A 78-year-old man was executed Thursday night in Texas for killing a police officer in 1990.
Carl Wayne Buntion had been behind bars for more than three decades after killing Houston police officer James Irby at a traffic stop.
Prison workers injected Buntion with a fatal dose of pentobarbital at Texas’ death row prison in Huntsville. He was pronounced dead at 6:39 pm
“I wanted the Irby family to know one thing: I do have remorse for what I did,” Buntion said just before he was killed. “I pray to God that they get the closure for me killing their father and Ms. Irby’s husband.”
The US Supreme Court was one of several courts that denied appeals from Buntion’s attorneys.
Buntion was a passenger in a vehicle when Irby, 37, pulled the car over in June 1990. The car reportedly had heroin inside, and Buntion was out of jail on parole. While Irby was talking to the driver, Buntion shot him in the head.
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After Buntion ran from the scene, he was tracked to a warehouse and surrendered. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991. Buntion’s best chance at avoiding execution came in 2009, when an appeals court vacated his sentence. However, he was resentenced to death by a jury three years later.
Buntion’s attorneys had argued that his advanced age meant he was clearly no longer a danger to society and therefore not deserving of the death penalty. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles was unconvinced.
Irby was a motorcycle officer, and dozens of bikers rode around outside Huntsville state prison while Buntion’s execution proceeded Thursday night.
As the lethal injection was administered, Buntion prayed Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd…”) alongside his spiritual adviser, Barry Brown. The presence of spiritual advisers at executions was debated last year by the Supreme Court. The court ruled in March that if a person requests an adviser, the state must allow it.
With News Wire Services