Texas on Wednesday night executed Manuel Garza Jr. by lethal injection for killing a police officer, the second time in less than a week the state has put a convicted cop-killer to death.
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By: Kent Scheidegger
We noted earlier that both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature had passed their own versions of a bill to establish nitrogen hypoxia as an alternate method of execution if lethal injection is unavailable. The Senate today unanimously passed the House version, HB 1879, and it goes to the governor.
The bill does not give the inmates the option to choose this method if lethal injection is available. That would have been useful in demonstrating the superiority of the method. I would not be surprised to see many inmates choose it if they had the option. Depending on how it is set up, it could be a more dignified way to make one’s exit.
The bill takes effect November 1. The general constitutional rule for effective dates in Oklahoma is 90 days from the adjournment of the session (§V-58), which is scheduled to be no later than May 29. The author built in a couple of extra months. That was probably to give the Department of Corrections time to get the method ready.
by Bill Otis
1. STATEMENT OF THE LEADER OF THE ANTI-DEATH PENALTY CROWD (via the head of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (interviewed by Salon):
“How death penalty politics radically, shockingly changed: Death row’s days are numbered…”
2. STATEMENT OF REALITY (via Gallup)
“Americans’ Support for Death Penalty Stable. WASHINGTON, D.C. — Six in 10 Americans favor the death penalty for convicted murderers, generally consistent with attitudes since 2008.”
For willingness to lie, belligerently and with a straight face, I have seldom encountered anything like the abolitionist movement. THEIR LIE is that public support for the death penalty has been crumbling in recent years,
The TRUTH IS JUST THE OPPOSITE (as abolitionists know while they continue to lie about it).
by Kent Scheidegger
Michael Graczyk reports for AP:
A Texas man convicted of killing a 38-year-old woman nearly two decades ago while he was on parole for a triple slaying years earlier was executed Thursday evening.
Robert Ladd, 57, received a lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty.
The court also rejected an appeal in which Ladd’s attorney challenged whether the pentobarbital Texas uses in executions is potent enough to not cause unconstitutional pain and suffering.
There are no dissents noted in the two Supreme Court orders.
Pentobarbital is the way to go.
The Georgia Department of Corrections on Friday set a Jan. 13 execution date for Andrew Howard Brannan, who murdered a 22-year-old Laurens County deputy during a 1998 traffic stop. If Brannan is put to death by lethal injection, he will be second man Georgia has executed in little more than a month; Robert Holsey was executed on Dec. 9 for murdering a Baldwin County deputy. In January 1998, Laurens County deputy Kyle Dinkheller stopped Brannan on Interstate 16 for speeding, driving at 98 mph. All that happened after Brannan was pulled over was captured by a video camera on the deputy’s car.
According to the video shown the jury, Brannan got out of his truck and ignored Dinkheller’s demands that he take his hands out of his pockets. Brannan swore at the deputy and began dancing on the road and yelling, “shoot me.” At one point he yelled he was a “Vietnam combat veteran.” Then Brannan rushed the the deputy and they struggled for a few moments until Brannan ran back to his truck and got a .30 M-1 carbine. He shot Dinkheller nine times, including once at close range. In the trial, Brannan’s attorney said he was insane and asked the jury to find him not guilty. The defense lawyer said Brannan had post traumatic stress disorder and would have flashbacks to his experience Vietnam.
But according to the court-appointed psychiatrist, Brannan was sane.
BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri inmate was put to death early Wednesday for fatally beating a 63-year-old woman with a hammer in 1998, the state’s record 10th lethal injection of 2014 to match Texas for the most executions in the country this year.
Paul Goodwin, 48, sexually assaulted Joan Crotts in St. Louis County, pushed her down a flight of stairs and beat her in the head with a hammer. Goodwin was a former neighbor who felt Crotts played a role in getting him kicked out of a boarding house.
Goodwin’s execution began at 1:17 a.m., more than an hour after it was scheduled, and he was pronounced dead at 1:25 a.m.
Efforts to spare Goodwin’s life centered on his low IQ and claims that executing him would violate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the death penalty for the mentally disabled. Attorney Jennifer Herndon said Goodwin had an IQ of 73, and some tests suggested it was even lower.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A federal judge in Connecticut has rejected the arguments of a home invasion killer on death row who complained that the food he is being served in prison is not kosher. Steven Hayes, convicted of killing a mother and two daughters, sued the Department of Correction in August, alleging the preparation practices for kosher meals in the kitchen at the state’s highest-security prison do not conform to Jewish dietary laws.
Hayes describes himself in the lawsuit as an Orthodox Jew and says he’s been requesting a kosher diet since May 2013. He says he has suffered “almost two years of emotional injury from having to choose between following God and starving or choosing sin to survive.”
Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky were sentenced to die for the 2007 murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, at the family’s home in Cheshire. The victims were tied up, two of them were sexually assaulted and their bodies were found after the home was set on fire. Hawke-Petit’s husband, Dr. William Petit, was severely beaten, but survived.
LOUISVILLE, KY. — Scott Nelson was 17 when he died. Donata Nelson has seen 30 years pass without the man who killed her son being led into an execution chamber. On Sept. 30, the day after the 30th anniversary of when Nelson and a friend were bound, gagged and shot in the back of the head, a federal judge struck down some of Victor Taylor’s appeals on his two death sentences for murder, kidnapping and robbery, and sodomy. But with new legal obstacles emerging, including a national debate over lethal injection drugs, Donata Nelson, 72, doesn’t hold out much hope for a resolution. “It gets tough,” she said, her voice breaking up. “After all these years, it doesn’t seem to ease up.”
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Ten years after banning the use of firing squads in state executions, Utah lawmakers on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to allow the practice again to avoid problems with lethal-injection drugs. The proposal from Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield would call for a firing squad if the state cannot obtain the lethal injection drugs 30 days before the scheduled execution. Utah dropped firing squads out of concern about the media attention, but Ray said it’s the most humane way to execute someone because the inmate dies instantly.
‘We have to have an option,’ Ray told reporters on Wednesday. ‘If we go hanging, if we go to the guillotine, or we go to the firing squad, electric chair, you’re still going to have the same circus atmosphere behind it. So is it really going to matter?’After a 20-minute discussion, an interim panel of Utah lawmakers approved the idea on a 9-2 vote Wednesday. The proposal still needs to go through the full legislative process once lawmakers convene for their annual session in January.
One of two men convicted of killing a South Dakota State Penitentiary guard will be executed the week of May 3-9, 2015.
Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the warrant of execution for Rodney Scott Berget has been issued by Second Circuit Court Judge Bradley Zell. The penitentiary’s warden will set the time and day. Law requires he announce to the public the scheduled day and hour within 48 hours of the execution.
Berget and another prisoner, Eric Robert, attacked penitentiary guard Ronald Johnson during an April 2011 escape attempt. Johnson was alone in an area where inmates work on projects such as upholstery and signs. Robert donned Johnson’s uniform and tried to move a large box with Berget inside toward the prison gate. They were caught before leaving the prison.
Robert was executed in 2012. A third inmate, Michael Nordman, was sentenced to life in prison for providing plastic wrap and a pipe used in the slaying of Johnson, which happened on his 63rd birthday.
At the execution will be the attorney general, the trial judge, the state’s attorney and county sheriff, representatives of the victims, at least one member of the news media, and a number of reputable adult citizens to be determined by the warden.