June 13, 2021

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Texas inmate convicted of fatally beating elderly great-aunt to die by lethal injection | TheHill – The Hill

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A Texas inmate convicted of fatally beating his elderly great-aunt more than 20 years ago is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday.

Prosecutors determined that Quentin Jones, 41, killed 83-year-old Berthena Bryant in September 1999, after she refused to loan him money, according to The Associated Press. Jones beat Bryant with a bat at her home in Forth Worth before taking $30 from her purse to purchase drugs.

The AP reports that some members of Jones’s family asked that his life be spared, but the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously denied his petition, and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is not expected to break from that decision.

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On Wednesday, an attorney for Jones, who is Black, filed a civil rights complaint against the board claiming that race played “an impermissible role” in its rejection of his petition, according to the wire service.

His attorney argued that Jones’s case was similar to that of Thomas Whitaker, a white man whose death sentence was commuted by Abbott in 2018. Whitaker, who was behind the fatal shootings of his mother and brother, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. reportedly dismissed the complaint, writing “while Jones raises troubling allegations, he has not substantiated them.”

Jones also went to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask for his execution to be stopped, according to the AP. A lower appeals court, however, denied his request.

Prosecutors in the case, in court documents filed last week, argued that there are grounds for a death sentence against Jones because he has a violent history, which includes assaulting teachers and taking part in two other murders.

In a video published by The New York Times, Jones is seen asking Abbott to grant him clemency, saying he would use the remainder of his life behind bars “to better myself and to better others along the way.”

If Jones’s death sentence is carried out, it will be the first time a Texas inmate dies by lethal injection since July 8, when Billy Joe Wardlow was executed, the AP reported. Four other executions had been scheduled, but they were ultimately delayed or rescheduled.

According to the AP, Texas executed only three inmates in 2020, its fewest in nearly 25 years. The state usually sees one of the highest numbers of capital punishments in the U.S.

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