A Texas man convicted of fatally beating his 83-year-old great aunt more than two decades ago was executed Wednesday evening without media witnesses present because prison agency officials neglected to notify reporters it was time to carry out the punishment, the AP reports. Quintin Jones received the lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the September 1999 killing of Berthena Bryant, agency spokesman Jeremy Desel said about 30 minutes after Jones was pronounced dead. Desel never received the usual phone call from the Huntsville Unit prison to bring reporters from the Associated Press and the Huntsville Item to the prison. He and the media witnesses were waiting in an office across the street. “The Texas Department of Criminal Justice can only apologize for this error and nothing like this will ever happen again,” he said.
Desel said he didn't immediately know if the glitch was a violation of state law or a violation of agency policy. There were no unusual circumstances with the execution itself, he said, relying on accounts from agency officials who were inside the death chamber. Prosecutors said after Bryant refused to lend Jones money, he beat her with a bat in her Fort Worth home then took $30 from her purse to buy drugs. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Jones’ clemency petition on Tuesday and Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t go against that decision and also declined to delay the execution; less than an hour before the scheduled punishment, the US Supreme Court declined to halt the 41-year-old man's execution. Some of Bryant’s family members, including her sister Mattie Long, had said they didn’t want Jones to be executed. (Read more here.)