Texas killed 53-year-old Brent Ray Brewer by lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville last week. Brewer was executed for the April 1990 death of 66-year-old Robert Laminack during a robbery. He was 19 at the time.
In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Brewer’s 1991 death sentence, finding that finding that the court failed to give his jurors the instructions that they could consider mitigating factors in his case and sentence him to life instead of death. Among those factors were Brewer’s history of abuse as a child and his mental illness.
Still, he was sentenced to death again in 2009. At his resentencing trial, Dr. Richard Coons, whose testimony in a different capital case in 2010 was found “insufficiently reliable” by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, testified that Brewer had no conscience and presented a future danger. His lawyers stated that this assessment was also “unscientific” and “baseless.” They noted that while Brewer was in prison awaiting his resentencing, he had no history of violence. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal denied both their appeals, the first that his death sentence was the product of junk science, and a second appeal for a stay of execution.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 7-0 against commuting Brewer’s death sentence to a lesser penalty “despite a powerful plea from a juror who did not want to vote for a death sentence and evidence of Brewer’s personal growth and transformation over more than three decades on death row,” the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty reported.
Brewer’s “execution is the farthest thing from justice,” his lawyers said in a statement. “When those of us who know Brent Brewer reflect back on his life, the first word that will come to mind is redemption. He has worked every day on his religious faith which has been at the center of his life. He has cared for everyone who he came into contact with: guards, counselors, fellow inmates, medical staff and his attorneys. He has cared deeply for his family, particularly his sister and they for him. Brent will rest in peace.”
Brewer’s was the state’s seventh execution this year. The state plans to kill David Renteria on Thursday.