A Texas man convicted of beating his 83-year-old great-aunt to death more than two decades ago was executed Wednesday evening.
Quintin Jones received the lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the September 1999 killing of Berthena Bryant.
Prosecutors said after Bryant refused to lend Jones money, he beat her with a bat in her Forth Worth home then took $30 from her purse to buy drugs.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to halt the 41-year-old man’s execution.
Some of Bryant’s family members, including her sister Mattie Long, had said they didn’t want Jones to be executed. Jones is Long’s grandnephew.
“Because I was so close to Bert, her death hurt me a lot. Even so, 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’ clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The board denied the clemency petition on Tuesday and Gov. Greg Abbott declined to delay the execution.
On Wednesday, Jones’ attorney filed a civil rights complaint against the board, claiming that race played “an impermissible role” in its denial of Jones’ petition.
U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. dismissed the complaint, writing that Jones didn’t present direct evidence of his allegation.
Helena Faulkner, a Tarrant County district attorney whose office prosecuted Jones, said not all of Bryant’s family members had opposed the execution.
In his final appeals, Jones’ attorney, Michael Mowla, argued that Jones was intellectually disabled and that his death sentence was based on since-discredited testimony that labeled him as a psychopath and a future danger.
Mowla also said Jones’ history of drug and alcohol abuse that started at age 12 and the physical and sexual abuse he suffered were never considered at his trial.
Jones was the first inmate in Texas to receive a lethal injection since the July 8 execution of Billy Joe Wardlow. Four other executions had been set for earlier this year but were either delayed or rescheduled.
While Texas is usually the nation’s busiest death penalty state, in 2020 it executed only three inmates — the fewest executions in nearly 25 years.
Jones had asked for his death sentence to be commuted to life in prison, saying he was not the same person who killed his great-aunt and that he had sought redemption during his more than two decades on death row.
In a video published by The New York Times, Jones asked Abbott to grant him clemency, saying he would use the rest of his life in prison “to better myself and to better others along the way.”
In court documents filed last week, prosecutors argued the death sentence was justified because Jones had a violent history, including assaulting teachers and participating in two other murders.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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