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Convicted Texas killer John William Hummel received a brief reprieve when his state’s top appeals court pushed back his March 18 execution by two months due to concerns about the novel strain of coronavirus plaguing the globe.
Hummel, 44, was sentenced to death in 2011 after he was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Joy Hummel, and father-in-law, Clyde Bedford. Evidence suggests he may have also killed his 5-year-old daughter, but he was not convicted of her death.
Convenience store clerk Kristie Freeze testified that Hummel began flirting with her in fall 2010, according to court documents. Freeze said she knew Hummel was married, but she tried to break things off after finding out his wife was pregnant in December 2010 — which apparently led to the slaying.
“I grabbed the baseball bat and hit her in the head repeatedly until she fell to the ground,” Hummel confessed in a written statement, according to investigator James Rizy. “Then I grabbed some of my other knives and swords [and] began stabbing her.”
Hummel said he also beat his daughter and father-in-law in the head with a baseball bat and then set their house on fire, Rizy testified.
Hummel was found guilty on two counts of murder and sentenced to death in June 2011, according to court documents.
He was scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. on March 18 in the Huntsville, Texas death chamber, according to the prison ministry The Forgiveness Foundation.
However, many people are typically present at an execution, including lawyers, doctors, correctional officers, and the inmate’s friends and family. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice had prepared a COVID-19 screening process for everyone present and was ready to carry out the execution, agency spokesman Jeremy Desel told the Associated Press.
But due to the ongoing pandemic, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals ultimately chose to issue a 60-day stay on Hummel’s execution.
“[W]e have … determined that the execution should be stayed at the current time in light of the current health crisis and the enormous resources needed to address that emergency,” the court wrote.
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