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 Set To Execute Inmate Who Murdered A Man Over $8

Juan Garcia
Juan Garcia
Juan Garcia is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday for fatally shooting a man during a 1998 robbery in which he stole $8.

Texas is set to execute Juan Martin Garcia on October 6 for the 1998 murder of Hugo Solano during a robbery.

Garcia, 35, is sentenced to die for fatally shooting Solano, a Mexican missionary in Houston, during a robbery where then 18-year-old Garcia stole $8.

Garcia had 3 other accomplices, 2 of whom are serving sentences related to the robbery and 1 was paroled after serving 14 years of a 30-year sentence.

Garcia's lawyers have unsuccessfully appealed to the courts that Garcia suffered from ineffective counsel during his trial and is intellectually disabled making him ineligible for the death penalty. In March, the Supreme Court also refused to intervene in the case.

Garcia has appealed to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant him clemency. He has no outstanding appeals, his lawyer told the Houston Chronicle.

Garcia's lawyers have argued that he had an "extremely poor school record" according to his friends and family. His mother had testified that he was a slow learner enrolled in special education classes. He also had "significant limitations in his adaptive functioning," which he exhibited before committing the crime, according to his lawyers.

However the courts have denied his appeals stating there was no evidence, such as school records and IQ test scores, to prove his intellectual disability.

His lawyers also argued that Garcia's trial counsel had failed to show that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his "tortured childhood" at the hands of an abusive stepfather.

Garcia would become the 11th inmate executed in Texas this year, the most of any state.

While several states have faced a shortage in the supply of lethal injection drugs, Texas has been consistently able to procure pentobarbital which it uses in its 1-drug execution protocol. The state is making its own execution drugs and supplied it to Virginia for the execution of serial killer Alfredo Prieto on Oct. 1, the Virginia Department of Corrections confirmed.

Garcia, who started committing crimes at the age of 12, was involved in several aggravated robberies by the time he was 18. He engaged in a crime spree with his accomplices before and after the murder of Solano.

On Sept. 17, 1998, Garcia and his 3 accomplices approached Solano, 36, who was walking to his van in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Garcia demanded money from Solano and then fatally shot him 3 times in head as he sat in his car. He took $8 in cash from the victim.

Garcia was arrested 11 days later when he was found with the murder weapon while being pulled over in a traffic stop. He confessed to the crime after his arrest.

In a 2010 post titled "Letters to a Future Death Row Inmate" featured on the Minutes Before Six blog, Garcia wrote:
"People can sentence another to die only if they think he isn't human, so the only thing a prosecutor ever has to do is make you a dog.
No, dogs get national campaigns to save them from the pound. They just have to make you into something that can be killed free of guilt. That's all.
They don't want to hear about the hells of your childhood, the rough life you had and it makes me so mad that I never tried to get help, maybe I would still be out there, who knows."

Source: BuzzFeed News, October 5, 2015

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