New execution date set for Balentine Convicted murderer's sentence delayed twice; lawyer prepares new lawsuit Posted: April 20, 2012 By BOBBY CERVANTES ----------
Prosecutors have secured the third execution date in more than a decade for an Amarillo man convicted in the 1998 killings of three Amarillo teens, according to court records.
The state is set to execute John Balentine, 43, on Aug. 22, according to an order from 320th District Court Judge Don Emerson.
Since his 1999 capital murder conviction, Balentine has eluded two execution dates after state and federal judges have stayed his executions, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice records. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court declined last month to hear his appeal and lifted the stay.
In a letter to Emerson, Lydia Brandt, Balentine’s attorney, said prosecutors are needlessly rushing an execution date as she plans to file a federal case on behalf of her client.
“Worse, setting an execution date, knowing that further litigation is imminent, will needlessly inflict more suffering on the victims’ families,” Brandt’s letter said.
Brandt has said the defendant’s trial attorney did not include any evidence of Balentine’s violent and abusive childhood, which might have swayed jurors toward life in prison.
A Potter County jury found Balentine guilty in 1999 of fatally shooting Edward Mark Caylor, 17; Kai Brooke Geyer, 15; and Steven Brady Watson, 15. Authorities said he fired .32-caliber pistol shots into the heads of all three teens as they slept in an East 17th Avenue home.
Prosecutors said the incident stemmed from an argument between Balentine and Caylor, whose sister had been in a relationship with Balentine.
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