Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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…

Mark Anthony Gonzales gets death sentence for Texas deputy's ambush slaying

Mark Anthony Gonzales
Mark Anthony Gonzales
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A man has been sentenced to death by lethal injection for the random 2011 ambush slaying of a deputy stopped at a traffic light in San Antonio.

A Bexar (BEAR) County jury deliberated about 17 hours before recommending death for Mark Anthony Gonzalez for the fatal shooting of Bexar County Sheriff's Sgt. Kenneth Vann. 

The deputy was shot while responding to a non-emergency call in his patrol car. 

Testimony showed Vann was shot 46 times with an assault rifle for no apparent reason after Gonzales pulled up next to his patrol car at Rigsby Avenue and Loop 410.

Investigators say Gonzalez was drunk and on anti-depression medication when he opened fire on Vann, leaving his body unrecognizable.

Gonzales, who never took the stand during his trial, showed no emotion as 175th District Court Judge Mary Roman read the [guilty] verdict.

His mother, Ninfa Gonzales, said she didn’t believe her son was given a fair trial because she said the jury only heard “the bad things, not the good things about him.”

She also said, “My son is not guilty because he wasn’t OK when this happened.”

His attorney claimed Gonzales was high on alcohol and Xanax, angry and depressed, and that he’d suffered a concussion a week earlier.

“There was no argument of the fact he did commit this crime. Even the defense said he did it,” Vann’s widow said.

Jurors could have opted for life imprisonment without parole for Gonzalez but decided he was a threat to society.

Gonzalez is only the third Texan to receive the death penalty this year.

Sources: The Associated Press, KSAT12, October 19-21, 2015

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