death penalty

EXECUTION CARRIED OUT 2022 – TEXAS – CARL WAYNE BUNTION – APRIL 21, 2022


Huntsville, Texas — Texas’ oldest death row inmate was executed Thursday for killing a Houston police officer during a traffic stop nearly 32 years ago.

Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, was put to death at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. He was condemned for the June 1990 fatal shooting of Houston police officer James Irby, a nearly 20-year member of the force.

The U.S. Supreme Court had declined a request by Buntion’s attorneys to stop his execution.

“I wanted the Irby family to know one thing: I do have remorse for what I did,” Buntion said while strapped to the Texas death chamber gurney. “I pray to God that they get the closure for me killing their father and Ms. Irby’s husband.

“I hope to see you in heaven some day and when you show up I will give you a big hug.”

Buntion, joined by his spiritual adviser, began praying Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd…” as the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began. He took a deep breath, coughed once, then took three less pronounced breaths before all movement stopped.

He was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m., 13 minutes later.

Several dozen motorcyclists, showing support for the slain motorcycle officer, loudly revved their engines as the execution took place, the roar clearly audible in the death chamber.

Buntion had been on parole for just six weeks when he shot the 37-year-old Irby. Buntion, who had an extensive criminal record, was a passenger in the car that Irby pulled over. In 2009, an appeals court vacated Buntion’s sentence, but another jury resentenced him to death three years later.

“I feel joy,” the officer’s widow, Maura Irby, said after watching Buntion’s execution. “I’m sorry someone died. But I didn’t think of him as a person. I just thought of him as a thing, as a cancer on the face of my family.”

Before his slaying, James Irby had talked of retirement and spending more time with his two children, who at the time were 1 and 3 years old, Maura Irby, 60, said earlier.

“He was ready to fill out the paperwork and stay home and open a feed store,” she said. “He wanted to be the dad that was there to go to all the ballgames and the father daughter dances. He was a super guy, the love of my life.”

Leading up to his execution, various state and federal courts had also turned down appeals by Buntion’s lawyers to stop his death sentence. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday had rejected his clemency request.

Buntion’s attorneys said he was responsible for Irby’s death and “deserved to be punished severely for that crime.”

But they argued his execution was unconstitutional because the jury’s finding he would be a future danger to society – one of the reasons he was given a death sentence- has proven incorrect, and also his execution would serve no legitimate purpose because so much time has passed since his conviction. His attorneys described Buntion as a geriatric inmate who posed no threat as he suffered from arthritis, vertigo and needed a wheelchair.

“This delay of three decades undermines the rationale for the death penalty. … Whatever deterrent effect there is diminished by delay,” his attorneys David Dow and Jeffrey Newberry, wrote in court documents.

With his execution, Buntion became the oldest person Texas has put to death since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on capital punishment in 1976. The oldest inmate executed in the U.S. in modern times was Walter Moody Jr., who was 83 years old when he was put to death in Alabama in 2018.

Buntion was also the first inmate executed in Texas in 2022. Although Texas has been the nation’s busiest capital punishment state, it had been nearly seven months since it carried out an execution. There have been only three executions in each of the last two years, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic and delays over legal questions about Texas’ refusal to allow spiritual advisers to touch inmates and pray aloud in the death chamber.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court said states must accommodate requests to have faith leaders pray and touch inmates during executions.

As Texas prepared to execute Buntion, officials in Tennessee canceled the execution of an inmate Thursday in what would have been the state’s first execution since the start of the pandemic. Oscar Smith, 72, was scheduled to die for the 1989 killings of his estranged wife and her teenage sons. Republican Gov. Bill Lee didn’t elaborate on what issue forced the surprise 11th-hour stop to the planned execution.

Texas prison officials agreed to Buntion’s request to allow his spiritual adviser to pray aloud and touch him while he was put to death.

The adviser, Barry Brown, placed his right hand on Buntion’s right ankle in the moments before the drugs began flowing and prayed for about five minutes. He said Buntion no longer was a “hard-headed young man” but had been “humbled by the walls and cold steel of prison.”

While the execution stirred up painful memories for her, Irby said it also reminded her of her advocacy work in public safety after her husband’s death, including helping put together legislation that allowed victim impact statements at trials.

“I still miss him, 32 years later,” she said Thursday night.

EXECUTION CARRIED OUT 2022 – OKLAHOMA GILBERT POSTELLE 02.18.2022


GILBERT POSTELLE

Gilbert Ray Postelle was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 10:14 a.m. Thursday morning. He’s the fourth death row inmate to be killed since the state resumed capital punishment in October after a six-year moratorium. He was 35.

