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Texas Executes Killer Who Said Trial Was Affected By Racial Bias

John Balentine, a man convicted of killing three teenagers while they slept in a Texas home more than 25 years ago, was executed on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. He was the sixth inmate put to death in the U.S. this year and the second in as many days. Balentine, 54, whose attorneys argued that his trial was marred by racial bias, was found guilty in the 998 shooting deaths of Edward Mark Caylor, 17, Kai Brooke Geyer, 15, and Steven Watson, 15, in Amarillo. Prosecutors said all three were shot in the head as they slept.

Balentine appeared jovial as witnesses were entering the death chamber, asking if someone could remove the sheet covering the lower two-thirds of his body “and massage my feet.” Balentine made a short statement thanking friends for supporting him. He looked at seven relatives of his three murder victims and apologized.

Caylor’s sister, who was among the witnesses watching him die, was Balentine’s former girlfriend. Prosecutors said the shootings stemmed from a feud between Caylor and Balentine. Balentine argued that Caylor and others had threatened his life over his interracial relationship. Balentine is Black. The three victims were white. One of his trial attorneys said Balentine rejected a plea agreement that would have sentenced him to life in prison because the racists threats he received made him afraid of being killed while incarcerated.


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