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Despite appeal video, Texas carries out first execution of 2021

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The US state of Texas executed a man for killing an 83-year-old woman in 1999./AFP
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May 20, 2021 - 07:36 AM

WASHINGTON — The US state of Texas executed a convicted murderer on Wednesday, despite his unusual efforts to earn clemency through a video message to the governor.

Quintin Jones died by lethal injection at the prison in Huntsville, according to state authorities.

In the four-minute video, recorded in the prison visiting room and posted online by The New York Times, Jones spoke directly to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, asking the Republican leader to commute his death sentence to life in prison.

“I killed someone 20 years ago,” said Jones, 41. In 1999, he beat his great-aunt, 83, to death with a baseball bat and then stole $30 from her to buy drugs.

But “I am nothing like that person. I became a man on death row,” he said, before speaking directly to the camera: “If you could find it in your heart, Governor, to grant me clemency, then I can continue to live life to better myself.”

Jones’s supporters, who include the sister of his victim and actress Sarah Paulson, started a petition online urging Abbott to grant him clemency.

The petition had more than 160,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

Abbott has only granted clemency to one death row inmate in six years.

Jones’s lawyers also filed a final appeal to the US Supreme Court to try to obtain a stay of execution. They argued that he was “intellectually disabled” and was therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

No executions had been carried out in the United States since President Joe Biden, who opposes capital punishment, assumed office.

The administration of former president Donald Trump resumed federal executions in July 2020 following a 17-year hiatus, carrying them out at an unprecedented rate (13 executions) until the end of his term.

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