Tag Archives: Death Penalty

Death By Firing Squad… And Other News

Firing Squad

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a law on Monday turning Utah into the only state to allow firing squads for executions – if lethal drugs happen to be unavailable.

The Republican-sponsored bill came to be amid national concerns about the efficacy of lethal injections. In addition to increased difficulties obtaining the drugs (caused by European manufacturers opposed to capital punishment refusing to sell the drug components to U.S. prisons), some states have witnessed several botched lethal injections recently. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Ray, argued that a team of trained marksmen is faster and more decent than the drawn-out deaths involved when lethal injections go awry (or as planned). Although Gov. Gary Herbert called the use of firing squads “a little bit gruesome”, apparently they aren’t gruesome enough to prevent him from signing the bill. Your move Texas. Raw Story

Afghan Mob Kills WomanProtests have been growing in Kabul after an Afghan woman was killed by an angry mob for allegedly burning the Quran. 27-year-old Farkhunda was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men while police sat around doing nothing. The only problem (aside from the fact no one in Afghanistan seems to have a problem with burning a woman in public)? Farkhunda was innocent. “I couldn’t find any evidence to say Farkhunda burnt the Holy Koran,” General Mohammad Zahir told reporters at her funeral on Sunday. “Farkhunda was totally innocent.” Oops. Now, more than 2,000 people are marching to demand justice for Farkhunda. Police say they have arrested at least 19 people for their part in the lynch mob and it shouldn’t be hard to find the rest since the police were standing around watching the entire incident unfold. BBC News

India Motorcycle RopePolice in India are charging a man for tying his 8-year-old daughter to his motorcycle. The Indian man was arrested after startled onlookers took pictures of the child roped to the motorcycle – pictures which were later published in local newspapers. While some are crying child abuse, the man said he was just trying to get his daughter to school to take an exam but she was reluctant to go. After bribing her didn’t work, the next logical step was to tie her to the back of his bike with ropes and drive her to school. Well, that’s one way to get your kids to school on time…  “My daughter will not die if I take her to school. But she will surely die if she does not study,” he told the Times of India. On the one hand, it’s great that he’s so passionate about educating girls in India, but on the other hand… he tied his 8-year-old to a motorcycle. BBC News

GermanwingsAn Airbus operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline crashed Tuesday morning in the French Alps. The bad news is: all 150 people on board were killed including 16 schoolchildren. The good news is: well, there isn’t really any good news, but at least they found the plane this time. The Airbus A320, travelling from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, descended for eight minutes from an altitude of approximately 38,000 feet until it crashed. The cause of the crash is still unclear but the plane underwent routine inspection yesterday and the pilots did not issue a distress call. The search and rescue effort is now underway but given the snowy conditions and rough terrain, it will probably take days to recover the victims and the debris. CBC News

U.S. Senator Cruz speaks to members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women in San Antonio, Texas9/11 changed everything for Ted Cruz – well, mostly just his music choices. On Tuesday, CBS This Morning host Gayle King asked newly announced presidential candidate Ted Cruz what kind of music he listens to. Cruz revealed he’s a little bit country and not a little bit rock and roll because 9/11. “My music tastes changed on 9/11,” Cruz said. “And it’s a very strange—I actually, intellectually, find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me and I have to say, it—just as a gut level, I had an emotional reaction that says, “These are my people.” And so ever since 2001 I listen to country music, but I’m an odd country music fan because I didn’t listen to it prior to 2001.” It’s hard to find a way to cram 9/11 into every response you give, but somehow Ted Cruz managed to do it. This is going to be a GREAT campaign! Politico

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Mentally Retarded Prisoner

Too Dumb to Die Prisoner

A federal appeals court issued a stay Tuesday in the execution of Texas prisoner Robert James Campbell just hours before he was to be put to death, deeming him too dumb to die.

