It was the first execution of the year in the US state of Texas – and the first execution in the US since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, 78, an avowed opponent of the death penalty.
On Thursday night, the convicted murderer Quintin Jones († 41) took his last breath. Jones was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville City Jail. Previously, he had unsuccessfully appealed in a video to Texas Governor Greg Abbott to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.
A petition launched on the Internet to pardon Jones was signed by around 160,000 people. Abbott has pardoned a death row inmate in only one case in his six years in office.
Jones had been sentenced to death for the murder of his great-aunt. He killed the 83-year-old with a baseball bat in 1999 and stole 30 dollars from her to buy drugs. Jones did not deny the act, but asserted in the video that he had become “a different person” on death row.
It is the first execution in the United States since President Joe Biden took office on January 20. Biden is opposed to the death penalty, but has no control over state legislation on maximum penalties or their penal system. However, the president has announced that he will work with the US Congress to ensure that the death penalty is abolished at the US federal level.
The death penalty is highly controversial in the United States. Twenty-three of the 50 states abolished it and three others suspended enforcement.
South Carolina allows shooting as a method of execution
In South Carolina, however, another method of execution was approved earlier this week. In the future, prisoners sentenced to death will be able to choose between the electric chair and a firing squad.
The Republican Governor Henry McMaster said on Monday in the online service Twitter that he had signed a law at the weekend and put it into effect. The law will put the state back in a position to enforce the death penalty, said McMaster.
Previously, lethal injection or the electric chair were used to carry out the death penalty in South Carolina. In many US states, however, the deadly substances for lethal syringes are scarce because European pharmaceutical companies refuse to supply the US authorities with supplies.
As a result, there have been no executions in South Carolina for ten years. According to the authorities, the last lethal injection was in 2011; the electric chair was last used in South Carolina in 2008.
According to the non-governmental organization Information Center on the Death Penalty, South Carolina is now the fourth US state after Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah to allow executions to be executed. Since the US Supreme Court basically re-allowed the death penalty in 1976, only three convicts have been shot – all three in Utah.