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My grandfather was a death row doctor. He tested psychedelic drugs on Texas inmates.


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My grandfather was a death row doctor. He tested psychedelic drugs on Texas inmates.

An Austin-based writer's quest to learn his grandfather's story leads to death row — and a little-known series of experiments that involved giving hallucinogens to inmates in the early 1960s.

BY BEN HARTMAN, SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR JULY 5, 2017 10 HOURS AGO

Editor's note: In this special contribution to The Texas Tribune, Austin writer Ben Hartman tells the story of his search for the truth about his late grandfather, a prison psychiatrist on Texas' death row who performed little-known medical experiments on inmates in the 1960s.

Eusebio Martinez was polite — even happy — as he entered the death chamber that August night in Huntsville in 1960. He may not have understood his time was up.

A few years earlier, Martinez had been convicted of murdering an infant girl whose parents had left her sleeping in their car while they visited a Midland nightclub. He’d been ruled “feeble-minded” by multiple psychiatrists and had to be shown how to get into the electric chair.

As he was strapped in, a priest leaned in and coached him to say “gracias” and a simple prayer. Just before the first bolt knifed through his brain, Martinez grinned and waved at the young Houston doctor who would declare him dead a few minutes later. :snip: 

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