Lawyers for a Texas inmate convicted of capital murder in the 1999 stabbing death of a prison guard have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his Tuesday execution.
Robert Lynn Pruett is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. in Huntsville for the fatal stabbing of Daniel Nagle, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice correctional officer. If the execution is carried out, Pruett will be the seventh inmate put to death this year by lethal injection, and the 525th in Texas since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.
According to court documents, Pruett was serving a 99-year sentence at the McConnell Unit in Bee County for his role in a Houston-area murder when he attempted to take his sack lunch into the prison's recreation area, in violation of the prison's rules.
Pruett was stopped by Nagle and informed a disciplinary memo would be filed against him for the infraction. Nagle was found later in his office, stabbed seven times. He died of a heart attack. A shank made of a metal rod sharpened at one end was found near the body, along with the torn-up disciplinary memo against Pruett.
Pruett has insisted he is innocent and claims he was framed. He testified at his trial that he was in another part of the prison when the murder occurred.
If the Supreme Court does not intervene and the execution proceeds, the state of Texas will nearing the end of its current supply of pentobarbital, the drug used by TDCJ to execute prisoners.
Agency spokesman Jason Clark confirmed Monday that the agency only has enough pentobarbital for two more executions, including Pruett's.