With the execution of Terry Lee Hankins last night, Texas Governor Rick Perry has reached a pretty apalling benchmark: 200 executions in his eight and a half years as governor. As in other states, the death penalty in Texas has proven to be ineffective as a deterrent, racist in its application, and extremely costly. Not to mention that Texas does not have a strong reputation for considering all of the evidence before going forth with an executuion: there have been at least eight executions in the last twenty years where there was strong evidence of the defendant’s innocence – five of them were from Texas. This overzealous approach to justice means that Texas sometimes fails to punish the true perpetrators of some pretty horrific crimes. Texas has been responsible for 439 executions since the death penalty was re-applied in 1976. That’s 38% of all executions in the United States since that time.
Terry Hankins was executed by lethal injection around 6:19pm for shooting his two step children and his wife. He had also confessed to killing his father and half-sister around 2000, though he was only tried for the first three deaths.
The state of Texas is likely to continue its reckless spree of executions. Hankins was the 16th execution this year, and the state still has four more executions scheduled over the next four months, the next of which is Kenneth Mosley on July 16.