Texas

The next execution in Texas is scheduled on World Day Against the Death Penalty

Activists for the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement will be in various Texas cities on Tuesday to protest the scheduled execution of Jedidiah Murphy.

Protests to abolish the death penalty took place ahead of another scheduled lethal injection.
Patricia Ortiz/Houston Public Media
Protests to abolish the death penalty took place ahead of another scheduled lethal injection.

The Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement (TDPAM) is protesting an execution scheduled next Tuesday on "World Day Against the Death Penalty."

Jedidiah Murphy is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on October 10. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, he was convicted in 2001 of murdering a 79-year-old woman.

Gloria Rubac is an activist with the TDPAM. She said Murphy's story is not too different from the stories of many other people on death row.

"[They] grow up with violence, with sexual abuse, with homelessness, with hunger," she said. "Jedidiah said his parents kicked him out. He was in different foster homes. And even the foster homes were violent.”

Murphy told the Texas Observer that he, "confessed to this case before I was ever arrested, and that was because I wanted people to know the truth."

Ruback said October 10, or "World Day Against the Death Penalty" is a day to reflect on the use of the death penalty and what she said is a cruel punishment for those on death row.

"I visit death row, I have friends on death row. I've met some people on death row I wouldn't want living next to me, but I've made some really nice friends as well."

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the countries with the most confirmed executions in 2022 include China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the U.S. Rubac said the United States has seen over 1,500 executions in the country since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. She said over a third of those executions have happened in Texas.

"In Texas, we need to kinda think outside the box we're in and realize that around the world, not everybody is ‘rah-rah-rah, kill ‘em all'," she said.

Rubac said there are at least two reasons to not have the death penalty.

"It's expensive," she said. "We sat here at SHAPE Center at one of our meetings and figured out with the 500-something executions that Texas was up to at that point, we had spent well over a billion dollars on executions. If you sentence somebody to life in prison, it's a fraction of that."

Rubac said death row is also racist, and that almost 75% of people on death row are people of color.

"And the majority of executions take place in the South in former confederate states," Rubac said.

Arthur Brown Jr., who was convicted in 1992 for four Harris County murders, was the last man Texas executed earlier this year. Around that time, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, Richard Dieter, said Brown had an intellectual disability. He said that decision-making for who is on death row can often feel arbitrary.

"You don't always get the worst. You rarely get the worst," he said.

William Speer is another man scheduled for the death penalty this month. According to the Department of Criminal Justice, he received a life sentence from Harris County for one count of capital murder with a deadly weapon.

Gloria Rubac's team plans to protest both the penalties of Murphy and Speer. She said she will be in Huntsville next week.

"And if there's no stay of execution, we will be out there," Rubac said.