Death Row InmatesUS Executions

Carl Buntion Texas Death Row

Carl Buntion

Carl Buntion was sentenced to death by the State of Texas for the murder of a police officer. According to court documents Carl Buntion was the passenger in a car that was pulled over by the police officer. Carl Buntion would get out of the car and fatally shoot the police officer. Carl Buntion would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Carl Buntion 2022 Information

SID Number:    01076723

TDCJ Number:    00000993


Race:    W

Gender:    M

Age:    77

Maximum Sentence Date:    DEATH ROW       

Current Facility:    POLUNSKY

Projected Release Date:    DEATH ROW

Parole Eligibility Date:    DEATH ROW

Inmate Visitation Eligible:    YES

Carl Buntion More News

The oldest Texas death row inmate is to be executed in April for killing a Houston police officer more than 30 years ago, prosecutors said Tuesday, Jan. 4.

A Houston state judge scheduled the execution of Carl Wayne Buntion, 77, for April 21 during a court hearing on Tuesday.

Buntion had been on parole for six weeks when he fatally shot Houston police officer James Irby, 37, during a June 1990 traffic stop.

Buntion, who had an extensive criminal record, was a passenger in the car that Irby pulled over.

“He shot a policeman in the head more than 30 years ago, and it is time that he be held accountable for his horrific crime,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

Carl Buntion was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1991, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated his death sentence in 2009.

A jury in 2012 returned him to death row following a new sentencing trial

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by Buntion’s lawyers.

But in a statement, Justice Stephen Breyer said that Buntion’s “lengthy confinement, and the confinement of others like him, calls into question the constitutionality of the death penalty.”

Carl Buntion Execution

Texas executed its oldest death row inmate by lethal injection on Thursday, shortly after the governor of Tennessee granted a temporary reprieve in what would have been the state’s first execution since the pandemic began.

Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, was executed at 6:39 p.m. CT on Thursday, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Buntion, who was the first inmate in Texas to be executed this year, was put on death row after being convicted of fatally shooting 37-year-old Houston police motorcycle officer James Irby after a traffic stop in 1990, according to the Texas Department of Corrections.

In June 1990, Buntion and John Killingsworth were pulled over by Irby for a traffic violation, documents show. Buntion shot the 19-year veteran Houston officer once in the head and then shot him twice more in the back as he lay on the ground.

Buntion, a former auto mechanic, was captured inside a nearby warehouse after firing at three additional people, including two witnesses, while fleeing on foot, according to state documents. Buntion, who had an extensive criminal history, had been on parole for about six weeks when he killed Irby, the documents show.

Killingsworth was not charged in connection with the crime, according to documents.

A spiritual advisor was present at Buntion’s execution, nearly two months after the US Supreme Court ruled that the death row inmate could have his spiritual adviser pray aloud and “lay hands” on him during his execution.

The March ruling relates not to Buntion but to a different death row inmate, John Henry Ramirez, and establishes new guidelines that will govern similar requests in other prisons across the country. The court agreed to block the execution of Ramirez in 2021 while the justices considered his requests concerning his pastor.

At the time, policy in Texas allowed a pastor in the death chamber, but the pastor could not speak up or physically touch the inmate.

“This was the first execution in which an inmate’s spiritual advisor was allowed to touch and pray during the execution, and there were no issues that took place with that,” said Jason Clark, chief of staff for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Meanwhile, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee granted a temporary reprieve in the execution of Oscar Franklin Smith due to an “oversight in preparation for lethal injection,” he announced just moments before the scheduled 7 p.m. execution on Thursday.

Lee said in a tweet that the execution would not move forward.

“I am granting a temporary reprieve while we address Tennessee Department of Correction protocol. Further details will be released when available,” the tweet said.

Smith, 72, was scheduled to be executed for the 1989 murders of his wife and her two minor children in Nashville. He would have been the first inmate to be executed in the state since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The state has not performed an execution since February 2020, when Nicholas Sutton was put to death by electric chair.

Earlier this week, Lee said he would not intervene and grant clemency to Smith. The state’s Court of Criminal Appeals last week denied Smith’s motion to reopen his case and his motion to have a DNA analysis review of the case. On Monday, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied hearing his appeal.

CNN has reached out to the governor’s office, the department of corrections and Smith’s attorney for more information.

The pandemic delayed executions in many states, including Tennessee, though annual execution numbers have been generally decreasing since the early 2000s, according to an analysis from the Death Penalty Information Center.

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