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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Texas Executed 434th Person Today

Today Texas executed James Edward Martinez. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. Martinez was the 11th person executed in Texas so far this year. On Wednesday night, Luis Salazar, is scheduled for execution in Texas.

Martinez was the 195th person executed since Rick Perry assumed the office of governor of Texas in December 2000. Overall, 434 people have been executed in Texas since 1982. There were zero executions in Texas between 1964 and 1982. Virginia, with 103 executions, comes in a distant second to Texas in number of executions.

From the Fort Worth Star telegram:

In 2008, the state executed only two convicted killers from Tarrant County. But if the execution of James Edward Martinez is carried out tonight as planned, he would be the fourth inmate from Tarrant County to receive lethal injection this year. A fifth is scheduled in June.

Martinez, 34, of Fort Worth, was convicted for the ambush-style slaying of his ex-girlfriend, Sandra Walton, and her friend Michael Humphreys on Sept. 21, 2000. For Humphreys' father, Brad Humphreys, today will be the second time he's witnessed the execution of someone who killed a close family member.

In 2001, he watched Jeffery Tucker die for the 1988 shooting death of his father, Wilton Humphreys.

"It's not rewarding or a joy to go watch a man die," Brad Humphreys said Monday at his Arlington home. "When one [slaying] happens, you think the worst can't happen again. But when your own child is killed ... your child is not supposed to die before you."

Humphreys said that Martinez and other killers should understand it's a fate they brought on themselves.

"If you kill someone in Texas, you're pretty much committing suicide," he said. "If you commit these crimes, you know what the ultimate price is."

Death penalty opponent Scott Cobb of Austin acknowledges that most Texans support the sentence. But he said it is costly and unnecessary for defendants facing life sentences with no chance of parole.

"You've had people on death row who didn't even kill anyone," said Cobb, who heads the Texas Moratorium Network. "States that have the death penalty spend much more money on prosecution. You have to do certain things during the trial including more investigations, expert witnesses. The costs are front-loaded."

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