TEXAS (USA): DERRICK DEWAYNE CHARLES EXECUTED
May 12, 2015: Derrick Dewayne Charles, 32, Black, was executed. The sentence was carried out with a single lethal injection of pentobarbital. As the pentobarbital took effect, he took 2 breaths, yawned and then appeared to go to sleep. Charles was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. CDT, 25 minutes after being given the execution drug.
Charles was convicted in the July 2, 2002 murders of Myiesha Bennett, 15, her mother, Brenda Bennett, 44, and her grandfather, Obie Bennett, 77. At that time Charles was19.
According to court documents, Charles was angry with Brenda Bennett for telling police he was having sex with her underage daughter. On the day of the killing Charles was high from smoking marijuana adulterated with embalming fluid. Charles pleaded guilty to capital murder charges in 2003. He was sentenced to death in Harris County on May 14 and May 27, 2003.
The lethal injection was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments from Charles' attorneys that he was mentally incompetent for execution and that they needed time and court-approved money for experts and investigators to pursue that claim. Another appeal argued Charles' trial court also acted improperly by refusing to appoint psychiatric experts and investigators. "We are disappointed with the Court's response," Paul Mansur, Charles' lead attorney, said in a statement. "Derrick Charles has a lifelong history of severe mental illness. State lawyers opposing Charles' appeals said his attorneys had made similar arguments about his competency before and that the courts rejected those.
Charles becomes the 7th inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, the 525th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982, the 14th inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1408th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
There were 20 executions in the USA last year by this date. (Sources: Houston Chronicle & Rick Halperin, 12/05/2015)