HUNTSVILLE — A Texas inmate condemned for fatally stabbing two Houston-area brothers during a robbery in their home more than 30 years ago was executed Tuesday at the Huntsville “Walls” Unit.
Rick Rhoades, 57, received a lethal dose of pentobarbital, becoming the third person put to death by the state of Texas this year. He is the sixth person to be executed in the U.S.
During the execution process, Rhoades opted not to give a last statement. He was pronounced dead at 6:29 p.m., nearly 23 minutes after the process began.
Rhoades was alone in the execution chamber and without a spiritual advisor. TDCJ’s policy on spiritual advisors is currently being disputed in the courts, with the U.S. Supreme Court expected to hear arguments on Nov. 1.
Rhoades’ appeal to the Supreme Court had argued that his constitutional right to due process was being violated because he is being prevented from pursuing claims that some potential jurors at his trial might have been dismissed for racially discriminatory reasons. That appeal was denied nearly an hour before he was put to death.
“The death penalty is reserved for the worst actions of man against man, and I think we in our justice system give a lot of leeway to the accused through a long series of appeals and writs of habeas corpus. There is a much more peaceful exit for the murderer through this process. But, it is a death and because it is the most serious act the government can take, it takes a long time and that can be a real travesty for families like this,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “This is the end of the criminal justice process, but it will never be the end of the memories of their loved ones.”
Rhoades was condemned for the September 1991 killings of Charles Allen, 31, and Bradley Allen, 33. The brothers were killed less than a day after Rhoades had been released on parole after serving a sentence for burglary.
Among those witnessing the execution were the brother and sister-in-law of Charles and Bradley, alongside Bradley’s daughter, Marley Holt, who was born during the trial.
“He watched my dad die, so I wanted to watch him die,” Holt said.
Rhoades had a long criminal history, including convictions for burglary and auto theft in Florida, Iowa and Texas when he broke into Charles Allen’s house in the Houston suburb of Pasadena.
The home, located near where the siblings’ parents lived, had just been custom-built for Charles Allen and he had invited his brother to temporarily live with him. The two brothers had recently gone through separate divorces.
At trial, prosecutors told jurors the siblings were asleep when Rhoades broke into their home in the early morning hours and attacked Charles Allen as he was in his bed. Bradley Allen was killed when he came to his brother’s defense.
An arrest in the case wasn’t made until about a month later when Rhoades was caught burglarizing an elementary school. While in custody, he confessed to killing the brothers. But he claimed it was done in self-defense after exchanging words with Charles Allen as Rhoades took a walk at 2:30 a.m.
“I was tired of running. I wanted to tell what happened,” Rhoades said in his confession.
Four executions are currently scheduled through the remainder of 2021. The next inmate scheduled to be put to death is Stephen Barbee, who was condemned for killing a 34-year-old white female and a 7-year-old white male in Tarrant County in 2005.
Juan A. Lozano with the Associated Press contributed to this report.