Robert James Campbell, a convicted rapist and murderer, and his lawyers had been struggling to stop the execution on the grounds that Texas would not disclose the source of the lethal-injection drug to be used. The execution was set to be the first one since Oklahoma botched the lethal injection of a prisoner two weeks ago, so they thought they had a pretty good shot. But the courts didn’t really care… until the issue of mental retardation came up. Turns out they were barking up the wrong tree – they should have been pressing the mental retardation route the whole time!

With a little more than two hours before he was scheduled to be put to death, the U.S. Court of Appeals decided to give in and put things on hold to review Campbell’s claim that he is mentally disabled.

The court unanimously agreed that the prisoner is “intellectually disabled…and is, therefore, constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty.”

“We have been presented with evidence that Campbell, who will soon be executed unless we intervene, may not constitutionally be executed,” wrote Judge James L. Dennis for the unanimous three-judge panel.

In 2002, the Supreme Court banned the execution of those whom the law refers to as mentally retarded, and has said that an I.Q. of under “approximately 70” indicates retardation. Campbell scored a solid 69.

I am happy. The Lord prevailed,” Campbell said from a cell just outside the death chamber in Huntsville.

Campbell was convicted of capital murder for the 1991 slaying of a Houston bank teller, who was abducted while putting gas into her car, robbed, raped and shot. Pretty high functioning for a “mildly retarded” person…

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Botched Execution Leaves Obama Pondering the Death Penalty

Obama Ponders Death Penalty Botched Execution

President Barack Obama said the botched execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett was “deeply troubling” and warned the incident raises “significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied.”

Clayton Lockett, a convicted murderer, suffered a massive heart attack and died while being administered an untested drug cocktail during his botched execution. Well, it’s not really a botched execution if he ended up dead. It’s more like a successful execution – just a little crueler and more unusual than normal.

After failing to find viable veins elsewhere, prison officials in Oklahoma inserted lethal drugs into Lockett’s groin, not knowing that the groin vein they had chosen had collapsed. As a result, things took a bit longer than usual. Lockett died 43 minutes after the start of the injection, eventually succumbing to a heart attack after writhing in agony for a while.

As heartwarming as it may be to see a man who shot a 19-year-old girl and buried her alive suffer while dying, the problems surrounding Lockett’s execution have left Obama wondering if the death penalty is all it’s cracked up to be.

What happened in Oklahoma is deeply troubling,” Obama admitted during a joint White House news conference.

“The individual who was subject to the death penalty had committed heinous crimes, terrible crimes.”

“And I’ve said in the past that there are certain circumstances in which a crime is so terrible that the application of the death penalty may be appropriate — mass killings, the killings of children.”

“But I’ve also said that in the application of the death penalty in this country, we’ve seen significant problems. Racial bias.”

“An uneven application of the death penalty. Situations in which there were individuals on death row who later on were discovered to have been innocent because of exculpatory evidence.”

“And all these, I think, do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied.”

And what’s even more deeply troubling is that a guy who raped an 11-month-old baby was scheduled to die two hours after Lockett so his execution got cancelled! But not to fear – Republican Gov. Mary Fallin only ordered a 14-day stay of execution for baby rapist Charles Warner. And now that the “newly tried” cocktail of drugs has officially been tested on Lockett, everything should go smoothly – as long as Warner doesn’t have faulty veins.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Mexican Execution

Current Event Cat - Mexican Execution

Texas executed a Mexican citizen on Wednesday night – but not the old fashioned way along the border with a shotgun, a barbed wire fence and a redneck militia.

Convicted cop killer Edgar Tamayo Arias, 46, a Mexican citizen, was executed by the state of Texas despite national and international outcry and warnings that his death could damage relations between the US and Mexico. Among those objecting to the Mexican execution were a former Texas governor, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and the entire country of Mexico.

“I want to be clear: I have no reason to doubt the facts of Mr. Tamayo’s conviction, and as a former prosecutor, I have no sympathy for anyone who would murder a police officer,” John Kerry wrote. “This is a process issue I am raising because it could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries.”

