This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
UPDATE: Anthony Haynes has been granted a stay of execution by the U.S. Supreme Court. You can view the Court’s ruling here. According to the Houston Chronicle, Haynes praised God from his cell for stopping the execution: “God told me I wouldn’t die on death row,” an ecstatic Haynes told a prison employee. “He put things in my path to keep me focused. God proved himself to be faithful. He delivered me from the death chamber. To God be all the glory.”
Texas is preparing to carry out the state’s 11th execution of 2012 with the lethal injection of 33-year-old Anthony Haynes. Haynes was convicted of shooting and killing an off-duty police officer in Houston in 1998.
Haynes, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, claims he did not know his victim, Kent Kincaid, was a police sergeant when he shot him. Kincaid was driving his Jeep Cherokee with his wife, Nancy Kincaid, when Haynes drove by and something hit and cracked Kincaid’s windshield. Kincaid followed Haynes and when Haynes stopped the car, Kincaid approached him.
Kincaid said he was a police officer, asked for Haynes’ license and reached behind his back for his badge. At that point, Haynes pulled out a gun and shot Kincaid in the head. Kincaid was declared brain-dead at the hospital.
Haynes has said he did not know whether to believe Kincaid when he said he was a police officer.
“I’m not a vicious psychopath who goes around wanting to take people’s lives,” Haynes told the Houston Chronicle in a 2001 death row interview cited in this Chicago Tribune report. “There was no intent to kill a cop. He did not ID himself until a second before I shot him.”
According to the Austin Chronicle, “Haynes blamed the tragedy in part on drugs and falling in with a bad crowd of people who reportedly made a game out of shooting at the windshields of passing cars and then robbing the drivers after they stopped. As it happened, the crack in Kincaid’s windshield was made by a bullet. Jurors in Haynes’ case deliberated for three days before sentencing the teen to death.”
Haynes has previously had his sentence overturned when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Haynes’ right to equal protection under the law had been denied by an unusual jury-selection process. From the Austin Chronicle:
Indeed, two different judges presided over Haynes’ jury selection; one heard prosecutors interview individual jurors, and a second heard the lawyers’ arguments for striking from service the potential jurors. As it turned out, the state used its power to strike all but one of the black potential jurors, arguing that it was not their race that excluded them (which would be illegal), but their “demeanor.” But Haynes’ appeal attorney argued that the judge who allowed those strikes had not actually witnessed the jurors’ questioning and thus could not actually have seen whether their demeanor would be a basis on which to have them struck. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately disagreed with the 5th Circuit, ruling that there was no rule that would require a judge to “personally observe” the juror questioning when deciding whether a juror is lawfully struck from service.
On Tuesday the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously rejected Haynes’ request for clemency, as well as his request that the Board recommend to Gov. Rick Perry a 90-day stay of execution to allow a review of his case. A federal court ruled against Haynes as well late Monday night, rejecting his claim that his original trial attorneys were ineffective.
Haynes has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He is set to be executed by lethal injection tonight at 6 p.m. CT in Huntsville, Texas.