January 30, 2019
Robert Mitchell Jennings was executed by the state of Texas on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Robert was pronounced dead at 6:33 pm CST, inside the Walls Unit execution chamber at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Robert was 61 years of age. He was executed for the murder of Houston Police Department Vice Officer Elston Howard on July 19,1988 in Houston, Texas. Robert has spent the last 29 years of his life on death row in Texas.
Robert was conceived as a result of rape and his mother frequently blamed Robert for her failing to complete her education. Robert changed places of resident frequently as a child and had no lasting, positive adult influence in his life. He did not graduate from high school, dropping out of school in the ninth grade when he began using drugs, however he obtained his GED (general equivalency diploma) while in prison. He also completed over forty hours of college credit. Robert entered the juvenile justice system at the age of 10. As an adult, Robert had served time for aggravated robbery and burglary with intent to commit theft.
On July 19, 1988, two months after being released from prison, Robert Jennings robbed an adult movie theater. He then entered an adult bookstore, planning to also rob it. Upon entering the bookstore, Jennings saw that the clerk was being arrested by a Houston Police Officer, later identified as Elston Howard. Jennings shot Officer Howard four times, including twice while he was on the floor. Jennings proceeded to rob the store and escape. Officer Howard died from his wounds.
Jennings escaped in a vehicle with getaway driver David Lee Harvell. When Jennings told Harvell that he had shot a security guard, Harvell ordered Jennings out of the car. When Jennings refused, Harvell shot Jennings in the hand. Jennings was arrested later that day at the hospital.
Jennings was convicted and sentenced to death. Harvell was also arrested. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison.
Jennings had been given a previous execution date in 2016, however that date was stayed for unspecified reasons.
Please pray for the peace and healing for the family of Elston Howard. Please pray for strength for the family of Robert Jennings.
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