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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Sparing the Life of a Cold-Blooded Killer

     In 1991, 19-year-old Robert Campbell and another violent criminal abducted a 20-year-old bank clerk as she filled her car with gas at a Houston service station. The victim, Angela Rendon, had just purchased a bridal gown for her upcoming wedding.

     The two degenerates drove Rendon to a field where they robbed, raped and beat her. After the vicious assaults, Campbell ordered the terrified victim to run for her life. As she fled her captors, Cambell calmly shot her in the back.

     A year after this senseless, cold-blooded murder, a jury found Campbell guilty of capital murder. The judge sentenced him to death. In this depressing case there has never been a question of Campbell's murderous intent or guilt.

     After living twenty-two years as a death row inmate, Robert Campbell was finally scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday night, May 13, 2014. University of Texas law professor Laurie Levin, one of Campbell's death house attorneys working feverishly to save his life, filed a last-minute motion for a stay of execution with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Levin based the federal petition on the fact the Texas Department of Corrections had not revealed the manufacturing source of the pentobarbital purchased for the execution. 

     According to this eleventh-hour plea, prisoners had a right to know whether or not the pentobarbital has been manufactured under "pristine conditions" that would assure that the drug was safe. (What is safe in an execution drug? Pentobarbital is not supposed to be safe--it's supposed to kill.)

     According to Professor Levin, if Campbell's execution was not blocked the results could be "disastrous." (Again, from the executioner's point of view, the results are supposed to be disastrous.)

     On another save-the-killer front, death house lawyers claimed that Campbell, with an I.Q. of 69, was too stupid to execute pursuant to a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision that forbid states from executing criminal dimwits. (People with low I.Q.s go to college, get elected to congress, drive cars and vote. When they murder innocent victims in cold blood, why can't they be executed?)

     Robert Campbell's energetic and devoted legal team asked Texas Governor Rick Perry to grant an executive stay of execution on Campbell's behalf.

     On May 13, 2014, the day he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, the federal court of appeals stayed Campbell's execution. Had the executioner dispatched him, Campbell would have been the first condemned man to be put to death since the executioner in Oklahoma ran into trouble disposing of another sadistic cold-blooded killer, Clayton Lockett. Had Campbell been executed as scheduled according to the wishes of the jury that had found him guilty, he would have been the eighth death row inmate killed that year by the state of Texas.

     In 2017, Robert Campbell was re-sentenced to life in prison. 


  1. The death penalty issue is like the abortion issue. Catholics and others Christians believe life is sacred. They won’t just fade away because you don’t agree.

    1. That's all well and good until you remember that the same people against abortion are actually the ones currently trying to make the act punishable by death.

  2. Laurie Levin sounds like a very good lawyer. Who would think you could get someone off death row because of lack of information about the manufacturing source? I bet most lawyers would have missed that part of the law.