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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Virus appeal stays execution in Kennedale man in 2009 murder

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JUAN A. LOZANO / Associated Press?

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HOUSTON (AP) ? The outbreak of the novel coronavirus prompted the top Texas criminal appeals court on Monday to stay for 60 days the scheduled execution of a man condemned for killing his family.? {{more: continue …}}
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The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected all grounds of John William Hummel’s appeal but said it would postpone the scheduled Wednesday execution ?in light of the current health crisis and the enormous resources needed to address the execution.?
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Hummel, 44, was convicted in 2011 of capital murder in the December 2009 fatal stabbing of his pregnant wife, Joy Hummel, 45, and fatal bludgeoning of his father-in-law, Clyde Bedford, 57, with a baseball bat.
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Evidence showed he also used the bat to beat to death Jodi Hummel, his 5-year-old daughter, before he torched their home in Kennedale, a Fort Worth suburb. However, he was only convicted of capital murder in the deaths of his wife and father-in-law.
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Prosecutors say he killed his family so he could woo a woman he had met at a convenience store.

One of the issues that Michael Mowla, Hummel?s attorney, had raised in his efforts to stop the execution was a concern that the process involved with putting Hummel to death ?may itself assist in spreading COVID-19.?
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A number of people either take part or witness the execution in the death chamber at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, including correctional officers, attorneys, physicians and family members or friends of the inmate and of the victims.
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?Gathering all these people in one location presents a substantial risk of transmission of COVID-19/Coronavirus if anyone is infected,? Mowla wrote in a petition to the appeals court last week.

Mowla declined to comment on Monday after the appeals court issued the execution stay.
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The Texas Department of Criminal Justice had been

prepared to carry out the execution as officials had instituted a screening

process for people who would have witnessed it, said agency spokesman Jeremy

Desel.?

Execution witnesses would have been subject to

the same screening that department employees have to go through before entering

a prison unit. The screening involves questions based on travel, potential

exposure to the coronavirus and health inquiries, Desel said.

See full article at Texas

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