This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows inmate Rick Rhoades.
A Texas inmate was executed Tuesday night for fatally stabbing two Houston-area brothers in a burglary at their home more than 30 years ago.
Rick Rhoades, 57, was executed by lethal injection at Huntsville State Penitentiary. He was convicted of the September 1991 murders of Charles Allen, 31, and Bradley Allen, 33. The brothers were killed less than a day after Rhoades was released on parole after serving time for burglary.
The United States Supreme Court refused to delay Rhoades’ execution for allegations that his constitutional due process rights had been violated because he was barred from pursuing claims that some potential jurors at his trial had could be dismissed for reasons of racial discrimination.
“We hope the Allen family will find peace after nearly 30 years of waiting for justice to be served to their loved ones. The death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst, and a Harris County jury long ago determined that this defendant fit the bill. Let us honor the memory of the victims, Charles and Bradley Allen, and never forget that we are and always will be on the victims, ”Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement.
In July, lawyers for Rhoades filed a federal lawsuit against State District Judge Ana Martinez in Houston for asking the judge to order prosecutors to disclose information relating to allegations that some jurors were fired for discrimination. racial.
Martinez decided that she did not have the jurisdiction to consider the request. The lawsuit was dismissed earlier this month by a Houston federal judge, who also refused to stay the execution. The 5th U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit and also refused to stay the execution. The appeals court in 2019 previously dismissed a similar request by Rhoades’ lawyers over allegations that two black jurors were fired due to racial prejudice. Rhoades is white.
Rhoades’ lawyers had previously argued unsuccessfully in other appeals: that his constitutional rights were violated when childhood photos depicting Rhoades in normal and happy activities and designed to show that he was non-violent and that he would do well in prison were excluded during the punishment phase of his trial; that a state investigator gave false testimony during his trial as to whether Rhoades could be granted unaccompanied leave if he was sentenced to life imprisonment; and that “evolving standards of decency” prohibit executions as a punishment for murder.
“A 2020 Gallup Poll on American Attitudes Towards Death Penalty Shows Public Support for the Death Penalty Is at its lowest in half a century, with opposition higher than ever since 1996,” wrote David Dow and Jeffrey Newberry in a lawsuit. last month.
Rhoades had a long criminal record, including burglary and auto theft convictions in Florida, Iowa and Texas, when he broke into Charles Allen’s home in the Houston suburb of Pasadena.
The house, located near where the siblings’ parents lived, had just been custom built for Charles Allen and he had invited his brother to live with him temporarily. The two brothers had recently gone through separate divorces.
Charles Allen, who played the piano and dreamed of a musical career, worked as a chemical operator at a local refinery. Bradley Allen has worked as a freelance artist.
At trial, prosecutors told jurors the siblings were sleeping when Rhoades broke into their home in the early hours of the morning and attacked Charles Allen while he was in bed. Bradley Allen was killed while standing up for his brother.
An arrest in the case was not made until about a month later, when Rhoades was caught robbing an elementary school. While in detention, Rhoades confessed to killing the brothers. But he claimed it was done in self-defense after exchanging words with Charles Allen as Rhoades walked around at 2:30 a.m.
“I was tired of running. I wanted to tell what happened, ”Rhoades said in his confession.
Rhoades was the third inmate to be killed this year in Texas and the sixth in the United States. Four more executions are slated for later this year in Texas, the nation’s highest death penalty state.