Five media members were selected by a random draw to witness the execution: Sean Murphy (Associated Press), Nolan Clay (The Oklahoman), Wayne Stafford (KOKH), Storme Jones (KWTV) and Dylan Goforth (The Frontier).

The witnesses said the execution appeared to happen without any complications. Their accounts were largely in line with the December execution of Bigler Stouffer and the January execution of Donald Grant, but drastically different from the October execution of John Marion Grant, who convulsed two dozen times and vomited multiple times during his execution.

Postelle did not have any last words.

Swindle’s sister, Shelli Milner, made a statement following the execution.

“It’s never over for the families of the victims. Today is not a joyous day for anyone. Today did not end anyone’s suffering. Today did not put closure on anything,” Milner said. “To know that [Postelle] will never walk this earth again does give me a little more peace than I had yesterday, but I will never have peace knowing what he did to my brother Donnie, to Amy, to James and to Terry.”

There are no more executions scheduled in the state at this point. Pending the results of the upcoming trial over the constitutionality of the current lethal injection protocol later this month, the state may schedule more executions.

Death row inmate Gilbert Ray Postelle’s request for clemency was denied by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board in a 4-1 vote in December 2021.

Postelle, then 19, shot and killed four people — 57-year-old James D. Alderson, 56-year-old Terry L. Smith, 49-year-old James “Donnie” Swindle Jr., and 26-year-old Amy J. Wright — in southeast Oklahoma City on Memorial Day in 2005. The assault included nearly 100 shots fired from two assault rifles.

He was convicted of the four murders and given the death sentence for two.

Three others were charged with conspiracy and four counts of first-degree murder in the slayings. His brother, David Bradford Postelle, was sentenced to life in prison and their father, Earl Bradford Postelle, was ruled incompetent to stand trial in 2006. Another man, Randal Wade Byus, agreed to cooperate with authorities and pleaded guilty to reduced charges in 2008.

Postelle and his family believed one of the victims were responsible for a 2004 motorcycle accident, which left the elder Postelle physically and mentally disabled.

Gilbert Postelle’s attorney said he suffered from years of methamphetamine abuse that began around the age of 12. In 2021, he testified that he had been using meth for days leading up to the killings and doesn’t remember much about the crimes.

Last month, attorneys for Donald Grant and Postelle argued that the state’s lethal injection protocol exposed the two men to a constitutionally unacceptable risk of severe pain, citing the October 2021 execution of John Grant, who convulsed and vomited before he died.

Oklahoma’s method of execution — lethal injection — has been criticized as painful and terrifying, with claims it induces a sense of drowning comparable to the torture tactic of waterboarding.

Oklahoma held off on lethal injections for nearly six years after two botched executions. The state resumed the practice last fall, killing John Grant in October, Bigler Stouffer in December and Donald Grant in January.

The three-drug cocktail is being reviewed for constitutionality in district court in a trial that begins on Feb. 28.

Postelle’s last meal included 20 chicken nuggets, three large fries, one crispy chicken sandwich, one large cola, and one caramel frappe.

EXECUTION CARRIED OUT 2022-ALABAMA MATTHEW REEVES 01.27.2022


Matthew Reeves

Matthew Reeves offered no final words and only few movements as his execution was carried out Thursday evening at Holman Prison in Atmore.

Reeves was pronounced dead around 9:24 p.m., according to Commissioner John Hamm. His execution began around 9:03 p.m., after a stay was lifted at 7:25 p.m. from the nation’s highest court.

Reeves had no final words, no final meal and no spiritual advisor present for his execution, which took place despite claims that he was intellectually disabled.

As the execution began, Reeves grimaced and rose his head slightly to look at the IV in his arm, before he laid his head back down. Around 9:09 p.m., he closed his eyes, though his abdomen continued moving.

Shortly after that time, a prison official performed a consciousness test which consisted of a hand wave over his face and an arm pinch.

Before 9:15 p.m., Reeves stopped moving.

After Reeves was pronounced dead, Hamm read a statement from the family of Willie Johnson to gathered media witnesses.

“After 26 years, justice has finally been served,” Hamm read from the family’s statement. “Our family can now have some closure.”

Reeves was executed for the murder of Willie Johnson, a man who picked up Reeves and other individuals on the side of the highway in Selma in November of 1996.

