity will be low and the winds are high, meaning higher wildfire danger.

Austin’s in for otherwise nice weather today, with temperatures cooling to the 60s after this week’s warm streak.

Lead Story: The non-profit that got the biggest grant so far from the state’s troubled cancer-fighting agency is going out of business. The Clinical Trials Network of Texas says it has run out of money after the taxpayer-funded Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) began withholding payments.

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The Lead
9:04 am
Mon January 28, 2013

The Lead: Abortion Protest at Texas Capitol, Single-Sex Schools Before AISD Board Tonight

Anti-abortion protesters marched to the Texas Capitol this weekend.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Good morning! With highs in the upper-70s, Austin’s in for a cloudy, breezy and muggy day, according to the National Weather Service.

Lead story: An anti-abortion protest converged on the State Capitol Saturday afternoon. Among the speakers at the “Texas Rally for Life:” Attorney General Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Gov. Rick Perry, who said he was working to “make abortion in any stage a thing of the past.”

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Texas
2:43 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Willingham's Family Seeks "Posthumous Pardon"

Patricia Willingham Cox, Willingham's cousin, Eugenia Willingham, stepmother, and Judy Cavnar, cousin, are seeking to clear the name of Cameron Todd WIllingham from a 1991 arson case for which he was executed in 2004.
Tamir Kalifa via Texas Tribune

The surviving relatives of Cameron Todd Willingham gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday after sending an application to clear his name, 12 years after his execution for a 1991 fire that killed his three young children.

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Texas
6:04 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Texas Inmate Put to Death After Court Reverses Reprieve

Jonathan Green's execution was blocked earlier this week but is now set to take place this evening.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Update: Thursday, Oct. 11, 6:04 a.m.:

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal to spare Green from execution. Green received a lethal injection Wednesday night before 11 p.m. The warrant for his execution was set to expire at midnight.

Jonathan Green was the 10th inmate executed in Texas so far this year.

Original Story: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 4:13 p.m.:

A Texas death row inmate is once again facing execution this evening.

Jonathan Green’s execution was blocked on Monday when a federal judge ruled on Monday that due process was violated in Green’s competency hearing.

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Texas
6:59 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Could IQ Score Could Halt Texas Execution?

State lawyers believe Wilson's IQ is higher than 61.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Update: Wilson was executed. The lower courts agreed with state lawyers that the results of the IQ test were faulty. The Supreme Court denied the request to stop the execution. Wilson was the seventh prisoner executed in Texas so far this year.

Earlier: Attorneys for a Texas man scheduled to die Tuesday evening are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution.

Marvin Wilson, 54, was convicted for the 1992 abduction and shooting death of a police informant – 21-year-old Jerry Williams – in Beaumont.

A psychological test found Wilson’s IQ was 61 – which defense lawyers say indicates mental impairment and makes him ineligible for execution. State lawyers argue that the test result was faulty and that all other tests showed his IQ above the impairment threshold of 70.

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Texas
5:24 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Texas Changing Its Lethal Injection Protocol

via Texas Tribune

Texas will join a handful of states that use a single drug in lethal injections, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced Tuesday. 

"Implementing the change in protocol at this time will ensure that the agency is able to fulfill its statutory responsibility for all executions currently scheduled," TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark said in an email.

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