State of Texas executes Robert Pruett

Tonight, October 12, 2017, the State of Texas executed Robert Pruett after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his two remaining appeals.  Pruett steadfastly maintained his innocence of the 1999 murder of Corrections Officer Daniel Nagle.

This case bears many of the hallmarks of wrongful convictions: no physical evidence tied Pruett to the crime scene; unreliable informant testimony was used against him; and untested evidence leaves unanswered questions.

Robert Pruett also experienced horrific childhood abuse; in fact, it was the actions of his violent father that led to his original incarceration at the age of 15, when he was sentenced to 99 years in prison under Texas’ law of parties for his involvement in a murder committed by his father.

In a moving opinion piece published by the New York Times, Nathan Robinson writes: “At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.”

Read more from the Texas Tribune and the Washington Post.

This was the sixth execution to occur in Texas this year; there have been 20 executions nationwide. The State of Texas is scheduled to execute two other individuals this month: Anthony Shore on October 18 and Clinton Young on October 26.