Inmate's lawyers ask Perry to halt Texas execution

By MICHAEL GRACZYK and WILL WEISSERT | September 15, 2011 | 3:20 AM EDT

This undated handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Duane Buck. Defense attorneys are calling on Texas Gov. Rick Perry to halt the execution of Buck who is scheduled to be put to death Thursday because jurors heard testimony during sentencing in his 1997 trial that blacks are more likely to pose future dangers to the public. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Attorneys for a man scheduled to be put to death in Texas are asking Gov. Rick Perry to halt the execution amid questions about the role race played in the sentencing.

Duane Buck was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and another man in July 1995. His execution is scheduled for Thursday evening.

His case is one of six convictions that then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn reviewed in 2000 and said needed to be reopened because of the racially charged statements made during the sentencing phase of the trial. A psychologist told jurors that black criminals were more likely to pose a future danger to the public if they are released.

Perry, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is an ardent supporter of capital punishment.