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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…

Ohio executes Clarence Carter

Clarence Carter
LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A man was executed Tuesday for beating and stomping to death a fellow jail inmate days after the two had argued over what to watch on television.

Clarence Carter, 49, died at 10:25 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. He was the second inmate killed using the surgical sedative pentobarbital as a stand-alone execution drug.

Carter, who was waiting to be sentenced for aggravated murder in 1988 when he attacked Johnny Allen Jr., looked to see if any of Allen's family members were present. Seeing none, he still delivered an apology.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry for what I did, especially to his mother. I ask God for forgiveness and them for forgiveness," he said.

He smiled at his brother and appeared to pray as the lethal injection began. After several deep breaths, his eyes closed. He fell silent about a minute into the procedure.

Allen's mother did not attend, but released a statement saying she has no animosity against Carter and has forgiven him.

"But my forgiveness of him will never ease the pain of the loss of my son," she wrote.

Allen died two weeks after the December 1988 beating in the Hamilton County jail in Cincinnati. Investigators said Carter punched, choked, kicked and stomped on Allen for a half-hour period, periodically stopping to mop blood from his sneakers. Witnesses said Carter had punched Allen in the eye earlier in the month when one of the men changed a TV channel.

Allen was being held on a theft charge. Carter was in the jail waiting to be sentenced on a prior conviction of aggravated murder in the death of Michael Hadnot. He told the Ohio Parole Board in February that Hadnot was a fellow drug trafficker he killed over the theft of drugs, money and incriminating documents from an operation in which both were involved.

Witnessing the execution were Carter's brother, Lamarck Carter, and an attorney. They clasped hands after the execution, and Carter smiled.

Carter's lawyers argued against the execution, claiming Allen's killing was not premeditated, that Allen was a former U.S. Army soldier who likely instigated the fight and that the inmates used as witnesses were unreliable. They said Carter is borderline mentally disabled and that his upbringing was marked by violent role models, including a stepfather who beat him when he stuttered and a cousin who paid him 50 cents to fight other children.

Gov. John Kasich denied clemency last week, based on a unanimous recommendation of the parole board.

Carter had been scheduled for execution in 2007, but was spared by a lawsuit pending at the time that challenged lethal injection.

That year, the parole board had voted 6-3 against clemency, with those dissenting saying they were troubled by what appeared to be contradictory or inaccurate testimony by inmate witnesses.

Carter becomes the 3rd condemned inmate in Ohio to be put to death this year and the 44th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1999.

Carter becomes the 12th condemned individual to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1246th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977

Source: AP, Rick Halperin, April 12, 2011
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