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Quintin Phillippe Jones, convicted of beating his elderly great-aunt to death with a baseball bat, has become the first Texan executed in almost a year.
Quintin Jones received the lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville on Wednesday evening, just after 7pm local time, despite requests from some of the victim's family to spare his life.
Jones, 41, was found guilty of murdering 83-year-old Berthena Bryant in September 1999.
In a police interrogation, Jones confessed that he had been using heroin and cocaine the night before, and in the early morning realised he was out of drugs and had no money left.
He went to Bryant’s house between 5 and 5:30 am on the morning of September 11 looking for money.
When she refused to give him cash, he took a baseball bat she had been keeping to protect herself and clubbed her to death with it.
He then robbed the dead woman of $30 (about £34 in today’s money).
Later that same month, investigators found evidence to connect Jones and his friend Ricky Carl “Red” Roosa, then 40, to the June 1999 deaths of Clark Peoples, 27, and Marc Sanders, 19.
According to the Texas Star-Telegram, Jones and Roosa had lured the two men to Jones’ home, where they beat them to death and robbed them – even taking their shoes.
They then wrapped the victims’ bodies in bedsheets and dumped them in the Trinity River.
Roosa and Jones were convicted in 2001 on two counts of capital murder. Roosa was sentenced to life imprisonment while Jones has spent the past 20 years on Death Row.
Jones’s defence attorney, Michael Mowla, has argued that his client’s death sentence is not legally valid because the head of the criminal division that includes the post-conviction unit had previously acted as Jones’s defence attorney.
He also argues that, while Jones was 20 at the time of the killings, his accomplice Roosa was 40 and would have been the ringleader in the crime. He had been a regular drug user by the age of 12, Mowla says, and had begun to manifest an additional personality that he called “James”.
He added that an entire lifetime of horrendous abuse and parental neglect had contributed to Jones developing severe mental health problems.
The horrific crime scene photos from the murders were proof that Jones was not of sound mind, his defence team argued.
“You know just by looking at those photographs that Quintin isn’t like you and I,” Jones's then-defence attorney Larry Moore told the Star-Telegram in 2001.
“Think of all the pain that Quintin’s been through.”
In a video plea to the Republican governor of Texas Greg Abbott earlier this week, Jones asked him to 'find it in his heart' to grant clemency.
He said: "I may die years later, but it won't be in the free world it'll be in prison, and I can accept that because there's other avenues in prison that I can take to better myself and to better others along the way."
He added: "As the old saying goes, if you don't learn from history, you tend to repeat it."
- Death Row
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