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Texas Executes Brent Brewer For 1990 Murder

The state of Texas executed Brent Brewer, who spent three decades on death row on Thursday evening for the 1990 murder of Robert Laminack, The Texas Tribune reports. In late appeals, Brewer's lawyers argued that his death should be delayed to consider the issue of unreliable testimony, or what his lawyers called “junk science,” but late Thursday afternoon the U.S. Supreme Court denied that request. Earlier this week, Texas’s highest criminal appeals court declined similar motions to stay Brewer’s execution. Brewer’s legal team requested a lesser penalty for him on the grounds that one of the state’s expert witnesses used unreliable methodologies to testify and that a juror says they mistakenly sentenced Brewer to death. At 6:23 p.m., Brewer was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital and died 15 minutes later. “I would like to tell the family of the victim that I could never figure out the words to fix what I have broken. I just want you to know that this 53-year-old is not the same reckless 19-year-old kid from 1990. I hope you find peace,” Brewer said in a final statement.


Brewer was initially sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder, but in 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court found that his jury was not given sufficient opportunity for the jury to consider a less severe punishment. Two years later, another jury also sentenced Brewer to death. During the 2009 trial, one of the jurors, Michele Douglas, did not want to vote in favor of capital punishment for Laminack’s murder, which she did not think was premeditated. Douglas also said she misunderstood the jury's instructions. During Brewer’s 2009 sentencing, the state also called on forensic psychiatrist Dr. Richard Coons to testify about the danger Brewer posed to those in prison. Coons asserted that a significant amount of crime goes unreported in prisons, and while Brewer’s record was largely clean, it was likely the defendant would commit more acts of violence. Three years after Coons testified on Brewer’s dangerousness, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the psychiatrist’s techniques for predicting the risks defendants posed were unreliable. “We see this case as a kind of an outlier, based on all of these things that have happened in this case, including the junk science that was presented,” Shawn Nolan, Brewer’s attorney said.

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