Tribpedia: Death Penalty

The death penalty is the ultimate punishment for capital murder convictions in Texas, which leads the nation in the number of executions since the practice resumed in 1976.

The state has adopted various methods to administer the death penalty over the years, including hanging (1819-1923), electrocution (1924-1964) and lethal injection (1977-today), according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's ...

Considering the Toll of War in a Death Penalty Debate

Dennis and Patty Thuesen look through photos of their son John from his childhood and his service in the military. John, an Iraq war veteran, is appealing his death sentence for the murders of his girlfriend and her brother, Rachel and Travis Joiner, claiming that lawyers at his original trial did not adequately inform jurors about his PTSD.
Dennis and Patty Thuesen look through photos of their son John from his childhood and his service in the military. John, an Iraq war veteran, is appealing his death sentence for the murders of his girlfriend and her brother, Rachel and Travis Joiner, claiming that lawyers at his original trial did not adequately inform jurors about his PTSD.

Lawyers for Iraq War veteran John Thuesen are appealing the former Marine's death sentence, arguing that his original trial lawyers didn't adequately explain the post-traumatic stress that Thuesen had suffered. But prosecutors say post-traumatic stress was not to blame for the cold-blooded double murder that Thuesen committed in 2009.

Year in Review: Criminal Justice

Fallout from the high-profile Michael Morton exoneration along with more prison closures and growing concerns about the mentally ill in Texas prisons dominated criminal justice headlines in 2013.

 

The death row file for Marvin Wilson, who was executed in 2012 for the 1992 murder of Jerry Robert Williams of Beaumont. Wilson's lawyers argued that he was mentally retarded and unfit for execution.
The death row file for Marvin Wilson, who was executed in 2012 for the 1992 murder of Jerry Robert Williams of Beaumont. Wilson's lawyers argued that he was mentally retarded and unfit for execution.

Court May Clarify Rule on Impairment, Death Penalty

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the case of a Florida death row inmate — who claims he does not have the mental capacity to face execution — could provide more guidance to states like Texas.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/16/13

M. Smith drops in on state textbook hearings, E. Smith interviews Tom Pauken, Satija on water rationing along the Colorado River, Root probes Dan Patrick’s unexpected investment, KUT’s Philpott sorts out clinic closings, Murphy maps the latest census data, MacLaggan on a welcome turn in poverty, Malewitz finds a race for energy efficiency, Hamilton reports on better grades for Sul Ross, Grissom on bad grades for the death penalty, Batheja on Debra Medina’s dilemma, Aguilar on the glum forecast for immigration reform and Aaronson looks at the latest hurdle for Obamacare: The best of our best for the week of Sept. 16-20, 2013.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.

DNA Testing Mandate Gets Early House Approval

The Texas House gave early approval on Tuesday to a requirement that the Department of Public Safety perform DNA testing on all biological evidence prior to the start of cases that involve the death penalty.

Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.
Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.

Execution for Prison Guard Murder Delayed for DNA Tests

Death row inmate Robert Pruett will get a 60-day reprieve from his May 21 execution date after his lawyers filed a request for DNA testing Thursday, arguing that it could prove Pruett did not murder a prison guard in 2002.

Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.
Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.

Pending Execution Revives Prison Staffing Debate

Officials of a prison workers' union say that understaffing had a role in the 1999 murder of a correctional officer, who was fatally stabbed by an inmate. They say such issues continue to exist and put officers in danger today. 

Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo
Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo

Lawmakers Urge New Hearing in Death Penalty Case

More than 100 elected officials, religious officials and lawyers have sent a letter to the Harris County district attorney's office urging a new hearing in the case of Duane Buck, who they say was unfairly sentenced to death because of an expert witness's testimony.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.

Senate Committee Passes DNA Testing Bill

UPDATED: Attorney General Greg Abbott is supporting a bill by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, that would require DNA testing of "all biological evidence" in cases where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/18/13

Grissom begins a gripping series on mental health and criminal justice, Hamilton and White on the Senate’s defense of UT-Austin, Murphy’s interactive look at public school test scores, Ramshaw finds the governor digging in on the Medicaid expansion, Rocha and Dehn visit a weapons maker with Ted Cruz, M. Smith explores another angle on unpopular standardized testing, Batheja on a car that drives right past state laws, Aguilar reports on the other immigration problem, Aaronson on a break in the race for a cancer cure: The best of our best for the week of February 18-22, 2012.

Andre Thomas with his son, Andre Thomas Jr.
Andre Thomas with his son, Andre Thomas Jr.

Andre Thomas: Services Scarce for Troubled Youths

During his troubled adolescence, lawyers for death row inmate Andre Thomas say he never received the mental health care he needed. In Texas, there are few mechanisms to diagnose and treat youths who suffer from mental illness.

Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo
Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo

Call for a New Execution Date Revives Race Debate

Harris County prosecutors will seek a new execution date on Monday for death row inmate Duane Buck. His defenders say race played a role in his death sentence. Prosecutors say courts have "thoroughly reviewed" and rejected his claims.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 1/7/13

Batheja on growing calls for infrastructure spending, Dehn and Rocha report on voters’ legislative wishes, Murphy counts noses in the new Legislature, KUT’s Philpott sniffs out a push for tax relief, M. Smith tracks House Speaker Joe Straus after his re-election, Kalifa’s lovely time-lapse look at the Legislature’s first day, Aaronson on the Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on hopes for immigration reform, Grissom on the tribulations of Kerry Max Cook, Hamilton looks into a college curriculum battle, and E. Smith’s TribLive interview with Michael Williams: The best of our best for the week of Jan. 7, 2013.