Defense lawyers for Carl Wayne Buntion on Monday implored jurors to spare the
convicted cop killer's life because he has not caused any trouble since he was
arrested for the 1990 shooting. He has spent the past 22 years on death row.
"He's 68 years old, he hasn't committed a single act of criminal violence since
he went to prison 22 year ago," said attorney Philip Scardino. "And he's aged
out. He's not a threat. He's not going to be a threat."
The argument, that Buntion has not had disciplinary problems since being jailed
more than 2 decades ago, has been the central argument for defense lawyers in
his capital murder retrial. Prosecutors must convince jurors that Buntion is a
future danger to society.
"A man who has spent his entire life hurting others is a continuing threat just
by being," said Assistant District Attorney Lance Long.
Long called Buntion a "psychopath" who continues to blame others for almost
constant incarceration since he was 21.
Long read jurors portions of letters Buntion has sent from prison.
"He wrote, 'If they create a monster, they should not complain when it feeds on
society,'" Long said. "He thinks he's right."
Jim Irby was a Houston police motorcycle officer who pulled over a car in which
Buntion was riding on June 27, 1990. The defense did not dispute that Buntion,
a 13-time convicted felon, got out the car with his .357 caliber handgun filled
with hollow point bullets and shot Irby in the head through his motorcycle
Buntion then shot him twice more and fled on foot, shooting at witnesses and
Buntion's 1991 death penalty sentence was reversed because his original jury
did not hear mitigating evidence about Buntion.
Some of that evidence, which this jury heard, was about Buntion's youth,
including details about his abusive father.
At least 20 uniformed officers sat through three hours of closing arguments.
State District Judge David Mendoza sent the 12 jurors to deliberate shortly
after the arguments. The trial is in its 3rd week.
(source: Houston Chronicle)