You have a critical role to play in stopping executions in Texas. On this page, you will find the dates of scheduled executions, information on clemency campaigns, and contact information for the Governor of Texas and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. On the days of scheduled executions, we encourage you to take part in vigils in your area. Follow TCADP on Twitter @TCADPdotORG for case updates.
Texas Executions in 2023
Scheduled executions (8)
Wesley Ruiz: February 1, 2023 See Clemency Campaigns below for information about his case and our call to action.
John Balentine: February 8, 2023 See Clemency Campaigns below for information about his case and our call to action.
Gary Green: March 7, 2023
Arthur Brown, Jr.: March 9, 2023
Anibal Canales, Jr.: March 29, 2023
Andre Thomas: April 5, 2023
Ivan Cantu: April 26, 2023
Henry (“Hank”) Skinner: September 13, 2023
On January 10, 2023, the State of Texas executed Robert Fratta after “a dramatic day of back-and-forth court decisions on whether the state could continue using lethal drugs long past their original expiration dates.” Fratta was a former Missouri City police officer convicted of hiring two men to kill his wife, Farah, in 1994.
A recent filing by Fratta’s attorneys presented facts that the State obtained his conviction and death sentence through unreliable and unconstitutional tactics, including hypnosis of an eyewitness and immunity for prosecution star witness in challenge to capital murder conviction. Fratta always maintained his innocence.
The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out two executions—one week apart—in February. Below you will find information and requests for support for the clemency applications of John Balentine and Wesley Ruiz. Contact information for the Board and Governor is listed at the bottom of this page.
John Balentine is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on February 8, 2023. His case raises many troubling issues about the racism and ineffective legal representation that pervades the Texas death penalty system, particularly at the trial level.
Balentine, a Black man, has spent more than two decades on death row. He was convicted of killing three white teenagers—Mark Caylor, Kai Brooke Geyer, and Steven Brady Watson—in Amarillo in 1998 after a dispute with one of the victims, who had threatened to kill him on prior occasions, escalated.
Balentine received abysmal representation from his trial attorneys—one of whom had not represented a capital defendant in twenty-two years while the other was a former District Attorney—who did virtually nothing to gather information about their client’s childhood and background. Consequently, the jury did not hear about Balentine’s history as the victim of sexual and physical abuse, his childhood experiences of abject poverty, neglect, and domestic violence, or his history of learning impairments and life-long brain damage.
It is clear from their trial notes that his attorneys also harbored racial animus towards Balentine, who was sentenced to death by an all-white jury. Outrageously, the attorneys wrote a note to each other that included the words “justifiable lynching” while actively representing him during the penalty phase.
Support clemency for John Balentine
John Balentine has filed an application with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in which he asks for the commutation of his death sentence to a lesser penalty.
We’re asking you to email the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at firstname.lastname@example.org to urge them to recommend clemency for Balentine (you must include his TDCJ #999315 and DOB 01/30/1969 in your appeals). Share your concerns with Governor Greg Abbott. Adapt our sample message or use the talking points provided here. Contact the Board by Friday, February 3, 2023.
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Wesley Ruiz on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Ruiz was convicted and sentenced to death for shooting Dallas police officer Mark Nix in 2007 after a car chase that ensued when Officer Nix attempted to stop Ruiz in his vehicle. Ruiz is deeply remorseful for his crime and has worked to better himself during his fourteen years on death row. He has maintained a close relationship with his sons, Wes Ruiz, Jr. and Eric Ruiz, and often provides them with guidance about life and relationships.
The Dallas County jurors that sentenced Ruiz to death in 2008 did not hear any information about the horrific life circumstances he endured as a child, including sexual molestation, severe neglect and abandonment by both parents, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse, homelessness, and impairments from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, PTSD, complex trauma, and brain damage. Nor did they hear about his experiences with bad actors in the police department, who constantly surveilled him, harassed him, beat him, did not believe him when he was the victim of a crime, and withheld aid to a child in need of medical attention in front of him.
His trial attorneys, who harbored racially biased views of their client, failed to present any of this vital mitigating information, which could have provided jurors with an explanation as to Ruiz’s reasoning and impulse control during the offense for which he was convicted.
After hearing about Ruiz’s life circumstances from his current legal team, several of those jurors now say they would have given more weight towards sentencing Ruiz to life in prison without parole instead of the death penalty. Even the foreman of the jury, who used stereotypical, racist language to describe Ruiz, would support commutation of Ruiz’s death sentence.
Support clemency for Wesley Ruiz
Ruiz has filed an application with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in which he asks for the commutation of his death sentence to a lesser penalty.
We’re asking you to email the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at email@example.com to urge them to recommend clemency for Ruiz (you must include his TDCJ #999536 and DOB 11/20/1979 in your appeals). Share your concerns with Governor Greg Abbott. You’ll find talking points, a sample message, and contact information for the Board and Governor here. Contact the Board by Friday, January 27, 2023.
