John Hummel’s last words before Texas execution

Texas carried out its second execution of the year, putting to death an inmate who killed three family members a decade ago, including his pregnant wife.

John William Hummel, 45, received a lethal injection for the 2009 killings at the state penitentiary in Huntsville on Wednesday evening.

Hummel said a brief prayer while strapped to the gurney in the death chamber, the Associated Press reported. It ended with him saying he would “be with Jesus when I wake.”

His last words included remorse for the killings. “I truly regret killing my family,” he said. Hummel then thanked friends for their support, saying “I love each and every one of you.”

He took a half-dozen breaths as the lethal dose of pentobarbital took effect, then began snorting quietly, the AP reported. All movement stopped about a minute later, but his eyes didn’t fully close. He was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m. CDT.

The authorities said Hummel stabbed his wife, Joy Hummel, 35 times on the night of December 17, 2009, then beat to death his 5-year-old daughter Jodi Hummel and wheelchair-bound father-in-law Clyde Bedford with a baseball bat.

He then set their home, in the Fort Worth suburb of Kennedale, on fire and fled to California. Prosecutors said Hummel, a hospital security guard at the time, killed his family because he wanted to be with a woman he met in a convenience store.

After the killings, he fled to California, but was arrested. He later confessed to the killings, the authorities said.

Hummel was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of his wife and father-in-law in 2011. He was not tried for his daughter’s killing.

Bedford’s brother Cecil Bedford watched Hummel die on Wednesday.

“It was too easy. It was like going to sleep,” he told the AP afterwards.

He added that a more severe punishment would have been appropriate for Hummel, like being put to death with “a rope, a guillotine, a firing squad.”

“There’s all kinds of good stuff to kill people,” Cecil Bedford said. “They should get what they deserve. An eye for an eye. I’m sorry. I’m old school.”

Executions Delayed by Pandemic

Hummel’s execution had been scheduled for March 18 last year, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He’s the second inmate put to death since Texas resumed executions in May after almost a year.

Quintin Jones was put to death on May 19 for the 1999 killing of his great-aunt, Berthena Bryant, but experts and death penalty opponents condemned the authorities for going ahead without any media witnesses present.

Last week, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced that an investigation into Jones’ execution had found “a culmination of factors” had caused the “preventable and inexcusable” error, including new personnel and procedures. The department said several steps had been taken to ensure that such a mistake doesn’t occur again.

The American Civil Liberties Union had called for Hummel to receive a 30-day stay of execution, arguing that putting him to death on Wednesday would be “irresponsible and cruel.”

This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows John Hummel, who was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of his wife and father-in-law. He was executed on June 30, 2021, at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

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