World's Oldest Death Row Inmate Is Now Days Away From Execution
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Featured Image Credit: KHOU/Death Penalty Information Center
The world’s oldest death row inmate is due to be executed by lethal injection on Thursday, 21 April.
Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, was sentenced to death after he shot and killed 37-year-old Houston Police Officer James Irby in 1990.
Buntion was convicted of capital murder in 1991 and has spent the past three decades on death row after having numerous appeals thrown out.
On Friday, 15 April, a federal judge rejected Buntion’s lawyers’ attempts to stop the execution on the grounds the punishment is ‘cruel and unusual’.
However, US District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt recommended that if Buntion’s lawyers want to keep fighting the decision, they should seek permission from an appeals court, as per the Houston Chronicle.
Back in 1990, Buntion fatally shot Irby when the officer pulled over a car he was riding in.
As Irby spoke to the driver, Buntion – who was sitting in the passenger seat – exited the vehicle and shot Irby once in the head and twice in the back.
According to The Mirror, wheelchair-bound Buntion now suffers from numerous health issues including hepatitis C, cirrhosis and chronic liver disease.
What’s more, the elderly inmate, who already had an ‘extensive criminal record’ before shooting Irby, lives in a ground-floor cell as he suffers from ‘severe vertigo’.
A rejected appeal filed by Buntion’s lawyers in October 2021 argued: “Mr. Buntion is a frail, elderly man who requires specialised care to perform basic functions.
“He is not a threat to anyone in prison and will not be a threat to anyone in prison if his sentence is reduced to a lesser penalty.
“During the 31 years he has been incarcerated under a sentence of death, he has been cited for only three disciplinary infractions, and he has not been cited for any infraction whatsoever for the last twenty-three years.”
Officer Irby’s family have welcomed the news of Buntion’s imminent execution, with his widow Maura Irby telling KPRC 2: “I just found out this morning that Carl Buntion is being executed. It’s been 30 years. We’ve been waiting for this.
"I wish James was here to see this. It is good to close the chapter on my husband’s murder. We can now put this away.”
The Houston Chronicle notes that after shooting Irby in 1990, Buntion fled and ‘fired more shots at witnesses’.
Irby had served the police department for 18 years at the time of his death.
Texas last executed a death row inmate in September when Rick Rhoades was lethally injected for killing two men 30 years ago.
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