Houston leads the nation as the execution epicenter

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HOUSTON, Texas – When it comes to killing people legally, Houston stands alone.

“Houston by itself has executed more inmates than any other state in the nation,” said Professor Frank Baumgartner of UNC-Chapel Hill.

One hundred-twenty-five in the past 40 years, to be exact.  That’s out of just more than 1400 death penalty cases nationwide where the sentence has been carried out.

That number wasn’t pulled out of a hat. It’s based on extensive research about capital punishment in the modern era and just one of several statistics laid out in a just released book called Deadly Justice.

Baumgartner co-wrote the book. The poly-sci professor said Houston’s stats are an aberration. He credits the district attorney.  “They’re the ones that start the ball rolling. There’s no question about that.”

D.A.’s choose which cases should carry the death penalty and their opinions vary from county to county.

Another stat: nationwide, only 13% of death sentences have been carried out and more than 37% have been reversed on appeal.  Basically, it’s more expensive to sentence someone to death than life without parole.   That includes wrongful convictions.

“One day you may be getting news that you’re case is gonna get a hearing, then 10 days later they’ve taken it back and given you an execution date,” said Anthony Graves. He was sentenced to death and served 18½ years, 12½ in solitary, for a crime he didn’t commit.

“Just an emotional roller coaster every day. You know, you just have to fasten your seat belt.”

Exonerated seven years ago, Graves established a foundation to promote criminal justice reforms with an emphasis on rehabilitation, and he`s written a book about going from convict to activist.

“I mean, I’m the expert and I know what needs to be done because I put things in place that I wish would have been there for me.”

Two different books, one common message: The criminal justice system is imperfect. But for now, it’s what we’ve got.

Stay connected! Download the CW39 NewsFix app for iOS or Android devices and the CW39 Weather app for iOS or Android devices.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



Rotary International Convention Coming to Houston in 2022

Typhoon In-Fa new Tokyo and Tropics update - Adam Krueger

Tokyo Olympics forecast - Adam Krueger

Weekend Minute Maid Park forecast and 7-Day - Carrigan Chauvin, Star Harvey

Weekend grilling and beach forecast - Star Harvey

Mystery Wire| Are UFOs and cryptid creatures connected?

Feels like forecast for weekend of July 23,2021 - Adam Krueger

Outside/Inside: Weather & Migraines - Carrigan Chauvin

Governor Abbott signs anti-fentanyl legislation into law in Houston

30-day temperature recap & 7-day forecast

Sunrise and today's forecast - Adam Krueger

"Stargirl" August 10 on Cw39

Weather | Child car deaths, a closer look at car VS. Air temperature - Star Harvey

Sunrise and Air quality is an Ozone Action Day - Adam Krueger

1 month rain recap - Carrigan Chauvin

Houston athlete schedule for Japan 2020 - Sharron Melton

New '311' call center for Houston - Sharron Melton

Weather | Recap lack of heat and abundance of rain for the last 30 days

Weather Wednesday (Lightning)



Don't Miss