Of the three Texas inmates who had dates with death this year, only one was executed, an uncharacteristic start for a state that consistently leads the nation in executions, the Houston Chronicle says. Controversy swirled around the state’s last execution in September and re-emerged after the lifting of a de facto moratorium, imposed as the U.S. Supreme Court considered a challenge to the lethal injection process. The Court of Criminal Appeals and the Attorney General’s Office worked until almost midnight Tuesday to ensure that Charles Dean Hood’s execution would be carried out. In the end officials had to scrub the execution as the midnight expiration of the death warrant neared.
Despite the sluggish start, Texas likely will remain the nation’s death penalty capital. “By the end of 2008, Texas will have the most executions of any state, as it has for many other years,” predicted Richard Dieter, director of the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center. Fourteen inmates are set to be put to death through October. Last year, Texas accounted for 26 of the 42 U.S. executions. Hood, whose execution had been scheduled for last week, had argued that the judge and prosecutor in his trial reportedly had a romantic relationship.