HUNSTVILLE, TX – Derrick Dewayne Charles was executed on Tuesday for killing his 15-year-old girlfriend, her mother and her grandfather nearly 13 years ago. Charles’ lawyers had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his lethal injection.
Attorneys argued to the high court that the 32-year-old Houston man was mentally incompetent for execution and they needed time and court-approved money for experts and investigators to pursue that claim. Another appeal argued Charles’ trial court violated his constitutional rights by refusing to appoint psychiatric experts and investigators.
The Supreme Court has ruled condemned inmates must be aware they are about to be executed and have a rational understanding of why they’re being put to death. But they didn’t see it that way this time as they allowed the execution to proceed. Charles was one of at least three inmates scheduled for lethal injection over the next several weeks in the nation’s most active capital punishment state (from 1976-2014: Texas had 518 executions).
Charles, on May 14, 2003, pleaded guilty to capital murder charges for the slayings of Myiesha Bennett, her mother, Brenda Bennett, 44, and her grandfather, Obie Bennett, 77. The bodies were discovered at their Houston home in July 2002.