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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…

U.S. court denies motion to halt execution of long-serving Texas inmate

Lester Bower
Lester Bower
A federal appeals court has denied an application to halt the June execution of Lester Bower, one of the longest-serving inmates on death row in Texas, for killing 4 men at an airport hangar in 1983.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday denied a petition from Bower's lawyers, who said his planned execution on June 3 should be halted on grounds that his previous sentencing did not match U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Bower, 67, who has been imprisoned for more than 30 years, is set to be executed by injection at the state's death chamber in Huntsville.

His lawyers have tried for more than 2 decades to have his conviction thrown out, saying he was found guilty due to faulty witness testimony.

Bower has denied being at the hangar where the murders took place but authorities said aircraft parts found in his home and other evidence implicated him in the crimes.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by lawyers for Bower, who argued that three decades on death row amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

According to Bower's court filings, he has faced imminent execution on 6 occasions during his time in prison.

Bower was convicted of fatally shooting building contractor Bob Tate, former police officer Ronald Mayes, sheriff's deputy Philip Good and interior designer Jerry Brown, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

Bower killed Tate to steal an ultralight airplane Tate was selling and then killed the other 3 when they unexpectedly showed up at the hangar, it said.

Source: Reuters, May 23, 2015

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