Quintin Jones was executed by the state of Texas on Wednesday night, the state’s first in almost a year. Jones, 41, received the lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville for beating his 83-year-old great-aunt Berthena Bryant to death with a baseball bat in September 1999. Jones had gone to her house looking for money for drugs, and when she refused to give him any money, he killed her, court documents said.
He was sentenced to death in 2001 in Tarrant County and had been on death row since then. Due to Covid-19, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals last year issued several stays of execution. Relatives of Jones had also asked authorities to spare his life and change his sentence to life in prison. They said they had forgiven him as he “has changed for the better” while in prison.
“He is not the same person and has grown up,” Mattie Long, a sibling of Bryant, wrote in a clemency petition. “Quintin can’t bring her back. I can’t bring her back. I am writing this to ask you to please spare Quintin’s life.”
Jones’ twin brother Benjamin said he had “long forgiven Quin.” “The world will not be better off if Quin is executed,” he said while highlighting how tough it was for him and his brother growing up in an environment with little supervision.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday rejected Jones’ clemency plea. His lawyer, Michael Mowla, attributed this to race and filed a civil rights lawsuit against the parole board. U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. dismissed the complaint.
Earlier this month, Jones himself asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott to stop his execution. “If you could find it in your heart, Governor, to grant me clemency, then I can continue to live life to better myself, to better those around me,” he said in a video published by The New York Times. “All I’m asking you to do, if you could find in your heart, Mr. Abbott, is to give me a second chance at life.”
Abbott could have delayed the execution by 30 days, but he did not do so.
Jones was pronounced dead at exactly 6.40 pm (local time) on Wednesday, May 19, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). In his final words before being executed, he said: “I would like to thank all of the supporting people who helped me over the years.”
“To mad Maddie, my twin Sonja, Angie, and all the homies, AKA money and Peruvian queen including crazy Dominican,” Jones said, according to a prison transcript provided to Newsweek.
He added: “I was so glad to leave this world a better, more positive place. It’s not an easy life with all the negativities. Love all my friends and all the friendships that I have made. They are like the sky. It is all part of life, like a big full plate of food for the soul. I hope I left everyone a plate of food full of happy memories, happiness and no sadness. I’m done, warden.”
Jones became the 571st inmate to receive the lethal injection in the state since 1982 when the state brought back capital punishment, reports said. His execution took place without any media witnesses. According to the AP, prison agency officials did not notify reporters who were waiting in an office across the street that it was about to take place.
“As a result of a miscommunication between officials at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, there was never a call made to the summon the media witnesses into the unit,” Jeremy Desel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told Newsweek.
“We apologize for this critical error. The agency is investigating to determine exactly what occurred to ensure it does not happen again.”