Texas: Brent Brewer executed – despite justified doubts about the legality of the trial
On Thursday evening in Huntsville, Texas, 53-year-old Brent Brewer was executed with a lethal injection, an overdose of pentobarbital. He was sentenced to death for stabbing a 66-year-old man to death during a robbery-murder in 1990, which netted him a loot of 140 dollars.
In his final words, Brewer expressed his remorse for the crime: “I want to say to the victim’s family that I could never find the words to heal what I destroyed. I just want you to know that this 53-year-old is not the same reckless 19-year-old boy from 1990. I hope you find peace.”
In fact, Brewer was an exemplary prisoner during his more than 30 years on death row, who was never guilty of anything. His lawyers confirm:
“The man Texas wanted to execute is long gone. Brent Brewer is a kind, generous, peaceful and thoughtful man who has spent most of his time doing penance and devoting himself to religious studies. He deeply regrets the crime he committed at the age of 19 and would have done anything to make up for the pain he caused the victim’s family.”
Brewer, like some of his fellow death row inmates, was part of a faith-based continuing education program at the prison and had asked for a stay of execution so he could complete his studies.
Just as the clemency board, which rejected Brewer by a vote of 7 to 0, was unwilling to give Brewer a chance, his attorneys had success in court with final appeals, though their arguments appear sound:
In 2009, for example, a retrial had again resulted in their client’s death sentence after a psychiatrist testified that Brewer had no conscience and would continue to commit violent acts in the future. The alleged expert made this statement without ever having examined Brewer and was deemed untrustworthy in another trial.
In addition, one of the 2009 jurors publicly stated that she and another juror were against the death sentence. Based on false information, she believed that her vote was not decisive and that the jury needed 10 votes for the life sentence. They were not informed that in Texas jurors must vote unanimously in favor of a death sentence, so that their one vote against could have prevented Brewer’s death sentence.