THE longest-serving prisoner on death row in Texas has died in his cell while awaiting a fourth sentencing trial.
Ronald Curtis Chambers, 55, died after collapsing in his cell at a Dallas county jail. He had spent 35 years on death row after being convicted for bludgeoning and shooting a student to death in 1975.
Prison officials said an investigation was under way to determine the causes of the convict’s sudden death.
The guilt of Chambers, who was 20 at the time of his crime, was not in question.
But his conviction was overturned three times on the grounds that mitigating circumstances were not taken into account, and that a jury had been biased against him because he was African-American.
Texas executes more criminals than any other US state. This year, 17 convicts have already been administered a lethal injection, out of a total of 45 executions nationwide.
Convicts usually serve an average of 10 years on death row before their execution in Texas, less than the national average of 12 years, according to prison officials.
After Chambers, the next longest-serving death row inmate is 60-year-old Raymond Riles, who went on death row in early February 1976.