The State of Texas executed Ray Jasper last night, March 19, 2014, for the 1998 robbery and murder of recording studio owner David Alejandro in San Antonio. Jasper was 18 years old at the time of the crime. His two co-defendants, both age 19 at the time of the crime, avoided the death penalty and received sentences of life in prison. If Jasper had been three months younger, he would not have been eligible for the death penalty – in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional for juvenile offenders under age 18 (Roper v. Simmons).
In his final appeals, Jasper’s attorneys argued that prosecutors struck potential African American jurors on racially discriminatory grounds.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, “No one from Jasper’s family was in Huntsville Wednesday to witness the execution. No one from the Alejandro family, who are against the death penalty, attended either — instead opting to spend the evening together in San Antonio.”
Jasper was the third person put to death in Texas this year; eleven executions have been carried out nationwide in 2014. Bexar County, which accounts for the third highest number of individuals sentenced to death in Texas (75), now accounts for 38 executions. Sixteen individuals remain on death row from Bexar County – the county has not imposed any new death sentences since 2009.
Read more about Jasper’s case from CBSNews.
Also yesterday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) disclosed that it has obtained a new supply of pentobarbital, the single drug now used in the lethal injection process in Texas. TDCJ refused to name the source of the new supply, citing security concerns. Read more about this latest development from the Associated Press.
At this time, five inmates are scheduled to be executed in Texas.