Tamayo, who was in the U.S. illegally, was convicted in the killing of Guy Gaddis, a Houston police officer, in 1994 and sentenced to death. Fast-forward twenty years and it’s execution time!

But the execution almost didn’t go though. It was delayed by more than three hours as the U.S. Supreme Court considered appeals to keep 46-year-old Edgar Tamayo from the Texas death chamber. Tamayo’s lawyers argued he had been deprived of his rights as a foreign citizen as he was not promptly advised of his right to consular help. They also pulled the old mentally-ill and brain-damaged claim, saying that the Mexican only had an IQ of 67. But the last-ditch appeal failed and the cop killer was put to death by lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, near Houston.

Mexican Citizen ExecutionThe Mexican government was not impressed with America’s handling of the case, saying in a statement this week it “strongly opposed” the execution and said failure to review Tamayo’s case and reconsider his sentence would be “a clear violation by the United States of its international obligations.”

But Texas doesn’t care about sh*t like that. They only care about the death penalty.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from,” Governor Rick Perry’s spokeswoman said. “If you commit a despicable crime like this in Texas, you are subject to our state laws, including a fair trial by jury and the ultimate penalty.”

Well, one less illegal immigrant I guess.

Via: The Guardian

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Ohio Execution Uses Untested Drugs… Goes Horribly Wrong

Dennis Mcguire Execution Untested Drugs

What’s worse than being executed by the state (besides being the victim of a ruthless killer)? Being executed by the state using an untested combination of drugs.

On the morning of his execution, convicted murderer Dennis McGuire received a lethal injection using an untested combination of two drugs. Needless to say, it did not go well.

The Ohio inmate, convicted of the rape and fatal stabbing of a pregnant newlywed in 1989, appeared to gasp and convulse for roughly 10 minutes before he died, “making snorting and choking sounds…with his chest heaving and his fist clenched.” Nearly 25 minutes passed between the time the lethal drugs were injected and the time McGuire was pronounced dead.

The execution was a controversial one because Ohio, like many other pro-death penalty states, has been forced to find drug alternatives after European-based manufacturers banned U.S. prisons from using their drugs in executions – specifically the Danish-based Lundbeck, which manufactures pentobarbital, the go-to lethal injection drug. Damn those Danish restrictions! But I guess now they can cross Ohio’s recent concoction of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone off their list of possible replacements…

Although McGuire’s attorney’s failed to stop the execution on the basis of cruel and unusal punishment, on Friday, Dennis McGuire’s daughter, Amber, announced plans to file a lawsuit over her father’s death – one day after the “agony and terror” of watching him die.

“It was the most awful moment in my life to witness my dad’s execution,” she said in a statement ahead of the news conference. “I can’t think of any other way to describe it than torture.”

I wonder if the rape and stabbing lasted longer than 25 minutes?

Via: CNN

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Current Event Cat of the Day: U.S. Serial Killer Now Killed

Current Event Cat - Serial Killer

U.S serial killer and noted white supremacist, Joseph Paul Franklin, was granted a stay of execution amid legal challenges over the use of a new drug in the execution process.

The 63 year-old serial killer was scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the sniper style murder of 42-year-old Gerald Gordon outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. Franklin committed a number of murders, mainly targeting blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree that lasted from 1977 to 1980 – but Gordon’s was the only murder that resulted in the death penalty.  Other notable incidents include shooting and wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who has been paralyzed from the waist down ever since the 1978 attack. Apparently Franklin was angry at Flint after seeing a mixed-race couple in one of his magazines.

“I saw that interracial couple he had, photographed there, having sex,” Franklin said in a pre-execution interview. “It just made me sick. I think whites marry with whites, blacks with blacks, Indians with Indians. Orientals with orientals. I threw the magazine down and thought, I’m gonna kill that guy.”

