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February 8, 2023

Texas completes its third execution of 2023

As detailed in this AP article, an "inmate convicted of killing three teenagers while they slept in a Texas Panhandle home more than 25 years ago was executed on Wednesday, the sixth inmate to be put to death in the U.S. this year and the second in as many days." Here is more:

John Balentine, 54, who had argued that his trial was marred by racial bias, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, for the January 1998 shooting deaths of Edward Mark Caylor, 17, Kai Brooke Geyer, 15, and Steven Watson, 15, at a home in Amarillo.  Prosecutors said all three were shot once in the head as they slept.

Caylor’s sister was Balentine’s former girlfriend, and prosecutors said the shootings stemmed from a feud between Caylor and Balentine.  Ballentine, however, argued that Caylor and others had threatened his life over his interracial relationship. Balentine is Black.  The three victims were white.

Balentine confessed to the murders.  One of his trial attorneys said Balentine turned down a plea agreement that would have sentenced him to life in prison because the racists threats he received made him afraid of being attacked or killed while incarcerated.

Lawyers were pursuing two legal strategies to save their client before he was executed.  The first was to argue that his trial and sentencing were tainted by racism.  But Balentine was also among five Texas death row inmates who sued to stop the state’s prison system from using what they allege are expired and unsafe execution drugs....

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday declined an appeal from Balentine’s attorneys to halt the execution so that his claims of racial bias could be properly reviewed.

A defense request for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to temporarily stay the execution also failed and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a request to stay Ballentine’s execution over allegations that “racism and racial issues pervaded” his trial.  The appeals court denied the stay on procedural grounds without reviewing the merits.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Balentine’s death sentence to a lesser punishment or to grant a 30-day reprieve....

Koda Shadix, the younger brother of Geyer, one of the victims, said in a video posted online last week that he was upset by efforts to delay justice.  Balentine has “shown no remorse and absolutely does not care what he did.  All he cares about is his life,” Shadix said.

February 8, 2023 at 08:11 PM | Permalink


There's some cute little casual racism: "Balentine is Black. The three victims were white."

Posted by: federalist | Feb 9, 2023 9:07:33 AM

Serious, federalist? The article notes before the sentences you quote that "John Balentine ... had argued that his trial was marred by racial bias." In light of that reality, isn't just noting the race of Balentine and his victims part of reasonable reporting?

I know cries of "racism" now get thrown around for all sorts of anodyne phrases and activities, but I do think it useful to try to preserve some pejorative meaning for that word. But if you sincerely consider, in this context, that noting the race of Balentine and his victims is "racism," I may have to give up believing this word has any important meaning whatsoever. (I also wonder how Bill or Tarls might have reacted if some "anon" made your exact comment.)

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 9, 2023 9:38:09 AM

Check out the capitalization . . . .

Posted by: federalist | Feb 9, 2023 10:57:05 AM

ah, got it... those cute little casual racist AP Stylebook editors. Sorry that I did not understand your initial point (which I suppose shows just how "casual" this all is).

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 9, 2023 11:11:57 AM

It's ridiculous. And they're just asking for a lawsuit. I wouldn't comply with that Stylebook.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 9, 2023 12:01:16 PM

And so Doug, how much racism is ok?

Posted by: federalist | Feb 9, 2023 1:05:29 PM

I am sure I have heard a number of BLM activists ask exactly that question, federalist. The sound answer, of course, is none, which is why it is so important to give serious meaning to the serious term "racism."

I do not view someone's continued use of a term like "peanut gallery" or "marijuana" to be "racism," but some people do. It is hard to even aspire to get to world with no "racism" if racism is just a word used for every choice with any connection to race or racial history that someone does not like (even if for legitimate reasons).

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 9, 2023 1:36:35 PM

The difference in capitalization is racism. Just like the term "white privilege." And it is not easily cabined there.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 9, 2023 2:23:15 PM

So is the term "black market" racism?: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/the-black-market-problem-in-cannabis-op-ed/

Posted by: Doug B | Feb 9, 2023 2:55:37 PM

Nope--but capitalizing one race and not another is.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 10, 2023 9:53:00 AM

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