HOUSTON — A Texas inmate looking for to cease his execution over claims of spiritual freedom violations and indifference to his medical wants is scheduled to die Wednesday night for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son greater than 17 years in the past.
Stephen Barbee, 55, is scheduled to obtain a deadly injection on the state penitentiary in Huntsville. He was condemned for the February 2005 deaths of Lisa Underwood, 34, and her son Jayden. Each had been suffocated at their house in Fort Price. They had been later discovered buried in a shallow grave in close by Denton County.
Barbee’s attorneys have requested the U.S. Supreme Courtroom to remain his execution, arguing his non secular rights are being violated as a result of the state jail system, within the wake of a ruling by the excessive courtroom on what non secular advisers can do whereas within the execution chamber, didn’t create a written coverage on the difficulty.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom stated states should accommodate the desires of loss of life row inmates who wish to have their religion leaders pray and contact them throughout their executions. Texas jail officers didn’t formally replace their coverage however stated they would assessment inmates’ petitions on a case-by-case foundation and would grant most cheap requests.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Choose Kenneth Hoyt in Houston issued a preliminary injunction, saying the state may solely execute Barbee after it had printed a transparent coverage on non secular advisers that protects an inmate’s non secular rights. Final week, the fifth U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals overturned Hoyt’s injunction, saying it was overbroad.
On Tuesday, Hoyt issued a brand new injunction targeted particularly on defending Barbee’s rights. The Texas Legal professional Normal’s Workplace instantly appealed to the fifth Circuit, which must make a ruling earlier than the Supreme Courtroom may take up the difficulty.
The Texas Legal professional Normal’s Workplace stated in a earlier courtroom submitting that Barbee’s claims are moot as state jail officers are permitting his non secular adviser to the touch him and pray aloud throughout his execution.
Additionally Tuesday, Hoyt denied a separate request by Barbee’s attorneys for an execution keep over claims the inmate’s proper to keep away from merciless and strange punishment could be violated. His attorneys say Barbee has bodily constraints that restrict the motion of his shoulders and arms and he would expertise “insupportable ache and struggling” if he’s executed within the regular method along with his arms outstretched on the gurney in order that IV traces could be positioned to ship the deadly injection.
In a courtroom submitting from earlier this month, attorneys with the Texas Legal professional Normal’s Workplace assured Hoyt that jail officers would make lodging for Barbee and permit his arms to stay bent and if wanted would discover one other location to put the IV traces.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Barbee’s loss of life sentence to a lesser penalty or to grant a four-month reprieve.
Prosecutors stated Barbee killed his ex-girlfriend and her son as a result of he didn’t need his spouse to know Underwood was seven months pregnant, presumably by him. DNA proof later revealed Barbee wasn’t the daddy. Underwood owned a Fort Price bagel store, which was named after her son. She and her son had been reported lacking after failing to indicate up at a child bathe.
Barbee confessed to police he killed Underwood and her son however later recanted. Barbee stated the confession was coerced and has since maintained he’s harmless and was framed by his enterprise companion.
His trial, together with sentencing, took lower than three days to finish in February 2006.
Barbee is about to obtain a deadly injection on the identical day as Arizona plans to execute Murray Hooper for killing two individuals throughout a house theft in Phoenix on New 12 months’s Eve 1980. Hooper is about to be executed at 11 a.m. CST (12 p.m. EST) on Wednesday.
If Barbee is executed, he could be the fifth inmate put to loss of life this 12 months in Texas. He’s the final inmate scheduled for execution this 12 months within the state.