On Tuesday, Texas executed Miguel Paredes for murdering three members of a rival gang sixteen years ago. With no executions scheduled in the next two months, Paredes’ death marks the tenth and final execution for Texas this year, the fewest in almost two decades, The Atlantic reports. Executions in Texas, the most prolific death-penalty state, spiked after Congress restricted federal appeals in death-penalty cases with the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Since then, the death penalty has been in overall decline both in Texas and nationwide. Thirty people have been executed so far this year in the entire U.S.; Texas alone executed 40 people at its peak in 2000.
Executions won’t halt any time soon in Texas. State officials say they have a sufficient supply of pentobarbital for more executions thanks to a supplier they refuse to name, through 2015. Six in 10 Americans support the death penalty, says a recent Gallup poll, and Greg Abbott, who will likely be elected governor of Texas next week, is a staunch proponent. Reversing the downward trend would require either a drastic shift in the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence or an overhaul of Texas sentencing law. Neither is imminent.