BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Texas killer executed despite world pressure
Execution chamber
Several US states allow executions for those under 18
A 25-year-old murderer has been executed in Texas despite international pressure to review the case and a last-ditch appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Napoleon Beazley was 17 when he shot and killed John Luttig, 63, as he stole his Mercedes from the driveway of his house in 1994.

beazley
Beazley's plea was rejected by the Supreme Court
Opponents of Beazley's death sentence argued that it was "cruel and unusual punishment" to execute people for crimes they commit as children - and that Beazley's trial was prejudiced because he was black.

In a printed statement released after his execution on Tuesday evening, Beazley apologised for the killing, calling the murder "senseless."

But he also spoke out against his death sentence.

"No one wins tonight. No one gets closure. No one walks away victorious," Beazley wrote.


I am astounded that Texas and a few other states in the United States take children from their families and execute them

Desmond Tutu
Amnesty International, South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Council of Europe joined in calls for a review of his case.

Beazley was convicted by an all-white jury, and there have been allegations, all denied, that prosecutors sought the death penalty only because the victim's son is an influential federal appeals judge.

Texas, which executes more people than any other US state, is among five states that allow executions for criminals as young as 17, while another 17 states allow 16-year-olds to face the death penalty.

"I am astounded that Texas and a few other states in the United States take children from their families and execute them," Archbishop Tutu wrote in his submission to the Texas parole board.

Last-ditch attempts

Beazley was pronounced dead at 1817 (2317 GMT) on Tuesday, nine minutes after being injected with lethal drugs at Huntsville prison.

When asked if he had any final words, Beazley looked at his victim's daughter Suzanne Luttig and said: "No".

He had not requested a final meal, prison officials said.

His death came after a day of last-ditch attempts to earn a reprieve.

Texas's parole board voted 10-7 on Tuesday against reducing his sentence to life imprisonment, and 13-4 against a reprieve.

Ambush

At the time of the killing, Beazley had been a popular student and athlete in Grapeland, East Texas, but had also been dealing in drugs for several years.

He was carrying a pistol and had a shotgun in his mother's car when he and two others stalked and then ambushed Mr Luttig and his wife to steal their 10-year-old Mercedes.

Beazley's was the 14th execution in Texas this year. The state carried out a record 40 executions in 2001.

Since the US Supreme Court allowed states to reinstate the death penalty in 1976, 19 people who committed murder under the age of 18 have been executed across the United States, including 11 in Texas.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Ian Pannell
"Texas has a record of a high level of executions"
See also:

15 Aug 01 | Americas
14 Aug 01 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes