The State of Texas executed Robert Sparks on September 25 after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeal. Although Justice Sonia Sotomayor agreed with the decision to deny a stay of execution, she noted she found it “deeply troubling” that a bailiff was allowed to wear a tie depicting a syringe during Sparks’ trial. Read more in the Texas Tribune.
Sparks was the seventh person put to death in Texas this year and the third in September alone. A total of 16 people have been executed in the United States this year. Seven more executions are scheduled in Texas by the end of 2019.
Original post (9/25/19)
Robert Sparks is scheduled to be executed tonight, September 25, for killing his stepsons, Raeqwon and Harold, in Dallas in 2007. He also killed his wife, Chare Agnew. Sparks reportedly told investigators he believed his wife was poisoning him.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected his application for clemency and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his motion for a stay of execution based on a claim of intellectual disability. He still has a final appeal pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. In one claim, Sparks argues that state expert A.P. Merillat provided false testimony regarding his prison classification if a jury chose life without parole rather than a death sentence. Similar claims have been made against Merillat in several other capital cases, leading to at least two overturned death sentences.
A second claim focuses on a bailiff who wore a homemade necktie depicting an image of a syringe during Sparks’ trial.
Read more in the Texas Tribune.
If his execution proceeds, Sparks will be the seventh person put to death in Texas this year and the 61st from Dallas County since 1982. Dallas ranks second only to Harris County in the number of people executed from that county.
Seven more executions are scheduled to take place in Texas by the end of the year.