Execution carried out 2022- OKLAHOMA Donald Grant – JANV. 27.2022


McALESTER, Okla. — An Oklahoma man who had offered to be executed by firing squad was put to death by lethal injection Thursday morning, officials said.

Donald Anthony Grant, 46, was pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m. CT at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, a state corrections spokesman announced.

The execution began at 10:03 a.m., and Grant was declared unconscious at 10:08 a.m. before his death at 10:16 a.m., Corrections Department Director Scott Crow said.

There were 18 witnesses, including news reporters, prosecutors, a police chief and loved ones of Grant and his victims.

Grant’s disjointed final words lasted two minutes before a prison staff member in the execution chamber stopped him and cut off the microphone.

“Grant’s last words were “yo God I got this, I got this, it’s nothing” before saying “I’ve got things to handle, no doubt, no doubt.” He also said “Brooklyn for life” among his other chants. Grant reportedly grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in and out of various foster homes.

Grant kept speaking after the microphone was turned off, looking toward his family members sitting in the front row of the witness room.

At one point, tears appeared to be rolling down his face.

Grant killed Brenda McElyea, 29, and Felicia Suzette Smith, 43, so there would be no witnesses to his robbery at the La Quinta Inn in Del City in July 2001.

LAST MEALGrant, the first person to be given the death penalty in 2022.

After requesting a very large meal, the inmate was given a lethal injection, currently the only approved method in Oklahoma. Grant’s menu included sesame chicken, six egg rolls, shrimp fried rice and a large apple fritter. If there was no dessert, Grant asked for three pints of strawberry ice cream. 

Advocates fight for Oklahoma inmate weeks before scheduled execution


October 10, 2022

Advocates continue to fight for the life of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Fairchild.

Fairchild is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 17. He has a clemency hearing with the Oklahoma State Pardon and Parole Board Wednesday morning.

Fairchild has sat on death row for nearly 30 years. He was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in Del City in 1993.

According to his legal team, Fairchild suffers from multiple mental illnesses and is unfit to be executed.

Rev. Don Heath works with the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He spoke at a press conference Friday discussing the fight to save Fairchild’s life.

“Richie Fairchild has been a model prisoner and has repeatedly expressed remorse for killing Adam Broomhall,” Heath said. “He is 62 years old and suffers from brain damage. He already has served 25 years in prison for his crime and is asking to be allowed to die in prison of natural causes instead of by poisoning by the state. This case cries out for mercy and forgiveness.”

Additional petitions are scheduled to be delivered to Gov. Kevin Stitt a few days before Fairchild’s scheduled execution. If the Pardon and Parole Board recommends clemency, Gov. Stitt will have the final say.

October 10 is the World Day Against the Death Penalty.


Which countries still have the death penalty?

Source AlJazeera & Amnesty international

The theme of this year’s World Day Against the Death Penalty is safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls.

According to Amnesty International, more than two-thirds of the world’s countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

By the end of last year, 108 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes, eight countries had abolished the death penalty for crimes not committed during times of war and 28 countries still retained the death penalty but had not executed anyone over the past 10 years.

Fifty-five countries still retain and implement the death penalty.

On September 20, Equatorial Guinea became the latest country to abolish the death penalty when its president signed a new penal code into law. It will come into force in three months.

Executions and sentences in 2021

At least 579 people, including 24 women, are known to have been executed by 18 nations in 2021 – up by 20 percent from 2020.

Three countries accounted for 80 percent of all known executions in 2021: Iran (at least 314), Egypt (at least 83) and Saudi Arabia (65).

The recorded global totals do not include the thousands of executions that Amnesty International believes were carried out in China, where data on the death penalty are classified as a state secret.

The number of known death sentences also increased from 1,477 in 2020 to at least 2,052 in 2021 – an increase of nearly 40 percent.

source alJazeera & Amnesty international

Texas: Woman convicted of killing 21-year-old mother-to-be and cutting baby from her womb


Texas, 10.04.2022

Prosecutors told the court that Reagan Michelle Simmons-Hancock was beaten in the head at least five times with such force that the blows compressed her skull.

Taylor Rene Parker 

A woman is facing the death penalty after being found guilty of killing a 21-year-old and cutting her unborn baby from her womb.

Taylor Rene Parker has been convicted of the October 2020 murder of Reagan Michelle SimmonsHancock in Texas and the kidnapping of her daughter, who later died.

The 29-year-old was found to have beaten the young expectant mother in the head at least five times, before “cutting her abdomen, hip to hip” to remove her baby.

