Death Row inmate asked for foot massage before execution for killing three teens
A man convicted of shooting dead three teenagers while they slept more than 25 years ago has been executed by lethal injection.
John Balentine, 54, was put to death at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, on Wednesday (February 8) amid ongoing allegations that his trial was marred by racial bias.
Balentine appeared jovial as he entered the chamber, reportedly asking someone if they could help massage his feet and chuckling as he was placed on the execution table.
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Following a short prayer from a spiritual adviser, he gave a short statement where he thanked his friends for their support, and told the family of the victims – seven of whom were sitting watching through a window – “I want to apologise for the wrong I did".
A powerful sedative was then injected into his arms, causing him to snore several times before he passed away 15 minutes after the drug was administered.
It had been unclear whether his execution, the second to take place in the US in just over 24 hours, would proceed after a judge withdrew the execution date and warrant last week because the inmate's lawyers had not been properly notified of the lethal injection, which is required under state law.
Balentine was convicted of the January 1998 shooting deaths of Edward Mark Caylor, 17, Kai Brooke Geyer, 15, and Steven Watson, 15, at a property in Amarillo, when he was aged 28 with prosecutors saying all three were blasted once in the head as they slept.
Caylor's sister was Balentine's former girlfriend, and the shootings were said to have stemmed from a feud between Caylor and Balentine.
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Balentine had argued that Caylor and others had threatened his life over his interracial relationship.
The appeals court also denied a request from Balentine's lawyers to halt his execution over allegations that "racism and racial issues pervaded" his trial.
The appeals court denied the request on procedural grounds without reviewing the merits of the lawyers' claims.
His attorneys alleged the jury foreman, Dory England, held racist views and used racial slurs during his life, and bullied other jurors who had wanted Balentine to receive a life sentence.
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