The world’s oldest death row inmate is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on 21 April.
Carl Wayne Buntion, aged 78, received his sentence after he shot and killed 37-year-old Houston police officer James Irby in 1990.
The inmate was convicted of capital murder the following year and has been on death row for the past 30 years, losing many appeals in that time.
On 15 April, a federal judge refused Buntion lawyers’ efforts to stop the execution on the basis the punishment is ‘cruel and unusual’.
In 1990, the inmate fatally shot Irby after the officer pulled over the car he was a passenger in. As the officer spoke to the driver, Buntion exited the vehicle, shot Irby in the head and twice in the back.
As reported by The Mirror, not only is the inmate in a wheelchair, but also suffers from many health issues including hepatitis C, cirrhosis and chronic liver disease.
In October 2021, his lawyers 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 were happy to hear the news of their beloved James’ killer being executed after 30 years. Irby’s widow Maura told 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.”