Past Clemency Campaigns
On November 16, 2022, the State of Texas executed Stephen Barbee despite the violation of his constitutional right to a fair trial that occurred when his lawyers unexpectedly and impermissibly conceded his guilt to the jury despite Barbee’s insistence on his innocence. We appreciate everyone who supported his application for clemency and spoke in opposition to his execution.
On October 5, 2022, the State of Texas executed John Ramirez, who was convicted of killing and robbing Pablo Castro in Corpus Christi in 2004. We are truly grateful to everyone who contacted the Board and Governor in support of his application for clemency.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay to Ramiro Gonzales, who was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. It remanded a claim about false testimony by the State’s trial expert regarding recidivism rates. Thanks to everyone who contacted the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott in support of clemency or a reprieve for Ramiro. Read about his case here.
Melissa Lucio, one of six women on death row in Texas, was convicted and sentenced to death in Cameron County in 2008 for causing the death of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah. There is compelling evidence that Mariah’s death was a tragic accident resulting from a head injury she suffered in a fall—not a homicide.
On April 25, 2022, just two days before her scheduled execution, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay to Melissa Lucio. The Court ordered the 138th Judicial District Court of Cameron County to consider multiple claims related to new evidence of Melissa’s innocence of the accidental death of her daughter, Mariah.
You can find statements from Melissa Lucio and her attorneys in response to the stay here.
The Court’s Stay Order re: Application for Post-Conviction and Habeas Petition: https://tinyurl.com/42h4zb6n
Melissa Lucio’s First Subsequent Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/2paxuabx
We are grateful to everyone who contacted the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott, signed the Innocence Project petition, shared information about Melissa’s case with your networks, or otherwise took action to #SaveMelissaLucio. We also want to express our appreciation to her legal team and everyone who supported them in the effort to stop this execution. We will continue to monitor her case for new developments and share updates with you.
What is Clemency?
In order for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider clemency for a person facing imminent execution, an application for clemency must be filed. The Governor of Texas has the authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve but can only grant clemency upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. A recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles is not binding, however.
Since 1976, the Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended clemency in only five cases where the inmate faced imminent execution. Then-Governor Rick Perry rejected two of those recommendations and allowed the executions to proceed.
- Henry Lee Lucas – Governor George W. Bush commuted his sentence in 1998 due to lingering concerns about his guilt. Lucas died of natural causes in prison in 2001 while serving a life sentence.
- Kelsey Patterson – The Board voted 5-1 for clemency but Governor Rick Perry rejected the recommendation. Patterson had a long-standing diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. He was executed on May 18, 2004.
- Kenneth Foster – Governor Perry commuted Foster’s sentence in 2007 due to concern about a Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously. The Board recommended clemency by a vote of of 6-1. Foster had been convicted under the law of parties for a 1996 murder, even though he was sitting in a car 80 feet away at the time of the crime. He is serving a life sentence.
- Robert Lee Thompson – Governor Perry rejected the Board’s 5-2 recommendation for clemency even though Thompson was not the triggerman in the murder of Mansoor Rahim. He had been convicted under the law of parties. His co-defendant, Sammy Butler, the actual killer of Mr. Rahim, was tried separately and convicted on a lesser charge. Butler is serving a life sentence and will be eligible for parole. Thompson was executed on November 19, 2009.
- Thomas “Bart” Whitaker – On February 22, 2018, Governor Greg Abbott accepted the Board’s unanimous recommendation of clemency for Whitaker, who was scheduled to be executed that same day. It was the first such commutation in Texas since 2007. Whitaker is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Read the Governor’s statement here.
Write the Governor of Texas and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
You are welcome to contact the Board and Governor even when there is no specific clemency campaign. Please note that clemency applications typically are filed 21 days before the execution date, so it is best to send a letter of support around that time. Be sure to include the TDCJ #, date of birth, and full name of the person on whose behalf you are writing.
The Board usually informs attorneys of its decision two business days before the execution date.
Here are some general talking points for your letters:
- State your concerns about the inherent flaws and failures of the Texas death penalty system.
- Express outrage and alarm at the high number of executions that continue to take place in Texas.
- Urge the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend clemency.
Contact information for calls, letters, and emails*
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78757
Phone (512) 406-5852
Fax (512) 467-0945
Online Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Letters and emails are preferred by the Board.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Information and Referral Hotline: (800) 843-5789 [for Texas callers]
Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline: (512) 463-1782 [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers]
Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: 512-463-2000
Online Contact: https://gov.texas.gov/contact/
The governor can grant clemency only upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, whose members he appoints. He has the limited authority to grant a one-time, 30-day stay of execution.
“Execution Watch” can be heard on KPFT HD-2 and online here from 6:00 PM CT to 7:00 PM CT on any day an execution is scheduled in Texas.