Oldest Texas death row inmate executed by lethal injection

Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville via lethal injection. He was found guilty of fatally shooting Houston police officer James Irby, a nearly 20-year veteran of the force, in June 1990.

Texas’ oldest death row inmate was executed on Thursday for the almost 32-year-old murder of a Houston police officer during a traffic check.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the evening denied an application for a stay of execution, clearing the way for Carl Wayne Buntion’s execution.

Buntion, 78, was condemned to death for the deadly shooting of Houston police officer James Irby, who had been on the force for over 20 years. He died as a result of a deadly injection. Buntion died at 6:39 p.m., according to Grace White of KHOU 11 News. That was 13 minutes after he was given the potent tranquilizer pentobarbital.

According to his wife, Maura Irby, James Irby had discussed retiring and spending more time with his two children, who were 1 and 3 years old at the time of his death.

Buntion remarked while strapped to the Texas death chamber gurney, “I wanted the Irby family to know one thing: I do have remorse for what I did.” “I pray to God that they get the closure for me killing their father and Ms. Irby’s husband,  I hope to see you in heaven someday, and I’ll give you a big hug when you show up.”

As the deadly dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began, Buntion and his spiritual adviser began praying Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd…” Before all movement came to a halt, he took a deep breath, coughed once, and then took three less pronounced breaths.

Buntion had only been on parole for six weeks when he shot Irby, who was 37 years old. Buntion was a passenger in the automobile that Irby pulled stopped, and he had a long criminal history.

Buntion’s sentence was annulled by an appeals court in 2009, but he was resentenced to death three years later by a new jury.