“I’m an innocent man. I never killed anyone. Y’all are killing an innocent man.” Those were the last words uttered by 44-year-old Jonathan Green before he was injected with the lethal cocktail of drugs that would end his life.
Green was pronounced dead at 10:45 pm last night in a Huntsville, Texas prison. The execution came after a flurry of wrangling this past week. A Houston Federal District judge ordered a stay of the execution after Green’s appellate lawyers argued their client had been suffering hallucinations. That ruling was overturned by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, who ruled that mental illness is not a reason to disqualify someone from the death penalty. A last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court was denied. Green was convicted for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of neighbor 12-year-old Christina Neal back in 2000. Police found Neal’s corpse in Green’s Dobbin, Texas home, although Green contended he’d been framed. His execution was originally scheduled in 2010, but was called off just four hours before it was to happen when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Green was too mentally unbalanced to be killed. Green’s is the first of four Texas executions scheduled for October.