A Texas man was executed last Tuesday for killing an elderly woman two decades ago. The execution was on the 21stWorld Day Against the Death Penalty and came after questioning the evidence used to persuade a jury to sentence him to death.
Jedidiah Murphy was pronounced dead at 10:15 p.m. local time after getting a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. He killed 80 year-old Bertie Lee Cunningham during a carjack near Dallas in October 2000.
“To the family of the victim, I sincerely apologize for all of it,” Murphy said. “I hope this helps, if possible, give you closure,” He then quoted a Bible’s Psalm 34 and concluded: “God bless all y’all. It’s OK. Tell my babies I love them.”
Murphy had a history of mental illness, including visual hallucinations and dissociative blackouts. Though he admitted the crime, he said he said he shot Lee Cunningham by accident, and it was during one of those blackouts.
Attorneys used evidence of two robberies and kidnapping to persuade jurors that Murphy would be dangerous in the future, evidence needed to secure a death sentence in Texas.
Over two decades, Murphy filed legal challenges attempting to overturn his death sentence. He requested for DNA testing to prove he did not commit the other crimes, but authorities denied the request.
Texas will have three more executions this year and it’s the state with more people charged with capital punishment in the past two decades.