death penalty executions Texas U.S. Supreme Court

Four Texas Executions Scheduled for June

Four individuals are scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas this month.

  • Tonight, June 1, Gayland Bradford is scheduled to be executed.  Last October, he received a temporary stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.  Granted by Justice Antonin Scalia on October 8, 2010, the stay sought to give Bradford’s attorneys time to file a full appeal.  His attorneys contend that he is mentally deficient and that he received inadequate legal representation in some of his earlier appeals.  Bradford was convicted of the 1988 murder of Brian Edward Williams in Dallas.
  • On June 15, John Balentine faces execution for the 1998 killing of three teenagers in Amarillo. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit granted him a stay on September 29, 2009, the day before he was to be executed. The Court stayed the execution to determine if lower courts had properly resolved Balentine’s appeals.   He confessed after being arrested in Houston six months after the murders.  During his appeal, Balentine’s attorneys argued that his court-appointed trial lawyers were unqualified or deficient in their representation and had failed to develop mitigating evidence to show Balentine’s childhood of poverty, domestic violence, and abuse.  On November 2, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal.
  • Lee Taylor faces execution on June 16 for the 1999 murder of another offender in the Telford Unit.
  • On June 21, Milton Mathis is scheduled to be executed for the 1998 murders of Travis Brown and Daniel Hibbard in Fort Bend County.  He was 19 years old at the time of the crime.  His attorneys have provided evidence of his intellectual disabilities and argued that he meets the criteria as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court decision Atkins vs. Virginia (2002), which prohibited the death penalty for persons with mental retardation.  To date, the courts have denied his efforts to litigate his Atkins claim, ruling that his petition was time-barred.

The State of Texas has carried out three executions to date in 2011 (out of 19 nationwide).  Currently, six more executions are scheduled through September.

The execution of Cleve Foster may also be rescheduled.  Foster received a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court in April.   On May 31, 2011, the Court announced that it had lifted the stay and declined to hear arguments in the case.  Read more from the New York Times and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.