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World’s Oldest Death Row Inmate Killed After Awaiting Execution For 30 Years

World’s Oldest Death Row Inmate Killed After Awaiting Execution For 30 Years

Carl Wayne Buntion was sentenced to death for the killing of a police officer

The oldest person on death row was executed this week more than three decades after being convicted of killing a police officer.

Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, was sentenced to death after the shooting of Houston police officer James Irby in June 1990, when Buntion was on parole for a previous crime.

The death row inmate had been a passenger in a car that Irby, a nearly 20-year member of the force, pulled over.

Buntion was sentenced to death in 1991, and remained behind bars for decades. In 2009 he actually had his sentence vacated by an appeals court, but three years later he was resentenced to death. The US Supreme Court declined a request by Buntion’s attorneys to stop his execution, and on Thursday, 21 April, he was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.

Buntion was joined by his spiritual adviser as he was given a lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital. He began praying, saying "The Lord is my Shepherd...” before taking a deep breath and coughing. His movements stopped and he was pronounced dead at 6.39pm local time, ABC News reports.

Prior to his execution, Buntion said he wanted the Irby family 'to know one thing', saying: "I do have remorse for what I did. I pray to God that they get the closure for me killing their father and Ms. Irby’s husband. I hope to see you in heaven some day and when you show up I will give you a big hug.”

Texas death chamber.

Irby's widow, Maura, said she felt 'joy' after watching Buntion's execution. “I’m sorry someone died. But I didn’t think of him as a person. I just thought of him as a thing, as a cancer on the face of my family," she explained.

Maura previously explained Irby had been speaking of retirement and spending more time with his two children before he was killed, describing how he was 'ready to fill out the paperwork and stay home and open a feed store'.

"He wanted to be the dad that was there to go to all the ballgames and the father daughter dances. He was a super guy, the love of my life," she continued.

Buntion’s attorneys sought to stop the execution by arguing that while Buntion 'deserved to be punished severely' for Irby's death, his execution was unconstitutional because the jury’s finding he would be a future danger to society was proven to be incorrect.

They also claimed his execution would serve no legitimate purpose after so many years, describing him as a a geriatric inmate who suffered from arthritis, vertigo and needed a wheelchair. Appeals were turned down by various state and federal courts.

Buntion's death marked the first inmate executed in Texas in 2022.

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Featured Image Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Alamy

Topics: Crime, US News, Life