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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…

San Quentin Death Row inmate slashes an officer in the shower

San Quentin's Death Row
San Quentin's Death Row
A Death Row inmate at San Quentin State Prison slashed a correctional officer with a makeshift weapon inside one of the facility’s showers — a decade after he pulled a similar attack on another correctional officer, authorities said Monday.

Richard Penunuri, 38, attacked the officer shortly after 3 p.m. on Oct. 3 as he was being secured in a shower stall at the prison’s East Block Housing Unit, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The officer was removing Penunuri handcuffs in the shower when the condemned prisoner quickly grabbed the officer’s right arm and slashed it with a homemade weapon, officials said.

The officer sustained a significant injury to his forearm and was taken to a hospital outside of the prison for treatment. Authorities said the guard is expected to make a full recovery.

Penunuri, one of 749 inmates housed in the prison’s Death Row, was sentenced in Los Angeles County on Feb. 1, 2001 for the 1997 gang-related slayings of Bryan Molina, 17, and Michael Murillo, 18. The victims were not gang members and were “unintended targets,” prison officials said.

Penunuri was also convicted on an additional count of first-degree murder after he ordered a hit on a witness, Jamie Castillo, to prevent him from testifying in the double-murder trial.

In 2006, Penunuri slashed another San Quentin correctional officer on the arm as he was being locked into his cell, prompting a prison-wide lockdown. The wound nearly reached the officer’s bone and required 30 stitches, officials said.

Penunuri will receive a rules violation for last week’s attack, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the department. Officials investigating the incident will provide their findings to the Marin County district attorney’s office, which will decide whether to press charges, she said.

Source: SF Gate, October 10, 2016

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