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November 16, 2022

Texas stuggles a bit as it completes its fifth and final execution in 2022

As reported in this local article, headlined "Texas’ execution of Stephen Barbee was prolonged while officials searched for a vein," an execution in Texas tonight was a bit more of a struggle than usual. Here are the details:

Texas’ execution of Stephen Barbee Wednesday evening was prolonged while prison officials searched for a vein in the disabled man’s body, according to a prison spokesperson.

Barbee, convicted in the 2005 murders of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her child, had severe joint deterioration which prohibited him from straightening his arms or laying them flat, according to court records. His attorney had recently tried to halt his execution because he feared the process with Barbee’s disability would result in “torture.”

But courts rejected the appeals, noting that prison officials had vowed to make special adjustments to the death chamber’s gurney to accommodate Barbee. Still, it took much more time to carry out the execution than is typical in Texas. Reporters walked into the prison around 6 p.m., signaling the execution was about to begin. But for an hour and 40 minutes, no one came back out, causing anti-death-penalty protesters outside to grow worried that something had gone wrong. It is uncommon for executions to last more than an hour. “Due to his inability to extend his arms, it took longer to ensure he had functional IV lines,” prison spokesperson Amanda Hernandez said in an email Wednesday night.

Barbee was pronounced dead at 7:35 p.m., nearly an hour and a half after he was strapped into the death chamber’s gurney, according to the prison’s execution record. Within minutes of being strapped on the gurney, an IV was inserted into his right hand, at 6:14 p.m., but it took another 35 minutes for an additional line to begin flowing in the left side of his neck. All the while, his friends watched through a glass pane adjacent to the chamber, according to a prison witness list. So did the friends of the murder victims — Lisa Underwood and her 7-year-old son Jayden — as well as Underwood’s mother....

Hours before the prisoner’s scheduled death, Barbee’s execution was paused as courts battled once again over the state’s handling of the prisoner’s religious rights in the death chamber. Federal courts this month went back and forth over Texas’ execution policy and the findings of multiple U.S. Supreme Court rulings largely requiring the state to allow prisoners’ religious advisers to audibly pray and touch them in their final moments. On Tuesday, a district judge essentially halted Barbee’s pending execution, stating Texas’ prison system can only kill the death row prisoner after creating and adopting a new execution policy that clearly lays out his final religious rights. But after the federal appellate court and the U.S. Supreme Court both ruled in favor of the state early Wednesday afternoon, Barbee’s execution was put back on track.

November 16, 2022 at 09:56 PM | Permalink


These claims of “torture” are always so ridiculous. Multiple sticks happen all the time in hospitals for blood work and IVs. Unpleasant, but “torture” is risible.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 17, 2022 10:24:47 AM

When you're willing to kill a mother and here seven year-old, the fact that you have trouble straightening your arm is inconsequential to the point of absurdity.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 17, 2022 10:29:05 AM


Is there a reason that we don’t anesthetize these people to death? Once they put a mask on you for surgery, it’s lights out. A lethal dose would seem to derail this crybaby IV complaint.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 17, 2022 2:46:53 PM

TarlsQtr --

Very good point. Or nitrogen gas, which Kent has been pushing for years. But the pro-killer crowd will find something wrong with it, I promise, because that's what they do. They manufacture technical objections to try, weakly, to cover up the fact that they simply don't want violent criminals punished AT ALL.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 17, 2022 3:50:33 PM

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