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Texas executes man for 1991 double murder

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The death penalty has been in net decline in the United States in recent years./AFP
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Sep 29, 2021 - 09:21 AM

WASHINGTON — A man condemned to death for the 1991 murder of two brothers in their home was executed by the state of Texas on Tuesday, after the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal that could have seen his case thrown out on grounds of racial bias in jury selection.

Rick Rhoades, 57, received a lethal injection at the Huntsville penitentiary, according to Texas authorities, becoming the sixth person to be executed in the United States this year.

A recidivist burglar, Rhoades was out of prison on conditional release when, on September 13, 1991, he entered the home of Charles Allen, who lived with his brother Bradley in the Houston suburbs.

He then killed them in their sleep before robbing them, authorities said.

He was not apprehended until a month later, when he was arrested during a school burglary and confessed to the double murder, claiming to have acted during a fight with Charles Allen outside his home.

In 1992, Rhoades was sentenced to death by a jury.

Since then, his lawyers have accused prosecutors of having systematically dismissed potential Black jurors during the trial.

Rhoades was white — as were the Allen brothers. But if proven, the allegations could have seen his sentence thrown out.

The case eventually went to the Supreme Court, which rejected the appeal on Tuesday.

The death penalty is authorized in 27 US states and by the federal government, though its use has been in net decline in recent years, particularly since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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