Texas executed an inmate convicted of drug-related murders of four people over 30 years ago, including a 9-month pregnant woman. Before being executed Thursday evening at the Huntsville state penitentiary, 52-year-old Arthur Brown Jr. claimed innocence. He was convicted for the June 1992 Houston drug robbery slayings.
According to authorities, Brown was part of a Texas-to-Alabama narcotics operation that bought drugs from Jose Tovar and his wife, Rachel Tovar.
The Drug Robbery
The drug robbery killed 32-year-old Jose Tovar, his wife’s 17-year-old son Frank Farias, 19-year-old Jessica Quiñones, Rachel Tovar’s pregnant girlfriend, and 21-year-old neighbor Audrey Brown. Four were tied and shot in the head.
“I don’t see how anybody could have just killed a pregnant woman and then made her suffer so much. It’s just beyond words,” Quiñones’ older sister, Maricella Quiñones, said before the execution.
. Brown was the fifth inmate executed in Texas this year and the ninth in the United States. His was the second of two executions in Texas this week. Gary Green, another convict, was executed on Tuesday for the murder of his estranged wife and her small kid. He was the second Texas execution this week. Gary Green, who killed his ex-wife and daughter, was executed Tuesday.
“The state hid the evidence so long and good that my own attorneys couldn’t find it,” he said in a loud voice, looking at the ceiling of the death chamber while strapped to a gurney and not making any eye contact with a half-dozen relatives of his victims who watched through a window a few feet from him.
He drew two deep breaths, gasped, and snored after the lethal dose of pentobarbital. Six snores halted movement. Kim Ogg, a witness to Brown’s execution, denied his innocence.
“He has been the beneficiary of a judicial system that bent over backward at the local, state and federal levels, all the way to the United States Supreme Court, who have all affirmed his conviction and sentence,” she said.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Brown’s attorneys’ request to stop the execution on Thursday. They claimed Brown was intellectually retarded and exempt from death, which prosecutors denied. Intellectually impaired people cannot be executed.
Mr. Brown’s friends and family knew his intellectual limits… People that knew Mr. Brown throughout his life have classified him regularly as slow,'” his attorneys stated in their Supreme Court petition. Marion Dudley, a shooter with Brown, was executed in 2006. Three partners received life sentences.
New York Post tweeted that Texas executes inmate Arthur Brown Jr. for killing 4 during drug robbery. You can see below:
Texas executes inmate Arthur Brown Jr. for killing 4 during drug robbery https://t.co/3Na0nEznc5 pic.twitter.com/PGMd4vUdaU
— New York Post (@nypost) March 10, 2023
Brown, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, always claimed someone else killed them. Brown’s lawyers had already lost appeals. He was innocent, and a witness implicated another culprit. They also alleged one juror convicted Brown because he was Black. Brown’s attorneys were refused DNA testing on Tuesday by a Houston judge.
Houston District Attorney’s Office Post-Conviction Writs Division Chief Josh Reiss characterized Brown’s last-minute appeals as a stalling tactic. Reiss said school documents given at Brown’s trial showed the convict was initially judged to be cognitively impaired in third grade but not in ninth grade.
Reiss added, “These families deserve justice.” Maricella Quiñones said her sister was unaware of the Tovars’ drug dealing. Her mother also blames the Tovars. “My mother’s changed since my sister died,” she remarked. Her sister was a “charming, caring person” who looked forward to motherhood.
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She believed her family would never find closure. “Two died. She said her sister’s unborn kid, Alyssa, never had a chance. Brown was one of six Texas death row inmates who sued to stop the prison system from using expired, hazardous execution medications. Five inmates were executed this year despite an Austin civil court judge’s preliminary approval.