Texas has executed its oldest death row inmate – Le Monde

Oscar Smith, left, sentenced to death in the state of Tennessee. On the right, Carl Buntion, executed Thursday, April 21 in Texas. HANDOUT / AFP It was at 6:24 p.m. local time, in the prison of Huntsville, Texas, that the septuagenarian received a lethal injection. He was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m., according to a Texas Corrections Service document. “I feel remorse for what I did,” Carl Buntion said in his final words. “I’m ready to go. In front of the Texas prison, some demonstrators shouted: “Execution is not the solution”, while dozens of people had gathered to, on the contrary, support it, noted a correspondent from Agence France- Press (AFP) on site. The family of the victim, a policeman, was also present. Carl Buntion’s lawyers had indicated that they had filed a final appeal with the United States Supreme Court, without success. No leniency Carl Buntion’s defenders no longer sought to prove his innocence. But in Texas, a large state in the conservative South, the one that executes the most in the United States, a person can only be sentenced to death if a jury judges that he represents a future danger to others. But Carl Buntion was 78 years old and suffered in particular from osteoarthritis, dizziness, hepatitis and cirrhosis. He could “no longer be dangerous,” his lawyers argued in an appeal to the Texas Pardons and Parole Board. Without success. It was in June 1990 that, during an intervention for a trivial traffic violation in Houston, Carl Buntion shot and killed policeman James Irby. Raised by an alcoholic and violent father, the Texan had already been convicted thirteen times and was on parole for a sexual assault on a child. Sentenced to the death penalty, he had seen this verdict overturned in 2009 by the highest Texas court, which considered that the defense had not been able to be properly heard by the jurors. But in 2012, he was again sentenced to death. Carl Buntion had been isolated in his cell twenty-three hours a day for twenty years. In this context, the American Supreme Court had refused to reverse his conviction in 2021, but the progressive judge Stephen Breyer had estimated that the duration of his confinement called “into question the constitutionality of the death penalty”. Read also Forty years after the Badinter law, which countries still practice the death penalty? In Texas, the execution of Carl Buntion should be followed by that of Melissa Lucio, accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter in 2007, which is scheduled for April 27. Sentenced after a controversial trial, she is supported by many elected Democrats and Republicans, as well as reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who helped publicize what her defenders call a miscarriage of justice. Tennessee was unable to execute Oscar Smith on Thursday evening “due to an oversight in the preparation of the lethal injection”, granting a “temporary reprieve” the time to settle the question. Oscar Smith was convicted of the 1989 murder of his estranged wife and her two sons. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In California, an abolition of the death penalty which does not say its name The person sentenced to death has nevertheless multiplied the appeals since 1990, the year of his conviction, until the beginning of the week. “After a thorough review of Oscar Smith’s clemency application and a careful review of the case, the sentence from the State of Tennessee will stand and I will not intervene,” Governor Bill Lee said on Tuesday. republican. A decision then deemed “extremely disappointing” for Mr. Smith’s lawyer. The latter “claims his innocence for more than thirty years”, told CNN Amy Harwell, who claims that new DNA analysis techniques on the murder weapon prove his denials. The World with AFP