TX Inmate Executed for Triple Murder


John Balentine | Image by Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The State of Texas put convicted triple murderer John Balentine to death last Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the 54-year-old’s request for a stay of execution.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, Balentine and two other Texas death row inmates had sued to halt their death sentences. They alleged that the State’s lethal injection drugs were expired and could cause “serious risk of pain and suffering in the execution process,” per AP News.

Balentine died by lethal injection at a state prison in Huntsville in the presence of his spiritual advisor, his ex-girlfriend, and the mothers of his three victims.

“I hope you can find in your heart to forgive me,” Balentine said to the mothers before being executed, reported AP News.

Back in January 1998, Balentine, who was 28 years old at the time, was tried and convicted for the murders of three teenagers in Amarillo: Edward Mark Caylor, 17, Kai Brooke Geyer, 15, and Steven Watson, 15.

Balentine allegedly refused a plea deal after confessing to shooting each of the victims in the head as they slept, according to Fox 4 KDFW.

As reported by Vice News, the triple murder and subsequent trial were shot through with accusations of racism on the part of prosecutors, Balentine’s defense attorneys, and the jury foreman.

However, state and federal appeals courts did not find sufficient legal merit to Balentine’s claims to justify a retrial or to vacate his death sentence.

In an emailed statement to The Dallas Express, Kristin Houlé Cuellar, director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, decried Balentine’s execution, claiming:

“The cruelty and injustice of the death penalty was on stark display in Texas last week when the State executed John Balentine. … The State put [him] to death without any substantive judicial review of the evidence of egregious racial bias among the all-white jurors who sentenced him to death more than two decades ago.”

Still, a poll conducted by the Texas Politics Project in 2021 found broad support among Texans for keeping the death penalty, possibly reflective of crime rate increases in many parts of the State.

Crime has gotten markedly worse in Amarillo in recent years — though not as bad as in Dallas, which has seen a more than 10% spike in murders year-to-date compared to the same period in 2022, according to the Dallas Crime Analytics Overview dashboard.

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1 month ago

I am as Liberal as anyone. But when it comes to the Death Penalty and these type of crimes, the only issue for me is whether you have the right person who committed it. Since he confessed, all the other issues are irrelevant! God bless the three mothers, and I hope they find peace in what must be their troubled hearts.

Reply to  Janet
1 month ago

The individual owns their own life and no one has the right to take it away. The only reason to take the life of another is when protecting property or another life. Revenge killing especially by govt is barbaric and should not be done in a civilized society does.

1 month ago

As bad as I feel for the one who is executed, it was brought on by his on actions. He is provided free attorney, numerous appeals, and way to many years of breathing that his victims were not allowed, all on tax payers dime. We have those who don’t believe in the death penalty. I believe we allocate the criminal far to many delay tactics at our expence once again. Their victims were not allowed the same mercy. I believe in love and mercy, I was an RN for nearly 30 years, but I am also a wife, daughter, and mother. I know in my gut how difficult it would be to know that the predator is allocated more rights than that of their victims. We are making victims out of the predators. It is often said the death of one does not bring back the victim, that is not what it was meant to do. The way to show mercy would be to convict, then swiftly follow through with punishment phase stop all the appeals. The families of the victims are torn to pieces reliving this over and over. For they are now the victims.

1 month ago

John Balentine entered the house through a crawl space and shot his weapon at the first victim. The gun jammed and he went to the alley to clear it. He re entered the home through a window he left unlocked and first went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Then he went to the room where those three boys slept and shot each of them in the head.

Before the murders, he had robbed an14-year old boy and struck him on the head with a beer bottle. And before that he violently broke into a woman’s home and forced her into her own vehicle and was en route to god knows where when he stopped for cigarettes and she escaped.

He was a violent individual with an escalating pattern of said violence. His trial attorneys had multiple witnesses on his behalf in their efforts to save him from the death penalty. John Balentine instructed them to stand down.

He chose the death penalty. He chose not to have any shred of mitigating evidence because he knew he would be safer and enjoy a better quality of life on death row. He explicitly told his attorneys that he didn’t want to he 60 years old in prison. He was in his early 50s when he died last week.

You can read all of this for yourself in court records. They’re still there.

I support the appellate process that comes with a death sentence. There is great danger that comes with allowing the state to have the ability to easily snuff out human life.

But remember this: why has the life of this killer of 3 teenage boys received so much support from so many people—and the families of those young boys are ignored. Forgotten. Shoved to the side.

John Balentine was a 28 year old man with a shocking history of proven violence when he shot three 15 year old boys as they slept. Where ever he went, he spread violence and pain. There have been so many details of the crime left out by the news today. I wonder how much support he truly would have if people knew the totality of his actions. Indefensible.

Marta Ledesma
Marta Ledesma
1 month ago

I’m a Texan and a have resided in Dallas Texas for a long time. I haven’t seen crime on the rise like this in my life time. If there ever was a time that we are in need of the Death Penalty it would be now. I’ve always believed in the death penalty and strongly in favor of it. I think that if your going to come to Texas and do these types of crimes here in Texas it will certainly make a criminal think twice before he or she even contemplates going through with this type of criminal act. Texas! has the (DEATH PENALTY) so do think twice! My Condolences! to all affected by this horrific crime. I pray for Gods comfort and peace to intervene.