Today, Tuesday, the state of Texas executed its 501st person. Executions in Texas are a proud tradition. Texans love beef, oil, executions, and hating Democrats. That’s about it. There’s not much else that makes Texas important.
John Manuel Quintanilla killed a man in 2002. He gunned down 60-year-old Victor Billings in a game room. He had just recently been released from prison after having been convicted for several burglaries.
When Quintanilla was asked if he had any final words, he acknowledged his wife and said; “Thank you for all the years of happiness.” He never acknowledged his victim’s family.
Quintanilla became the 9th person executed in Texas this year, and if the killing frenzy continues, he will be the first of two executed in one week.
He had confessed to the crime, but his lawyers claimed that he was coerced into the confession amid threats that the prosecution would also charge one of his sisters. His final appeal was denied by the Supreme Court.
“It is clear that Quintanilla would not have been convicted of capital murder if his confession had not been admitted – a fact confirmed by two of his jurors,” appeals lawyer David Dow told the high court.
The attorneys who were with him in his final days said that he had received inadequate representation at his trial and throughout the appeals process. This is a frequent claim in Texas courts.
The Texas attorney general’s office denied the accusations as well as statements by jurors that they felt justice had not been done.
“There wasn’t any coercion whatsoever,” Dexter Eaves, the former Victoria County district attorney who was lead prosecutor at the trial, recalled last week. He also said that while the robbers, who fled with about $2,000, were masked, witnesses were able to “describe very clearly who the triggerman was.”
The remainder of the evidence is conclusive that Quintanilla was involved in the robbery, and most likely was the ‘triggerman.’ However, testimony about his past, his childhood, and what led him to a life of crime were dismissed by the prosecution.
In most states only premeditated murder is a sufficient reason for capital punishment. In Texas, any form of death is a reasonable excuse.
Governors from Bush to Perry celebrate their state’s execution record. And they have voted to expedite the process to ensure that any inmate on death row who might provide conclusive evidence that they were innocent would not receive the opportunity. Texas love to kill people. It’s part of their national pride and has become a tradition.
Alfred James reporting