Sounds like a reasonable reaction…

Anyways, everyone in Missouri really wanted Franklin dead (except Larry Flynt who opposes the death penalty), but hours before his scheduled execution a federal court granted a stay of execution on the basis that Missouri’s decision to use the drug pentobarbital to inject the serial killer violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Franklin’s lawyers successfully argued that the drug, which came from a pharmacy not regulated by the FDA, carried “a high risk of contamination and prolonged, unnecessary pain beyond that which is required to achieve death.” Perhaps, but if there’s anyone who should have a painful death, it’s the guy who shot a college student to death because she once dated a Jamaican man.

The state is appealing the stay and if the court rules within 24 hours against the stay, Franklin could still be put to death on Wednesday. Otherwise they’re going to have to find some new lethal injection ingredients – which might be difficult considering European drug manufacturers are cutting off supplies of the regular execution drug, propofol, in an effort to distance themselves from the death penalty and American prisons.

UPDATE: He was killed. The US Supreme Court upheld an appeal court’s decision to lift a stay of execution and they totally executed him.

Via: BBC News

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Texas Loves the Death Penalty… And Other News

Death Penalty

Cheer up Texas – you still have the death penalty!

Even though Texas Republicans are mourning the loss of their beloved abortion bill, they still have one thing to look forward to: their 500th execution and love of the death penalty. The state is set to execute its 500th prisoner Wednesday – 52-year-old convicted murderer Kimberly McCarthy. McCarthy, who will the first woman executed since 2010, was convicted of robbing, beating, and stabbing retired professor Dorothy Booth to death in 1997. Texas is the nation’s busiest death penalty state – it’s home to about 40% of the 1,300 executions that have taken place in the United States since the death penalty got the go ahead from the courts in 1976. Fox News

French MayorWhile the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA and Prop 8, things aren’t so same-sex friendly over in France. France legalized gay marriage back in April, becoming the 14th country to do so. But not everyone was happy about it. Now a French mayor has ended up in court for refusing to wed a gay couple in southwestern France. Jean-Michel Colo, who has been the mayor of Arcangues for three decades, became the first French official to formally refuse to marry a gay couple. “I will go to the gallows” rather than back down, Colo said. He might not go to the gallows, but he could face five-year jail term and a 75,000-euro ($98,000) fine. Raw Story 

707048-laurent-blanchardSpeaking of mayors engulfed in scandals, Montreal’s city council has selected Laurent Blanchard as their interim mayor after Michael Applebaum resigned amid corruption allegations. Applebaum had replaced former mayor Gerald Tremblay who also resigned amid corruption allegations. Both deny they did anything wrong. “It’s not easy to take over the city of Montreal after what happened in the last months,” Blanchard said. “It is what has to be done and I will try to do it the best possible.” Stay tuned for Blanchard’s resignation amid corruption allegations. CBC News

Paula DeenPaula Deen’s downfall continues. Paula Deen’s PR bus made a stop at the Today Show and she spent her time on the show crying out buttery tears and begging for forgiveness. In her apology Deen denied being a racist painted herself as a victim of “very, very hurtful lies” and judgments passed by “people I have never heard of [who] are all of a sudden experts on who I am.” After allegations surfaced that Paula Deen uses the n-word, dreams of holding plantation style parties with black men dressed up in white jackets, pays her black employees with beer, and generally just behaves like a huge racist old Southern woman, the celebrity chef was dropped by the Food Network along with some other corporate partners. Washington Post

en-bronysAll of the major (and minor) news sites are covering important topics such as the Supreme Court rulings, political scandals, and international wars. And then there’s the Toronto Star… Today’s front page news: men obsessed with My Little Pony feel misunderstood. Shocker. The My Little Pony show, which is targeted towards little girls, has a growing adult male fan base that call themselves “Bronies”. In order to qualify as a Brony, you must be 18+ and “live and breathe My Little Pony”. These men aren’t perverts – they love the animation, plot, character development, and lessons on friendship that the show provides. But the Bronies are sad that the public misunderstands their love of My Little Pony. “It’d definitely be nice if people had a more open attitude toward us,” one Brony says. WTF Toronto Star. (dedicated to Bums, the ultimate Brony)

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