The crowd on A-Wing A-Section at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit in Livingston is about to get thinned. A dozen condemned inmates in the so-called “death watch” cells on Texas death row are set for lethal injection over the next six weeks. Two were scheduled for this week. Two next week. And two more the week after that. Then six more in November, adding to Texas’ standing as the nation’s most active death penalty state.
“It’s just the way of Texas,” Alvin Kelly, who was executed Tuesday, said in an interview last week. “Will crime stop? Will my death stop what’s going on in everyday society?” asked Kevin Watts, scheduled to die Thursday. “They’re just killing people.” The Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in April holding that injection was not unconstitutionally cruel allowed executions to resume, and nine have been carried out in Texas already this year, the most in the nation. Now a flurry of those cases that were upheld is reaching the legal – and lethal – conclusions.