AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — At 6:36 p.m. Wednesday, John Balentine was executed in Huntsville after a triple murder of three teens in Amarillo in January 1998. Balentine spent more than 23 years on death row since his sentencing in April 1999 after multiple stays of execution.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Balentine shot three teens, identified as 17-year-old Edward Mark Caylor, 15-year-old Kai Brooke Geyer and 15-year-old Steven Brady Watson on Jan. 21, 1998, in Amarillo. Officials said that Balentine entered a home during the night and shot them while they were sleeping.
In reports from the Associated Press, Caylor was the brother of Balentine’s former girlfriend, with prosecutors stating that the shooting stemmed from a feud between Caylor and Balentine. Balentine claimed that he had received threats over his interracial relationship with Caylor’s sister.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Balentine was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. Balentine’s last words were: “Yes ma’am, I want to thank y’all. I love y’all for supporting me. I want to apologize for the wrong I did to y’all. Forgive me, I’m ready ma’am.”
The Associated Press reports that he received a lethal injection Wednesday evening at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.
Through Wednesday, Balentine’s legal team was asking for Potter County District Court officials, along with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, to stay the execution, citing violations of the Texas Criminal Procedural Code through an emergency motion. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Potter County District Judge Steven Denney previously ruled to recall Balentine’s execution date, stating that Balentine’s legal team was not properly notified of Balentine’s warrant of execution, along with his execution date.
“The Warrant is void under Article 43.16 because the sheriff of Potter County did not immediately deliver the Warrant to the Director of the Department of Corrections and return the receipt to the clerk of this Court,” the emergency motion reads.
The team claims that while the warrant was issued on Sept. 2, 2022, Brian Thomas, the Potter County sheriff, did not deliver it until Sept. 21, 2022, which they stress violates the code. The receipt was filed on Sept. 26, 2022, which they stress was not “immediately.”
“Because the sheriff did not immediately deliver it to TDCJ and return its receipt to the clerk of this Court, the Warrant has no legal significance of effect and cannot lawfully be used to carry out Mr. Balentine’s execution,” the emergency motion reads. “Texas statutory law directs that certain requirements be met in order to produce a valid warrant. The noncompliance with Article 43.16 voids the Warrant, and this Court should recall it.”
In a response filed by Denney less than 30 minutes after the emergency motion was filed, Denney said the court denied the motion in light of the opinion of the Court of Criminal Opinions. That opinion ultimately reinstated Balentine’s execution date, overruling Denney’s prior order.
Balentine’s legal team was asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the execution on Wednesday, claiming that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals did not address “newly discovered evidence” of “racial bias and other serious misconduct” that allegedly impacted the jury’s deliberations in his case.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stop the execution Wednesday evening and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied the application for clemency.
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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