The state of Texas in the United States executed its oldest death row inmate on Thursday, more than three decades after he was found guilty, despite the plea for pardon of those who opposed the death penalty.
Carl Buntion, 78, received a lethal injection before being declared dead at 18:39 (2339 GMT) at the Huntsville, Texas prison, according to a document from the Texas prison services.
i regret what i did
“I regret what I did,” Carl Buntion said in his final words. “I’m ready to go.”
Authorities said in a first in Texas, a “spiritual counselor” was able to be with him and touch him during the execution.
Outside the high red-brick walls of Huntsville prison, dozens of people gathered to support him, as several demonstrators shouted “execution is not the solution,” pointed out an AFP reporter at the scene.
The family of the victim, who was a police officer, was also present.
Execution in Tennessee delayed due to surveillance in preparation for lethal injection
The state of Tennessee was to execute the oldest inmate sentenced to death on Thursday, according to Governor Bill Lee’s tweet.
“An oversight in the preparation of the lethal injection”
He said Oscar Smith’s execution would not take place in the evening “due to a carelessness in the preparation of the lethal injection” and that a “temporary adjournment” should be given to resolve the issue.
Oscar Smith, 72, was found guilty of murdering his estranged wife and two sons in 1989.
So far, all of Oscar Smith’s appeals have been denied. His lawyers filed a final appeal to the Supreme Court. “After a thorough review of Oscar Smith’s pardon application and careful review of the case, the State of Tennessee’s sentence will apply and I will not intervene,” Bill Lee said on Tuesday. Said.
A decision was later deemed “extremely disappointing” for Mr Smith’s lawyer. The latter has “claimed his innocence for more than three decades”, according to CNN Amy Harwell, who claims that new DNA analysis techniques on the murder weapon have proven their denial.
Final appeal to Supreme Court unsuccessful
Carl Buntion’s lawyers stated that they filed a final appeal to the United States Supreme Court, but without success.
Carl Buntion’s defenders were no longer trying to prove his innocence. However, in Texas, a major state in the conservative South with the highest number of executions in the United States, a person can be sentenced to death only if a jury decides they represent a future danger to others.
However, Mr. Buntion, who suffers specifically from osteoarthritis, dizziness, hepatitis and cirrhosis, “can no longer be dangerous”, appealed to his lawyers for pardon and the Texas parole commission for being denied.
In June 1990, the man, raised by an alcoholic and abusive father, had been convicted thirteen times and was paroled for sexually assaulting a child. In response to a widespread traffic violation in Houston, Carl Buntion shot and killed police officer James Irby.
Sentencing the death penalty, he had seen this verdict overturned in 2009 by the highest Texas court, which felt that the defense could not be properly heard by the jurors. But in 2012 he was sentenced to death again.
Carl Buntion was isolated in his cell 23 hours a day for 20 years.
In Texas, the execution of Carl Buntion should follow the planned April 27 execution of Melissa Lucio, who was accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter in 2007. and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who, along with Republicans, has helped her advocates publicize what she calls the failure of justice.