|Robert Lynn Pruett|
(Photo courtesy of The Express)
Robert Lynn Pruett is 35 years old and he has been in prison since he was 15. Which means he has spent more of his life locked up than he did on the out. Pruett's original sentence was 99 years without parole. This was for the role he played in the murder of a neighbour. Although Pruett was not the person who stabbed the man to death, his father was, Robert was convicted under the "law of parties" act. This means if an individual is behind the events that eventually lead to the murder, they are held as culpable as the person who does the deed.
Four years into his sentence at a Texas prison, prison corrections officer Daniel Nagle was stabbed to death with a handmade shank (the name for an often crude weapon made by an inmate from everyday items). While there was no DNA or finger print evidence, a report written by the officer was torn up and strewn all over the crime scene. That report was actually a write up for a violation allegedly committed by Pruett earlier in the day. This write up is what is believed to have made Pruett angry enough to kill. Pruett denies murdering Officer Nagle and has always insisted he had never touched the report. Pruett's 21/05/2013 execution was stayed to allow for the evidence to undergo DNA testing. The results were inconclusive.
In Febuary 2014 Pruett was given a new execution date, 21/05/2014 - twelve months to the day of his first one. However, in April this execution date was also stayed to await further testing of evidence.
While there is no doubting Pruett's guilt for the original crime, many believe he is innocent in the murder of Officer Nagle. According to Pruett supporters he is the victim of "bent" correctional officers who wanted rid of Daniel Nagle because he was "by the book". While these allegations have never been proven, two correctional officers left their positions one month after the murder. Pruett's defence also points out that witness statements provided by other inmates are unreliable as many were offered privileges or even early release in return for their statements.
So, what do you think? Could Texas be wanting to execute the wrong man or is he truly deserving of the death penalty?
Robert Lynn Pruett is set to be executed April 28th, 2015. When this update went to publication, his appeals for a stay of execution had so far been unsuccessful. You can read more about Robert here.
|The Allan B. Polunsky Unit|
Home of Texas' Death Row
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)