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…

Florida: Gov. Rick Scott signs death warrant for serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin

Oscar Ray Bolin
Oscar Ray Bolin
Gov. Rick Scott signed a death warrant Friday for serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin, one of the most notorious criminals in Tampa Bay history.

The governor ordered that Bolin be put to death for the 1986 slaying of 26-year-old Teri Lynn Matthews.

He is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Jan. 7 at Florida State Prison, near Starke. But his death warrant will trigger another appeal as well.

It is the 1st death warrant for Bolin, 53, who has been tried 10 times for 3 murders over the past 2 decades. His convictions were repeatedly overturned on appeal.

2 death sentences stuck for the murders of Matthews and 17-year-old Stephanie Collins, who vanished in November 1986 from a Carrollwood shopping plaza.

Collins' brother, Michael, said he plans to attend the execution with his brother and their mother.

Bolin is also serving a life sentence for the murder of Natalie Holley, a 25-year-old restaurant manager, whose body was found in a Tampa orange grove in January 1986.

Matthews was abducted from a Land O'Lakes post office in the early morning of Dec. 5, 1986. Her car was found in the parking lot with the engine running and the driver's side door open. Her mail was scattered on the ground.

Her body was found the same day, wrapped in a sheet on the side of a rural Pasco County road. She had been raped and bludgeoned to death with a wooden club.

The case went unsolved until 1990. That year, Bolin's ex-wife told authorities he had committed the murder.

His half-brother, Phillip Bolin, later testified that he was with his brother when Matthews was killed. The younger Bolin, who was 13 at the time, recalled seeing Matthews' body wrapped in a sheet on the ground outside his house. He said he saw his brother beat Matthews with a club before loading her body into the back of a truck.

The spot where her body was found was about 500 yards from the home where the brothers once lived.

Bolin, a former carnival worker known as "Needles," is suspected of other murders. He and a cousin were once accused of killing a 30-year-old woman in Texas. Prosecutors there did not seek an indictment, saying the Florida cases were stronger.

The death warrant came a day after the state executed Jerry Correll, an Orlando man convicted of killing his daughter, ex-wife, her mother, and sister in 1985.

Correll's was the 1st execution to take place in the state 10 months. It was the 22nd execution authorized by Scott, who has presided over more executions than any other governor since Florida reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, October 31, 2015

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