HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- For the third time in three years, execution appears imminent for a former auto mechanic and laborer condemned for fatally shooting three teenagers nearly 15 years ago in a house in Amarillo.
John Balentine, who had an extensive criminal history in his native Arkansas, avoided lethal injection in September 2009 when a federal appeals court gave him a reprieve a day before his scheduled trip to the Texas death chamber. Then in June 2011, he was within an hour of execution when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped it.
Now, the 43-year-old Balentine is set to die Wednesday evening in Huntsville. His attorney is in the courts again trying to block the punishment, arguing in appeals that his earlier legal help was deficient. State attorneys are opposing the appeals.
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