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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Texas death-row inmate Ronnie Neal found dead in Polunsky Unit cell

Typical death row cell at Polunsky Unit
Ronnie Neal, convicted in the November 2004 robbery, rape and death of Robbins Academy schoolteacher Diane Tilly, was found dead this weekend in his state prison cell, Bexar County officials confirmed Tuesday.

Neal, 39, was inside his death row cell at the Polunsky Unit, Bexar County First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said. He said prison officials notified his office of the death Monday.

Neal and his teenage daughter, Pearl Cruz, were convicted in 2006. Neal was sentenced to death, and Cruz received a 30-year prison term.

Tilly, 58, the lead teacher at the alternative high school in Alamo Heights, was tricked into letting Cruz into her house. Her body was left in a field and discovered 2 weeks after she was reported missing.

The case drew widespread interest, drawing a national television show, Court TV's "Forensic Files," to San Antonio for a segment on the Tilly murder.

Herberg said authorities have not determined what caused Neal's death (1). Neal was awaiting an execution date.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, June 17, 2010

(1) Addendum by Gloria Rubac, NACDP: "Ronnie Neal killed himself--cause of death is suicide. The men that lived by him said he had been talking about it and planning it all week. Even said he would do it on Sunday since there were fewer guards or something like that. But this was to fake out his friends as he did it on Saturday. He had packed up his belongings and given away his personal property.

Ronnie overdosed on pills that he had saved up. One of the guys even told a guard, trying to prevent it and they took away a bottle of pills but then gave them back?!?!? Gotta wonder about the mentality of the people who work there.
Life on Texas death row kills the men, some faster than others."

Click here to see recent annotated pictures of the living conditions on Texas' Death Row.

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