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USA (Texas): Further informations on death penalty / Legal concern: James Lee Beathard

, Index number: AMR 51/200/1999

James Beathard was executed in Texas as scheduled on the evening of 9 December 1999, despite serious concerns surrounding his conviction. He had been sentenced to death in 1985 for the murder of Marcus Lee Hathorn.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/200/99
10 December 1999
Further information on EXTRA 167/99 (AMR 51/191/99, 26 November 1999) - Death
penalty / Legal concern
USA (Texas)James Lee Beathard, white, aged 42
James Beathard was executed in Texas as scheduled on the evening of 9 December
1999, despite serious concerns surrounding his conviction. He had been sentenced
to death in 1985 for the murder of Marcus Lee Hathorn.
According to reports, James Beathard made a lengthy final statement, in which
he expressed his love for his family and criticized the death penalty: “The
United States has got to the point now where there is zero respect for human
life. My death is just a symptom of a bigger illness.” He maintained his
innocence, and reiterated that the statements given at his trial by his
co-defendant, Gene Hathorn, which played a major role in putting Beathard on
death row, were false (as Gene Hathorn claimed after the trial). He also
criticized the prosecutor who, at the two men’s separate trials, promoted
different versions of the 1984 crime.
James Beathard becomes the 33
rd
prisoner executed in Texas, and the 95
th
nationwide, in 1999. He was also one of four prisoners executed in the USA
on 9 December, the eve of Human Rights Day (see News Service 231/99, AMR
51/197/99, 8 December 1999 - USA: Four prisoners to be killed on the eve of
Human Rights Day as USA heads for 100
th
execution in 1999, and News Service
232/99, AMR 51/199/99, 9 December 1999 - News Flash: USA’s addiction to execution
continues).
This is the first time, since the USA resumed executions in 1977, that four
prisoners have been put to death on the same day. James Beathard also becomes
the 595
th
prisoner executed in the USA since 1977. Of these, 197 have been carried
out in Texas, more than half under the governorship of George W. Bush.
No further action by the UA Network is requested. Many thanks to all who sent
appeals on behalf of James Beathard.

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