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…

Texas: Gabriel Hall sentenced to death by lethal injection

Gabriel Hall
Gabriel Hall
After more than seven hours of deliberation, a Brazos County jury has sentenced Gabriel Hall to die by lethal injection.

Hall was convicted Sept. 11 in the 2011 slaying of Edwin Shaar, who was shot and stabbed. Hall also seriously injured Shaar's wife, Linda.

The jury began deliberations shortly after 12:30 p.m.

Jurors did not vote on life in prison or the death penalty, instead, they were instructed to answer two questions presented by the court in its instruction.

First, they had to decide if there was a probability that Hall would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society.

Ten votes were needed for a "no" answer, 12 votes are needed for a "yes."

Because the jury answered yes, it moved on to question two: whether there was anything in the defendant's character, background or moral culpability that bears a specific mitigating circumstance to warrant life in prison over the death penalty.

Jurors found nothing significantly mitigating to warrant life in prison.

Many of the jurors cried as Judge Travis Bryan III delivered the sentence. Gabriel Hall showed no emotion.

District Attorney Jarvis Parsons said he felt mixed emotions after the sentence was delivered. He said anyone who is human realizes the magnitude of what happened.

“It’s not something you feel joy about, because it’s a tragedy on both sides,” Parsons said. “We don’t take any pleasure in what happened, we just hope it gives some sense of peace to the Shaar family.”

Linda Shaar and her son were present for closing arguments, but didn’t stay for the verdict.

Defense attorneys declined to comment.

Death sentences are automatically sent to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for review.

Source: The Eagle, Jake Walker, October 7, 2015

After rare 10-month respite, Texas death row gets 1st new inmate in 2015

Death row in Texas is getting its 1st new inmate in 2015, ending a 10-month hiatus in death sentences imposed by juries in the nation's most active capital punishment state.

A Brazos County jury decided after 7 hours of deliberation Wednesday that 22-year-old Gabriel Hall should be put to death for an attack that left a 68-year-old man dead and his wife injured at the couple's home in College Station.

It is the 1st death sentence imposed in Texas since last December.

Jurors rejected the option of sending Hall to prison for life with no chance of parole - the outcome in 3 other Texas capital cases this year where the death penalty was a possibility.

Brazos County is about 100 miles northwest of Houston.

Source: Associated Press, October 8, 2015

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