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 death penalty facts page.

The procedure involves injecting a lethal dose of pentobarbital, which sedates the inmate, and then pancuronium bromide to relax the diaphragm and lungs. A final injection of potassium chloride stops the heart. Inmates are typically pronounced dead about seven minutes after the process begins.

The state added pentobarbital to the drug cocktail on March 16 after the only American producer of sodium thiopental, Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill., announced in January that it would stop selling the drug. Sodium thiopental was used since 1982 as part of the combination of drugs in executions.

Death row inmates Cleve Foster and Humberto Leal are suing the state, alleging the department violated state transparency laws by making in secret the decision to use the new drug. They say the process of choosing the new drug requires public input, according to the Administrative Procedure Act.

Capital murder crimes: 

  • Murder of a public safety officer or firefighter
  • Murder during the commission of kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, or obstruction or retaliation
  • Murder for remuneration
  • Murder during prison escape
  • Murder of a correctional employee
  • Murder by a state prison inmate who is serving a life sentence for any of five offenses (murder, capital murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated robbery)
  • Multiple murders
  • Murder of an individual under 6 years of age

Images

 Paul Storey was sentenced to death for the Oct. 16, 2006 murder of Jonas Cherry.
Bobby Moore has been on death row since 1980, convicted of murdering James McCarble, a 72-year-old grocery clerk, during a robbery. 
Mike Silva Willie Freeman Christopher Wilkins is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 11, 2017, for the 2005 murder of two men in Fort Worth. Bobby Moore, a man who has been on death row since 1980, will have his case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Annette and Nathan Copeland, the couple killed by Barney Fuller, who is set to be executed on Oct. 5, 2016. Annette and Nathan Copeland, the couple killed by Barney Fuller, who is set to be executed on Oct. 5, 2016. Barney Ronald Fuller Jr. was executed Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Texas death row inmate, Jeffrey Lee Wood. Mitzie and Danny Wood, parents of Jeff Wood, at a rally in July 2016 at the Governor's mansion. Their son, Jeff, was sent to death row under the controversial law of parties statute. Supporters of Jeff Wood gathered on July 23, 2016, in front of the Governor's Mansion to rally against his scheduled August execution. Terri Been, sister of Jeff Wood, addresses supporters gathered in front of the Governor's Mansion Saturday to rally against his execution next month. Wood sits on Death Row, convicted under the controversial Law of Parties statute. Charles Don Flores, on death row for the 1998 murder of 64-year-old Elizabeth Black during a burglary. Scott Panetti, Randall Mays and Robert Roberson Demond Bluntson, charged with capital murder in the shooting death of two young boys in a Laredo, Texas. John Battaglia and his two daughters, Liberty (l.) and Faith, who he murdered on May 1, 2001. John Battaglia James Garrett Freeman shot and killed Justin Hurst, a game warden, in 2007, according to court documents. Julius Murphy was sentenced to death row in 1998. Robert Lynn Pruett, scheduled to be executed Tuesday night in Huntsville for the 1999 murder of a Bee County prison guard. Attorney David Dow. Manuel Vasquez, convicted for his part in the 1998 capital murder of a San Antonio woman, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night. Death row inmate Rodney Reed, scheduled to be executed on March 5, 2015. Death row inmate Donald Newbury. (L-R) Scott Panetti, Rodney Reed and Bernie Tiede. Outgoing Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tom Price. Death row inmate Scott Panetti. Lisa Ann Coleman, scheduled to be executed Wednesday for the 2004 starvation death of Davontae Marcell Williams, the 9-year-old son of her girlfriend, Marcella Williams. Williams pleaded guilty in 2006 in exchange for a life sentence. Texas death row inmate Willie Trottie, scheduled for execution Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2014. The execution chamber seen from one of two witness viewing rooms at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Huntsville Unit. Dennis Davis speaks during an interview at the C. T. Terrell Unit in Rosharon on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Davis