The nation’s busiest capital punishment state is taking a break.
So far this year, Texas has put 21 convicted killers to death by injection, the last in September. No one is on the state’s execution calendar again until December – when four are planned in about a week’s time.
That’s the longest lull in seven years – Texas went without an execution from September 1996 to February 1997. The reasons for the hiatus are unclear.
Some death-penalty experts say it’s a coincidence. Others say legal fights to stop the executions of mentally retarded inmates may have slowed the pace.