The guilty verdict came after three weeks of testimony at Bowie County in northeast Texas, where Parker’s attorneys moved to dismiss the kidnapping charge in a bid to have a capital murder charge lowered to murder.

They argued that the baby was never alive and therefore could not be abducted, but prosecutors said several medical professionals testified that she had a heartbeat when she was born.

“We have methodically laid out what she (Parker) did, why she did it, all the moving parts, and all the collateral damage,” said prosecutor Kelley Crisp.

The court heard how Parker faked being pregnant in the lead up to the killing, with the assistant district attorney Lauren Richards describing her as a “liar” and a “manipulator”.

It was no quick death’

In gruesome detail, Ms Richards recounted Parker’s attack on Ms Simmons-Hancock, saying the young woman was still alive after having her baby cut from her womb.

“She can’t leave her alive. It was no quick death. She just kept cutting her. I guess Reagan would not die fast enough for Taylor to get out of there and get on with her plans,” she said.

Parker’s sentencing, known in the US as the punishment phase, is set to begin on 12 October.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but jurors may opt for a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

Outcomes of Death Warrants in 2022


September 30.2022 Update

Executions and Stays 2022

48 execution dates have been scheduled by 9 states for 2022.
To date, there have been 10 executions by 5 states.
10 executions have been stayed.*
No executions have been halted by commutation.
16 executions have been halted by reprieve.
1 warrant has been withdrawn/removed/vacated/rescheduled.
1 failed execution was halted when execution personnel were unable to set an IV line.
1 prisoner has died on death row while his warrant was pending.
9 death warrants are pending.^

Texas Execution today : John Henry Ramirez EXECUTED 6.41PM


10.05.2022

UPDATE 10.06.2022

In the execution chamber, his spiritual adviser, Dana Moore, placed his right hand on the inmate’s chest, and held it there for the duration. With his back to witnesses, Moore offered a brief prayer.

“Look upon John with your grace,” he prayed. “Grant him peace. Grant all of us peace.” As Moore’s prayer ended, Ramirez responded: “Amen.”

After the prayer, Ramirez addressed five of Castro’s relatives — including four of his children — as they watched through a window a few feet from him. “I have regret and remorse,” he said.” This is such a heinous act. I hope this finds you comfort. If this helps you, then I am glad.

I hope in some shape or form this helps you find closure.”

Ramirez expressed love to his wife, son and friends, concluding with: “Just know that I fought a good fight, and I am ready to go.”

As the lethal dose of pentobarbital took effect, he took several short breaths then began snoring. Within a minute, all movement stopped. Ramirez was pronounced dead 14 minutes later, at 6:41 p.m. CDT.

John Henry Ramirez, 38, was sentenced to death over the 2004 fatal stabbing of 46-year-old convenience store clerk Pablo Castro during a drug-fueled string of robberies.

His execution date was delayed last year after Ramirez claimed his religious freedom was being violated because state prison rules prevented his pastor from touching him and praying aloud during the procedure.

Ramirez’s fight ended up clarifying the role of spiritual advisers in death chambers nationwide after the US Supreme Court sided with the convicted murderer in March.

The court ruled that states must accommodate the wishes of death row inmates who want to have their religious leaders

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined on Monday to commute Ramirez’s death sentence to a lesser penalty.

Ramirez has exhausted all possible appeals and there is no final request to the Supreme Court planned, his attorney Seth Kretzer said.

Ramirez was convicted of stabbing Castro 29 times in a robbery that cops said was the culmination of a three-day binge fueled by a mix of pot, pills, booze and cocaine — and yielded him just $1.25.

He fled to Mexico immediately after but was arrested 3 1/2 years later.

If Ramirez’s execution goes ahead as planned, he would be the third inmate put to death this year in Texas and the 11th in the country.

Execution warrant sought for Nevada death row inmate Zane Floyd


As lawmakers weigh the future of capital punishment in Nevada, Clark County prosecutors plan to seek a warrant of execution for a death row inmate.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, deputies from District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s appellate division could ask a judge to sign the paperwork for Zane Floyd in the coming weeks.

The 45-year-old Floyd was convicted of killing four people and wounding another inside a Las Vegas supermarket in June 1999.

The Review-Journal reports that Floyd’s federal appeals were exhausted last November. However, a bill introduced in the state Assembly would make Nevada the 24th state to abolish the death penalty and the sentences of 70 men on Death Row would be commuted to life in prison. 

Zane Floyd