Texas executes prisoner convicted of killing 4 in drug robbery

Texas executes prisoner convicted of killing 4 in drug robbery

Arthur Brown Jr., 52, was executed in Texas for the drug-related murders of four people, including a nine-month pregnant woman, over 30 years ago. Brown maintained his innocence and claimed that he was framed by the authorities.

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The killings took place during a drug robbery in Houston in June 1992. Brown was part of a group that transported drugs from Texas to Alabama and bought drugs from Jose Tovar and his wife Rachel Tovar, both of whom were also shot but survived. All four victims, including the pregnant woman, had been tied up and shot in the head.

Brown’s execution was the fifth in Texas and ninth in the US this year. He was the second inmate executed in Texas that week. His final statement was one of defiance, where he stated his innocence and claimed that he had proved it, but the courts blocked him. He also accused the state of hiding evidence that his attorneys could not find.

The US Supreme Court declined an appeal from Brown’s attorneys to halt the execution, who had argued that Brown was intellectually disabled and therefore exempt from execution.

The high court has prohibited the death penalty for intellectually disabled individuals. Brown’s attorneys also claimed that his conviction was tainted by racial bias, alleging that one of the jurors decided he was guilty because he was Black.

Three members of Jessica Quiñones’ family, including her mother, were among the witnesses at the execution. They released a statement saying that it was not a day of joy or celebration but one of profound relief and gratitude.

Brown’s attorneys had previously filed other appeals that had been rejected by lower courts. A judge in Houston had denied a request by Brown’s attorneys for DNA testing of evidence that they said could have exonerated their client.

Maricella Quiñones said that her family would likely never get closure. Her sister, Jessica Quiñones, was an innocent victim who was not aware that the Tovars were dealing drugs from the home.

She described her sister as a “very loving, caring person” who had looked forward to being a mother. She said that her family lost two persons, including her sister’s unborn child.

Brown was one of six Texas death row inmates participating in a lawsuit seeking to stop the state’s prison system from using what they allege are expired and unsafe execution drugs.

Despite a civil court judge in Austin preliminarily agreeing with the claims, five of the inmates have been executed this year. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who was among the witnesses at Brown’s execution, disputed his claims of innocence and said that Brown had been the beneficiary of a judicial system that had bent over backwards to affirm his conviction and sentence.

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