Texas carried out its first execution after a 10-month break on Wednesday, with the lethal injection of a man accused of murdering an 83-year-old relative for more than $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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
The most recent execution in Texas occurred in July of this year, when Billy Joe Wardlow was executed. In 2020, the state killed three people, the fewest in almost 25 years.
Texas postponed a number of planned executions due to COVID-19 delays. Gov. Greg Abbott has the authority to postpone the execution by 30 days without the board’s recommendation, but he has never done so.
Jones becomes the fourth male to be executed in the United States in 2021. Before President Donald Trump left office, the federal government executed three federal death row prisoners in January.