Carl Buntion, Texas
Updated: Thursday, April 21, 2022
Texas executed Carl Wayne Buntion on Thursday, April 21, 2022. Carl was pronounced dead at 6:39 pm local time, inside the Walls Unit execution chamber at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. He was 78 years of age. Carl was executed for the murder 37-year-old Houston Police Officer James Irby in June 1990. He spent the last 31 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Carl did not have an easy childhood. According to family testimony, Carl’s father was an alcoholic who regularly beat his wife and kids. Carl graduated from high school. He worked as an auto mechanic before being arrested. Carl was in and out of prison since the age of 18 for various crimes, including theft, burglary, parole violations, possession of drugs, and sexual assault of a child.
On June 27, 1990, Houston Police Department motorcycle officer James Irby pulled over a car driven by John Killingsworth. Carl Buntion was the sole passenger in the vehicle. Officer Irby pulled over the vehicle for a traffic violation. After pulling over the vehicle, Irby approached the driver’s side door.
While Officer Irby was speaking with the driver, Buntion exited the vehicle. Officer Irby asked Buntion to return to the vehicle. Buntion refused and continued around the front of the vehicle. Once Buntion was within five feet of Officer Irby, Buntion lifted a long-barrel revolver and shot Officer Irby in the head. After he fell, Buntion then shot Officer Irby twice more in the back. Buntion then fled the scene on foot.
Buntion attempted to steal a car by shooting at the driver through the windshield. After that failed, Buntion went to a nearby warehouse, where he attempted to steal an employee’s car and wallet. A responding officer arrested him at the warehouse.
Buntion was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in 1991. Eventually, upon appeal, Buntion’s sentence was overturned and he was granted a new sentencing trial. He was again sentenced to death.
At the time of his execution, Carl Buntion was the oldest death row inmate in Texas. His lawyers attempted to halt his execution by arguing that the “execution would serve no legitimate purpose because so much time has passed since his conviction.”
Pray for peace for the family of James Irby. Pray for strength for the family of Carl Buntion.
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