The world’s oldest death row inmate is finally nearing the end of his life and is due to receive a lethal injection on Thursday, April 21. Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, was sentenced to death in 1990 after fatally shooting 37-year-old Houston Police Officer James Irby in 1990. Now, it seems as if his long wait for “justice” to be served is nearly over.
- Buntion has appealed his conviction several times. However, each appeal has been thrown out. Most recently, on April 15, a federal judge rejected his lawyer’s attempts to stop the execution as capital punishment is “cruel and unusual.”
- A judge did tell Buntion’s lawyers that there are other avenues to pursue. US District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt told Buntion’s attorneys that if they wanted to keep the fight to reverse the decision alive, they should go to an appeals court.
- Buntion’s health is not very good. The Mirror reports that the 78-year-old is wheelchair-bound and has a number of health issues including chronic liver disease, hepatitis C, and cirrhosis. He also has to live in a ground-floor cell since he experiences “severe vertigo.”
- Buntion’s lawyers have played on his health to stay the execution. “Mr. Buntion is a frail, elderly man who requires specialized care to perform basic functions,” his attorneys wrote in an October 2021 appeal. “He is not a threat to anyone in prison and will not be a threat to anyone in prison if his sentence is reduced to a lesser penalty. During the 31 years he has been incarcerated under a sentence of death, he has been cited for only three disciplinary infractions, and he has not been cited for any infraction whatsoever for the last twenty-three years.”
- Officer Irby’s widow Maura Irby is looking forward to Buntion no longer being alive. “I just found out this morning that Carl Buntion is being executed. It’s been 30 years. We’ve been waiting for this,” she told KPRC 2. “I wish James was here to see this. It is good to close the chapter on my husband’s murder. We can now put this away.”