Texas has executed its oldest inmate on death row

Texas in the southern United States executed its oldest death row inmate on Thursday, more than 30 years after the murder he was convicted of, despite pleas for clemency from death penalty opponents.

Carl Buntion, 78, received a lethal injection at the Huntsville, Texas jail at 6:24 p.m. local time before being pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m., according to a Texas Corrections Service document.

Tennessee, which was also scheduled to execute its oldest death row inmate on Thursday, postponed the execution at the last moment, according to a tweet from state Gov. Bill Lee.

“I feel sorry for what I did,” said Carl Buntion in his final words. “I’m ready to go.”

Outside the Huntsville jail, some protesters shouted “execution is not the solution” while dozens of people had gathered to support them on the contrary, an AFP correspondent on the spot noted. The victim’s family, a police officer, was also present.

Carl Buntion’s lawyers told AFP they had appealed to the US Supreme Court, but were unsuccessful.

Carl Buntion’s defense attorneys no longer tried to prove his innocence. But in Texas, a large conservative Southern state, the most executed in the United States, a person can only be sentenced to death if a jury determines that they pose a future danger to others.

However, Mr. Buntion, who suffers from osteoarthritis, dizziness, hepatitis and cirrhosis in particular, “could no longer be dangerous”, his lawyers had pleaded in an appeal case against the Parolees Commission and Texas, which has since been dismissed.

In June 1990, this man, raised by an alcoholic and violent father, had already been convicted of sexually assaulting a child 13 times and was on probation.

Carl Buntion shot and killed Police Officer James Irby while intervening for a common traffic violation in Houston.

Sentenced to the death penalty, he had seen that sentence overturned in 2009 by the Texas Supreme Court, which felt the jury could not adequately hear the defense.

But in 2012 he was again sentenced to death.

Carl Buntion was isolated in his cell 23 hours a day for 20 years.

Last year the US Supreme Court refused to overturn his conviction, but progressive Justice Stephen Breyer felt his length of detention called into question the constitutionality of the death penalty.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee announced Thursday afternoon that Oscar Smith’s execution would not take place that evening “due to an error in preparing the lethal injection” and granted a “temporary pardon” while the matter was resolved.

Oscar Smith, 72, was convicted of the 1989 murder of his estranged wife and their two sons.

All of Oscar Smith’s appeals have so far been denied. His lawyers had lodged a final appeal with the Supreme Court. His execution, originally scheduled for 7 p.m. local time, was to be the first in Tennessee since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Following a thorough review of Oscar Smith’s clemency petition and a thorough review of the case, the Tennessee State’s judgment stands and I will not intervene,” Bill Lee said Tuesday.

A decision that Mr Smith’s lawyer then considered “extremely disappointing”. The latter “has maintained his innocence for more than thirty years,” Amy Harwell told CNN, who confirms new DNA analysis techniques on the murder weapon prove his denial.

In Texas, Carl Buntion’s execution was scheduled for April 27.

Convicted after a contentious trial, she has the support of many elected Democrats and Republicans, as well as reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who helped publicize what her defense attorneys are calling a miscarriage of justice.

Leave a Comment