Death penalty

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it’s changed, whom it affects and its future. The following story is from KERA.

Texas is slated to execute Terry Edwards on Thursday evening. Barring an unexpected reprieve, Edwards will be the second man executed by the state this year. In Texas, 242 people sit on death row awaiting execution. Long the leading executioner in the U.S., the Lone Star State put to death fewer people last year than it has in two decades.

Ryan Poppe

How Texas determines whether someone has the intellectual capacity to be sentenced to death is being examined by the nation’s highest court on Tuesday.  The Supreme Court made it clear no person with intellectual disabilities is to be executed but how Texas determines who fits that criteria is what is at stake this week.

In 1980, Bobby Moore was convicted for shooting a store clerk during a Houston robbery and later sentenced to die.  Moore’s IQ score ranges from 50 to 70 points, a person with average intelligence has an IQ score between 85 and 114.

Texas Will See Lowest Number of Executions in 20 Years

Oct 11, 2016

For the first time in 20 years, the number of Texas executions will fall out of double digits this year.

The seven men put to death this year are the fewest since 1996, when executions halted amid legal challenges to a new state law intended to hasten the death penalty appeals process, according to data from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Only one more execution is scheduled for 2016.

“There is clearly a change going on in Texas,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in the case of Duane Buck, a convicted Texas murderer sentenced to die after a psychologist testified that he was more likely to commit violent crimes in the future because he is black.

Buck shot and killed his ex-girlfriend in front of her three children while she begged for her life. He killed the man he thought she was sleeping with and he shot his own stepsister, Phyllis Taylor, who survived the horrific night.

More than five months after its last execution, Texas is set to execute Barney Ronald Fuller Jr., who was convicted of killing two of his neighbors.

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