Patrick Murphy

Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

Texas Bans Spiritual Advisers from Death Chamber

April 03, 2019 - 3:32 pm

DALLAS (KRLD) - Last week, Patrick Murphy, a member of the Texas Seven gang got an 11th hour stay of execution from the Supreme Court. Murphy, a Buddhist, wanted a Buddhist priest by his side during his execution. 

The state's policy had been to only allow Christian and Muslim spiritual advisors in the chamber. The High Court intervened, saying that was -- in the words of Justice Brett Kavanaugh -- an instance of "denominational discrimination."

The state now says only Texas Department of Criminal Justice security personnel will be allowed in that room during an execution.

Spokesman Jeremy Desel says: "TDCJ chaplains will continue to be available to an offender until they are transferred to the execution chamber. The change is effective immediately." 

Spiritual advisors will be allowed to watch the execution only from the witness room.