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Texas puts Quintin Jones to death in first execution in 10 months

Texas puts Quintin Jones to death in first execution in 10 months
Quintin Jones was executed for the 1999 slaying of his great-aunt, Berthena Bryant. File Photo courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

May 19 (UPI) -- Texas on Wednesday carried out its first execution after a 10-month hiatus with the lethal injection of a man convicted of killing an 83-year-old relative over $30.

State corrections officials pronounced Quintin Jones, 41, dead at 6:40 p.m. at the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, The Texas Tribune reported. He was convicted 20 years ago of the 1999 murder of his great-aunt, Berthena Bryant.

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The lethal injection came hours after the U.S. Supreme Court declined a petition by Jones' lawyers seeking a stay of execution. The court documents said the state unconstitutionally denied his intellectual disability claim and used now-discredited expert testimony during the sentencing phase of his trial to assess Jones' future danger potential.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Jones' application for a stay on May 12, and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted against clemency on Tuesday, according to The Texas Tribune.

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Jones also filed a lawsuit against the parole board Wednesday, accusing it of racial discrimination. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has granted clemency to only one person, Thomas "Bart" Whitaker, who is White. Jones, meanwhile, is Black.

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"The same grounds for clemency that were found to be meritorious in Whitaker's case are present and equally strong in Mr. Jones' case," the lawsuit reads.

U.S. District Judge George Hanks Jr. of the Southern District of Texas, denied the stay application and dismissed Jones' lawsuit.

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Jones confessed to killing Bryant, saying he beat her with a baseball bat after she refused to loan him money. He ultimately took $30 from her purse and stole her car, which he later abandoned in a parking lot.

He told police another man named James lived in his head and blamed the murder on this other personality.

Texas' most recent execution occurred last July when Billy Joe Wardlow was put to death. The state executed three people in 2020, the fewest in nearly 25 years.

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Texas delayed multiple scheduled executions due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Gov. Greg Abbott could delay the execution by 30 days without a recommendation from the board, but he's never done so.

Jones was the fourth person put to death in the United States in 2021. The federal government executed three federal death row inmates in January before President Donald Trump left office.

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