execution Harris County innocence intellectual disabilities

State of Texas executes Arthur Brown

On March 9, 2023, the State of Texas carried out its second execution of the week, putting Arthur Brown to death significant evidence of his innocence and intellectual disability. In the hours before his scheduled execution, the U.S. Supreme Court denied his motion for a stay and declined to review his case.

Brown served nearly 30 years on death row after being convicted of killing four people in Houston during what police deemed a drug purchase. In his last words, he continued to maintain his innocence, stating “What is occurring here tonight is not justice, it’s murder of an innocent man for a murder that occurred in 1992.”

Brown is the fifth person put to death by Texas in the first three months of this year; the State carried out a total of five executions in 2022. He is the 133rd person convicted in Harris County to be executed. Harris County accounts for more executions than any other state except Texas as a whole. More than one-third of the current death row population in Texas was convicted in Harris County.

Original post: March 9, 2023, 8:00 AM:

Brown has served nearly 30 years on death row after being convicted of killing four people in Houston in 1993 during what police deemed a drug purchase. His conviction was based on forensic evidence that a court has called “plainly flawed,” as well as eyewitness testimony obtained through faulty police techniques. More recently, his attorneys uncovered evidence—previously suppressed by the Harris County District Attorney’s office—showing that other men, not Brown, committed the murders.

None of this evidence mattered to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, however, which denied Brown’s motion for a stay of execution earlier this week without considering the merits of the claims he raised. A state district judge also declined to withdraw the execution date to allow for new DNA testing that could prove Brown’s innocence.

Brown is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the execution and to review his intellectual disability claim.

Read more from the Texas Tribune.