Election Section

Texas inmate executed by injection for murder he committed at age 17 years old

By Michael Graczyk, The Associated Press
Wednesday May 29, 2002

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Napoleon Beazley, whose death sentence for a murder committed at 17 stirred national debate over capital punishment for youths, was executed Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to spare his life. 

When asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Beazley looked toward Suzanne Luttig, the daughter of the victim, and said “no” before he was given a lethal injection. 

Beazley was convicted of killing the father of a federal judge during a 1994 carjacking. He repeatedly expressed remorse for shooting John Luttig, 63, while trying to steal the man’s Mercedes. 

“It’s my fault,” Beazley, 25, said during a hearing last month. “I violated the law. I violated this city, and I violated a family — all to satisfy my own misguided emotions. I’m sorry. I wish I had a second chance to make up for it, but I don’t.” 

Texas is one of five states that allow the death penalty for crimes committed by 17-year-olds. 

Before Tuesday, 18 inmates in the United States — including 10 in Texas — had been executed since 1976 for a murder committed when the killer was younger than 18. 

“Texas must recognize that the brutal practice of executing children is in complete and utter defiance of international law,” said Sue Gunawardena-Vaught, director of Amnesty International USA’s Program to Abolish the Death Penalty. 

In Austin, about 100 death penalty opponents rallied at the governor’s mansion to protest Beazley’s execution. 

Earlier Tuesday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 10-7 against recommending that Beazley’s sentence be commuted to life in prison and 13-4 against a reprieve.