(Houston) The US state of Texas plans to execute a man sentenced to death for a triple murder on Wednesday night after a trial that his lawyers say is tainted by racial bias.
John Balentine, a 54-year-old African American, is to be given a lethal injection, nearly 25 years after shooting three white teenage boys dead in their sleep.
One of them was, according to court documents, the brother of his former girlfriend, who disapproved of their interracial relationship and had threatened to kill him.
John Balentine has never denied the facts, but his lawyer Shawn Nolan maintains that he received the death penalty because of racist biases during his trial.
In an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, he recalls that the prosecutor had dismissed the black jurors and he accused John Balentine’s lawyers of having “shown racist animosity” towards their client.
“Do you know how to spell ‘justified lynching’?” “, had written one of them in a scribbled note, in reference to the murders committed in the segregationist South to traumatize the black population.
In addition, adds Shawn Nolan, one of the jurors, a former soldier hostile to African-Americans, had “intimidated” the others in order to convince them to pronounce the death penalty.
“I am rather stubborn and aggressive,” Dory England admitted in writing in 2021. During deliberations, “I made it clear that […] the death penalty was the only solution”, he again acknowledged in this document attached to the procedure.
Shawn Nolan had transmitted his testimony and other new elements to the Texas justice on January 30 to request a reopening of the file. The latter refused his request, pushing him to turn at the last minute to the Supreme Court.
If it refuses to intervene, John Balentine will be the sixth death row inmate executed this year in the United States.