Texas prisoner faces execution for murder of prison supervisor

HOUSTON (AP) - A Texas prisoner will be executed Wednesday night for killing a supervisor in a shoe factory in Amarillo state prison almost 17 years ago. Travis Runnels, 46, faces a lethal injection by the death of January 29, 2003, of Stanley Wiley, 38. Prosecutors said Runnels cut Wiley's neck in the Clements Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Amarillo because he didn't like working as a janitor in the shoe factory. They said Runnels had wanted to transfer to a job at the prison barbershop and was angry at Wiley because that hadn't happened. Runnels had been serving a 70-year sentence for a conviction for aggravated robbery in Dallas when he killed Wiley with a knife used to cut shoes. The factory makes shoes for prisoners in the state prison system. Runnels approached Wiley from behind, threw back his head and used enough force for the knife to pass through his trachea and cut Wiley's spinal cord. He was a coward, Prosecutor Randall Sims told the jury at the Runnels trial. If he It happens that Runnels would be the 22nd inmate executed this year in the United States and the ninth in Texas. His lawyers are asking the US Supreme Court. UU. Let him intervene, claiming that a witness to the indictment at his trial provided a false testimony regarding his prison classification if a jury chose life without parole instead of a death sentence. Runnels' lawyers also say that no defense was filed in his 2005 trial since his lawyers advised him to plead guilty and then did not call witnesses in a trial that lasted two days. Janet Gilger-VanderZanden, one of her lawyers, said Runnels became a changed man during his 14 years on death row. “There is true and genuine remorse for the death of Mr. Wiley. There are no excuses, rather there is a commitment to find some kind of light in what was once a world of darkness, ”said Gilger-VanderZanden. The lower courts and the Texas Board of Pardons and Probation have rejected Runnel's lawyers' requests to stop his execution. Three prisoners who were convicted of the death of state correctional officers or other prison employees have been executed since 1974, while three others remain on death row, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Wiley, who grew up in the city of Amarillo Panhandle of Texas, began working as a state corrections officer in 1994. He was later promoted to a supervisory position. Inmate Bud Williams Jr., who worked at the shoe factory, testified that Wiley was a good guy. In their trial, the lawyers of Runnels did not present any witness or evidence, including information on the problematic child and family history of drug and alcohol abuse of Runnels, Gilger-VanderZanden said. In their petition to the Supreme Court, the lawyers of Runnels argue that their death sentence was mainly due to the testimony of prison expert AP Merillat, who told the jury that inmates such as Runnels could not be held in a safe environment if they were life sentence without parole. . The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has previously revoked the death sentences of two other inmates, in 2010 and 2012, after ruling that jurors received incorrect information from Merillat. The Texas Attorney General's Office noted Runnels' attacks on other guards after Wiley's death, including throwing feces and a lightbulb, as evidence that it was a future danger and deserved a death sentence. In his petition for clemency to the Texas Board of Pardons and Probation, Runnels included letters from more than 25 people around the world who said Runnels has worked to amend what he did. “It has become a light that shines even in the darkest spaces. The tragedy he is responsible for will only worsen if his valuable light is extinguished, ”Kristin Procanick of Syracuse, New York wrote in one of the letters. ___ Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70 This story has not been edited by The Times of India and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe. (This story has not been edited by timesofindia.com and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe.)