Texas Inmate Faced Final Judgment for Brutal Killing of Three Teens

John Balentine, an inmate convicted in Texas, was executed on Wednesday evening for the brutal killing of three teenagers in a Texas Panhandle home over 25 years ago according to Fox News. Despite allegations of racial bias during his trial, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated the execution order and warrant at the request of prosecutors in Potter County, where Balentine was convicted. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay the execution, denying Balentine’s claims of racial bias from being properly reviewed.

John Balentine was executed for killing three teenagers in 1998 (Photo: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

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Balentine was sentenced to death for the January 1998 shooting deaths of Edward Mark Caylor, 17, Kai Brooke Geyer, 15, and Steven Watson, 15, at a home in Amarillo. Balentine, who is Black, claimed that he had received threats over his interracial relationship with Caylor’s sister, who was white. Balentine’s lawyers allege that the jury foreman held racist views and used racial slurs and that prosecutors used their objections during jury selection to remove all prospective Black jurors from serving at the trial.

However, one of Balentine’s trial lawyers, Randall Sherrod, denies that he or the other attorney had any racist attitudes towards Balentine. He states that Balentine received a fair trial and that they tried to help him in any way they could. Despite their efforts, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Balentine’s death sentence and a federal judge in Houston denied a request to stay the execution.

Balentine’s execution was the third in Texas and the sixth in the U.S. this year according to ABC News. It took place a day after Missouri put to death a man convicted of killing his live-in girlfriend and her three young children. The final judgment of John Balentine serves as a reminder of the complexities and controversies surrounding the death penalty in the United States.

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