Quintin Jones (prisoner)

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Quintin Jones
Born Quintin Phillippe Jones
(1979-07-15)July 15, 1979
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Huntsville, Texas, U.S.
Cause of death Execution by lethal injection
Criminal penalty Death (March 16, 2001)
Conviction(s) Capital murder
Killings
Victims Berthena Bryant
Date September 11, 1999

Quintin Phillippe Jones (July 15, 1979 – May 19, 2021) was an American man from Livingston, Texas, who was executed for the 1999 killing of his great aunt, Berthena Bryant.[1][2] Bryant's family and over 180,000 other people petitioned Texas Governor Greg Abbott for clemency to commute his death sentence to a life sentence.[3][4] He was executed on May 19, 2021, the first execution in the US in almost 30 years without any media presence.[5][6]

Biography

Jones experienced notable hardship during his childhood, suffering neglect by his parents, sexual assault by his siblings, and extreme poverty.[7][4][8] Accounts publicised at the time of his trial included such events as: his mother threatened him with a gun and he was forced at age 7 by his older siblings to have sex with his stepsister.[8] He shot himself twice, once in the hand to placate gang members and later in the chest in a suicide attempt. He became addicted to drugs by his early teens.[8][9]

Crime

On September 11, 1999, Jones murdered his great aunt, 83-year-old Berthena Bryant, bludgeoning her to death, after she refused to give him money to purchase cocaine.[8] He was high on heroin and cocaine during the murder.[7][10]

Trial

Jones admitted to the killing during the trial and showed remorse.[8] The Bryant family gave evidence in the trial of Jones' mental illness and addiction.[8] Jones was sentenced to death and spent 21 years on death row with 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.[3]

Michael Mowla, Jones' attorney, later filed a habeas corpus motion in Texas state court, arguing that prosecutors gave unscientific testimony during the trial, violating Jones' rights.[8] Texas state law only allows the death penalty on the argument of “future dangerousness”, Jones was apparently not involved in any violent behaviour in prison.[7][n 1]

The online news media Austin American-Statesman have highlighted racial bias in his sentencing. They have compared Jones to Riky “Red” Roosa who was convicted of murdering two people and was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Jones, who is black, was sentenced to death for one murder.[7]

Clemency petition

Bryant's family, with help from several other people and organisations, petitioned for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to grant clemency to Jones. They began an unsuccessful petition which reached over 180,000 signatures.[4] Abbott had previously given clemency in 2019 to Thomas “Bart” Whitaker for the murder of his mother and brother, after his father Kent Whitaker, who was shot during the attack, pleaded for clemency.[7][9]

  • Mattie Long, sister of murder victim Berthena Bryant, wrote in the clemency petition to Governor Abbott "I have forgiven him, I love him very much... I am writing this to ask you to please spare Quintin's life".[4][7]
  • Writer Suleika Jaouad called for clemency. Jones supported her through treatment for leukemia with a 30% chance of survival in her 20s.[4][8] She wrote a book about her friendship with Jones, 'Between Two Kingdoms'.[8][11]
  • Benjamin Jones, Quintin's twin brother stated in the clemency petition “Both of us have long forgiven Quin. Please don’t cause us to be victimized again through Quin’s execution.”[7]
  • Jones worked with the New York Times to ask for clemency from Governor Abbott stating 'I'm writing this letter to ask you if you could find it in your heart to grant me clemency, so I don't get executed on 19 May. I got two weeks to live, starting today.'.[3]
  • On May 10, he was featured in the New York Times essay 'Quintin Jones Is Not Innocent, But He Doesn’t Deserve to Die'.[12]

Execution

Jones was executed by lethal injection at 6:40 PM CDT on May 19, 2021. While members of the media were scheduled to be present to witness the execution, they were not admitted to the prison by authorities due to a communication error, making it the first execution in nearly 30 years without a media presence.[13][14][15]

Before his execution, Jones released a final statement in which he thanked his supporters, his kin and friends from his neighborhood. He made no reference to his conviction.[16][17]

See also

References

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