is serving 36 years in prison for the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti. Dennis Davis speaks during an interview with the Texas Tribune in prison at the C. T. Terrell Unit in Rosharon, TX on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Mr. Davis is in prison for a 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti, he wasn’t arrested until almost 26 years after the murder and he claims he is innocent. Dennis Davis speaks during an interview with the Texas Tribune in prison at the C. T. Terrell Unit in Rosharon, TX on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Mr. Davis is in prison for a 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti, he wasn’t arrested until almost 26 years after the murder and he claims he is innocent. Death row inmate Larry Swearingen during an interview at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Melissa Trotter. He says he is innocent and that she was killed while he was already in jail for other offenses. Stay of Execution for Larry Swearingen. Death row inmate Larry Swearingen during an interview at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Melissa Trotter. He says he is innocent and that she was killed while he was already in jail for other offenses. Death row inmate Larry Swearingen during an interview at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Melissa Trotter. He says he is innocent and that she was killed while he was already in jail for other offenses. Death row inmate Larry Swearingen during an interview at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Melissa Trotter. He says he is innocent and that she was killed while he was already in jail for other offenses. Death row inmate Larry Swearingen during an interview on July 27, 2011, at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. Rais Bhuiyan, the sole survivor of a 2001 shooting, speaks out at a press conference in Austin on July 14, 2011 about his lawsuit against Gov. Perry for not upholding his victim's rights . Timothy Wayne Adams, convicted of murdering his 19-month-old son, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22, 2011. Sentencing sheet of Cameron Todd Willingham Sentencing sheet of David Long Sentencing sheet of James Moreland Sentencing sheet of Robert Carter Sentencing sheet for Richard Wilkerson
Sentencing sheet of Raymond Kinnamon Sentencing sheet for Earl Beringer Sentencing sheet for Marcus Cotton Sentencing sheet for Angel Maturio Resendiz, also known as "The Railroad Killer" Sentencing sheet for Irineo Montoya Sentencing sheet for George Whitaker Sentencing sheet of Dennis Dowthitt Sentencing sheet of Karla Faye Tucker Sentencing sheet of Donald Aldrich Old Sparky, the electric chair Texas used to executive inmates from 1924 to 1964. Scott Cobb with the Texas Moratorium Network speaks at a press conference for the March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 29, 2010. Innocence Project attorney Gerald Goldstein makes his opening remarks in the case for Cameron Todd Willingham's exoneration to Judge Charlie Baird in the 299th Court of the Thurman-Blackwell Justice Center in Austin on October 14, 2010. Innocence Project attorney Barry Scheck presents the case for Cameron Todd Willingham's exoneration to Judge Charlie Baird in the 299th Court of the Thurman-Blackwell Justice Center in Austin on October 14, 2010. Eugenia Willingham, the step-mother of Cameron Todd Willingham, speaks to reporters during a recess of the exoneration hearing at the 299th Court in the Blackwell-Thurman Justice Center in Austin. Judge Charlie Baird listens to expert testimony during a hearing on the exoneration of Cameron Todd Willingham in the 299th Court of the Thurman-Blackwell Justice Center in Austin. Willingham was executed in 2004 for the 1991 arson murder of his three young daughters in Corsicana. David Oshinsky's book, Capital Punishment on Trial Author David Oshinsky in May 2010. Sisters Julie Todd, left, and Elizabeth Stahly, middle, protest the death penalty and celebrate today's granted stay of death row inmate Hank Skinner. The women traveled from Garland, Texas, to "get a message to Rick Perry" with others at the Capitol. Sandrine Ageorges Skinner looks for the first time at the US Supreme Court's order granting a stay of her husband's execution. International media gather around death penalty abolitionist Kiersten Saldano shortly after the Supreme Court announced a stay of Hank Skinner's execution. This gurney is used to perform executions at Terre Haute by lethal injection.

Sign Up for The Brief

Our daily news summary