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A Texas man, Quintin Jones, convicted of fatally beating his 83-year-old great-aunt more than two decades ago, was executed Wednesday night, despite requests from some of the victim’s relatives for his life. .
“In Texas, we are working to save those lives,” Governor Abbott said, the same day he executed Quintin Jones.
Quintin Jones received a lethal injection at Huntsville State Penitentiary for the murder of Berthena Bryant in September 1999
Quintin Jones received the lethal injection at the Huntsville State Penitentiary for the murder of Berthena Bryant in September 1999. Prosecutors said that after Bryant refused to loan Jones money, he struck her with a bat at his Forth Worth home. and then she took $ 30 out of her purse to buy drugs.
Reporters for The Associated Press and The Huntsville Item, the local newspaper, were scheduled to witness the punishment in the media, but were never escorted by correctional agency officials from an office across the street from the prison. There was no immediate explanation for the media exclusion. Jones became the 571st inmate to receive a lethal injection in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982 and the first without a media witness.
Typically, the agency’s public information office receives a call from the prison director’s office to inform them that all appeals have been exhausted, that the execution is about to move forward, and that witnesses from the media may be brought in. Communication. On Wednesday night, that call never went through.
The United States Supreme Court refused to stop the 41-year-old man’s execution.
Some of Bryant’s relatives, including her sister Mattie Long, had said they did not want Jones to be executed. Jones is Long’s great-nephew.
“Because he was so close to Bert, his death hurt me a lot. Still, God is merciful. Quintin can’t bring her back. I can’t bring her back. I am writing this to ask you to please spare Quintin’s life, ”Long wrote in a letter that was part of Jones’s clemency petition to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The board denied Jones’ petition for clemency on Tuesday and Gov. Greg Abbott did not oppose that decision and also refused to delay the execution. Abbott has granted clemency to only one death row inmate, Thomas Whitaker, since he took office in 2015.
On Wednesday, Jones ‘attorney filed a civil rights lawsuit against the board, alleging that race played “an unacceptable role” in his denial of Jones’ petition. Jones’ attorney argued that the case was similar to Whitaker’s and the only difference was that Whitaker is white and Jones was black. United States District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. dismissed the complaint and wrote that Jones did not present direct evidence of the charge against him.
Helena Faulkner, an assistant Tarrant County criminal district attorney whose office prosecuted Jones, said not all members of Bryant’s family had opposed the execution.
In his final appeals, Jones’ attorney, Michael Mowla, argued that Jones had an intellectual disability and that his death sentence was based on discredited testimony since then that wrongly labeled him a psychopath and a future danger. Mowla also said that Jones’ history of drug and alcohol abuse that he started at age 12 and the physical and sexual abuse he suffered were never considered in his trial.
Jones was the first inmate in Texas to receive a lethal injection since Billy Joe Wardlow’s execution on July 8. Four more executions had been scheduled for the beginning of this year, but they were delayed or rescheduled. While Texas is typically the most active death penalty state in the country, in 2020 it executed just three inmates, the fewest executions in nearly 25 years, largely due to the pandemic.
Some had called for his death sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment, saying he was not the same person who killed his great-aunt when he was 20 years old, and that he had expressed remorse and sought redemption during his more than two decades after the death. death. row.
In a video published by the New York Times, Jones asked Abbott to grant him clemency, saying that he would use the rest of his life in pri