A man convicted of fatally shooting three sleeping teenagers in 1998 won a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, less than an hour before he was due to be put to death in Texas.
It was the third time that John Balentine, 43, has been granted a stay of execution. Justice Antonin Scalia reviewed Balentine’s emergency appeal and referred the case to the full court for consideration.
Balentine, 43, also got a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court last year on the day he was scheduled for lethal injection, and from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2009 on the day before his execution date.
He appealed to the Supreme Court after the appeals court on Tuesday refused to reconsider his request for a stay.
Balentine argued he deserved a reprieve because an ineffective trial lawyer failed to present mitigating evidence, such as emotional problems and a difficult upbringing, that could have led to a life sentence.
Texas Moratorium Network (TMN) is a non-profit organization with the primary goal of mobilizing statewide support for a moratorium on executions in Texas. Significant death penalty reform in Texas, including a moratorium on executions, is a viable goal if the public is educated on the death penalty system and is encouraged to contact their elected representatives to urge passage of moratorium legislation.
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