An Amarillo man who was fatally stabbed during a robbery over 33 years ago was the victim of a Texas prisoner whose advocates claim he was given a death sentence because of fabricated and unreliable expert testimony. The man was scheduled to be executed on Thursday night.
The 66-year-old Robert Laminack was attacked while he was giving Brent Ray Brewer and his girlfriend a ride to a Salvation Army facility in April 1990. Brewer, 53, was found guilty of Laminack’s death. Laminack was allegedly robbed of $140 and stabbed in the neck, according to the prosecution.
In 1991, Brewer was found guilty of capital murder and given the death penalty. However, in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the death sentences that Brewer and two other prisoners from Texas had been given, finding that the juries in their cases had been given the incorrect information when they determined the men should be put to death.
In 2009, Brewer faced a new punishment trial and was once more given the death penalty. Brewer did not have a history of violence while incarcerated, but Brewer’s attorneys claim that at the resentence trial, Coons lied and said, without any scientific evidence, that Brewer had no conscience and would be a danger in the future.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals deemed Coon’s testimony regarding future dangerousness to be “insufficiently reliable” and declared that he shouldn’t have been permitted to testify not a 2010 decision involving another death row inmate.
Brewer was prosecuted by Randall County District Attorney Robert Love, whose office maintained in court filings that prosecutors gave deceptive testimony about Brewer’s potential for harm in the future and that Coon’s testimony “was not material to the jury’s verdict.”
One of the jurors in Brewer’s 2009 resentencing trial, Michele Douglas, stated in an opinion piece published in the Houston Chronicle last week that she voted for death by mistake because she thought a life sentence would have been appropriate in this particular case due to a faulty instruction.
State Representative Joe Moody declared that Brewer’s execution was “morally wrong” in light of the circumstances, and he has attempted to introduce legislation to correct the erroneous instruction that Douglas referenced. Brewer would be the 21st prisoner executed in the United States and the sixth in Texas this year.