Texas inmate Quintin Jones was executed by lethal injection on Wednesday without media witnesses present.
The press could not witness the death of the 41-year-old because prison agency officials neglected to notify reporters it was time to carry out the punishment, according to the Associated Press. It was the first time in at least 40 years that media was not present at an execution.
A Texas department of criminal justice spokesman, Jeremy Desel, said he did not receive the usual phone call from the Huntsville Unit prison to bring reporters. Desel said the error “will never happen again”. Desel also said he did not know if the error was a violation of state law or a violation of agency policy.
Jones, convicted of killing his great-aunt in 1999, was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville at 6.40pm.
“I would like to thank all of the supporting people who helped me over the years,” he said in his last statement. “Love all my friends and all the friendships that I have made. They are like the sky. It is all part of life, like a big full plate of food for the soul. I hope I left everyone a plate of food full of happy memories, happiness and no sadness. I’m done, warden.”
Jones had made a clemency petition asking the state pardons board and governor to commute his sentence to life in prison. His plea was rejected.
Jones beat his great-aunt to death with a baseball bat she kept for her own protection. The killing was motivated by Jones’s drug addiction at the time. His other great-aunt, Bryant’s younger sister, Mattie Long, has forgiven him.
“Another Black man has been executed tonight. America’s outlook on justice remains broken, barbaric and inhuman,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in a tweet. “Perhaps we need more forgiveness, more love, more understanding. I have no other words.”
The writer Suleika Jaouad also expressed her grief on Twitter. “Justice was not served. The world is not a better place because Quin is gone,” Jaouad wrote. “May his memory expand our capacity for grace and mercy.”
In his six years in office, the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, has only granted clemency once: to a white inmate, Thomas Whitaker.
Over the course of the year Texas plans to carry out five executions including that of Jones, out of a nationwide total of seven.