The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously decided last week to deny a petition asking to spare the life of Quintin Jones, who was scheduled to die by lethal injection the following day. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court also declined to block his execution.
While there was much consternation over the condemned man’s death sentence, less was said about the crime that landed him in prison.
Jones was convicted of murdering his great aunt, Berthena Bryant, in 1999 after she refused to lend him money, Fox News reported.
Jones broke into Bryant’s home and proceeded to brutally beat her to death with a baseball bat before stealing $30 out of her purse to buy drugs.
Fox News noted that court documents show the 41-year-old Jones was subjected to physical and sexual abuse from an early age and began abusing substances at age 12. His attorneys also contended that he suffered from intellectual impairment.
The victim’s sister, Mattie Long, testified in a written statement to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles that she did not want to see her grandnephew put to death.
“Because I was so close to Bert, her death hurt me a lot,” she said, according to Fox News. “Even so, God is merciful. Quintin can’t bring her back. I can’t bring her back. I am writing this to ask you to please spare Quintin’s life.”
Defense attorney claims racial bias
Jones’ attorney alleged that the board’s decision to deny her client’s request for clemency was rooted in racism, noting that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had commuted the sentence of Thomas Whitaker to life in prison without parole, despite him being convicted of being the mastermind behind his mother and brother’s murder. Whitaker is white while Jones is Black.
Jones also put out a video that was published by The New York Times in which he asked the governor for mercy, citing a desire “to better myself and to better others along the way.”
“Another thing that helped me out was my great-aunt, Aunt Mattie. It was her sister. So, by her loving me enough to forgive me, it gave me the strength to try to do better and want to do better,” he said.
Tarrant County Assistant Criminal District Attorney Helena Faulkner pointed out that the feelings among Jones’ relatives about his death sentence were not unanimous. “Not all family members oppose Mr. Jones’ execution,” Faulkner said.
Prosecutors argued the death sentence was warranted in Jones’ case as he has a violent history, including assaulting teachers and participating in two other murders. Jones received the lethal injection at a state penitentiary on Wednesday last week, The Associated Press reported.