Robert Sparks, a Texas inmate, 45, who fatally stabbed his sons during an attack that took place more than 12 years ago in their North Texas home, is set to be executed on Wednesday evening. The attack had also killed his wife. He will be facing lethal injection for the slayings. His attorneys have alleged that the trial jury was wrongfully influenced because a bailiff wore a necktie that donned an image of a syringe. The inmate also alleged that he is intellectually disabled.
Robert Sparks will be facing lethal injection for the September 2007 slayings of nine-year-old Harold Sublet and ten-year-old Raekwon Agnew in their Dallas home. Prosecutors reportedly said Sparks began attacking his wife, who was stabbed 18 times as she lay in bed. He then went into the boys' bedroom and separately took them in the kitchen, where he stabbed them. Raekwon was stabbed at least 45 times. Authorities also reportedly claim Sparks then raped his 12 and 14-year-old stepdaughters.
Sparks also alleged a prosecution witness at his trial provided false testimony regarding his prison classification if a jury chose life without parole rather than a death sentence. Sparks would be the 16th inmate to have been put to death this year in the U.S. and the seventh in Texas. Seven more executions are scheduled in Texas this year. On Tuesday, Lower board and Texas Board of Pardons declined to stop his execution on claims he's intellectually disabled, saying his attorneys had not presented sufficient evidence to show Sparks is mentally disabled and had failed to raise such a claim in a timely manner.
After his arrest, Sparks reportedly told police he fatally stabbed his wife and stepsons because he believed they were trying to poison him. Sparks alleged to his psychologist that a voice told him 'to kill them because they were trying to kill me'. The psychologist hired by his attorneys mentioned in an affidavit that Sparks met full criteria for a diagnosis of intellectual disability. His lawyers have argued that he suffers from mental illness and has been diagnosed as a delusional psychopath with schizoaffective disorder, a condition characterised by hallucinations.
Seth Kretzer and Jonathan Landers, Sparks' attorneys allegedly wrote in court documents that Texas will execute an intellectually disabled man. The Supreme Court in 2002 barred executions of mentally disabled people but has given states some discretion to decide how to determine intellectual disability. However, justices have argued over how much discretion to allow.
However, the Texas Attorney General's Office termed the killings as monstrous and claimed that the court's own trial expert determined that he was not intellectually disabled. His attorneys said that at the time of his trial, Sparks was not deemed intellectually disabled, but changes since then in how Texas makes such determinations and updates to the handbook used by medical professionals to diagnose mental disorders would change that. The attorney general's office reported in a court filling that he shall not overcome the testimony since the heinous crime resulted in the murders of two young children.