[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Jul 15 10:44:33 CDT 2004
2 men to hang in triple murder case
A jury in Trinidad sentenced 2 men to death by hanging for killing 3
people during a robbery, including one of the men's great grandmother and
a BBC anchorwoman.
The jury deliberated for an hour before delivering a guilty verdict
against Daniel Agard, 21, and Lester Pitman, 26. The death sentence was
announced shortly afterward.
The verdict came 7 days after the London-based Privy Council reversed its
2003 ruling that Trinidad's mandatory death penalty for murder convictions
was unconstitutional. The Privy Council serves as the final court of
appeals for many former British colonies in the Caribbean.
Shortly before the verdict was announced, the judge asked the defendants
if they had anything to say. Pitman replied that he was innocent. Agard
said he had nothing to say.
The victims' relatives cried when the verdict was announced. They declined
to comment afterward, as did relatives of Agard and Pitman.
The victims in the December 2001 murders were Agard's great grandmother,
Maggie Lee, 83; her daughter Lynette Lithgow Pearson, 51; and John
Cropper, 59, Lee's son-in-law.
Agard and Pitman allegedly gave police statements implicating themselves
but later said police concocted the statements and coerced them into
signing by promising them immunity.
Police insisted the statements were made voluntarily.
Lithgow was a former anchor for the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Cropper, who was married to Lee's other daughter, Angela Cropper, was a
British-born agricultural consultant living in Trinidad. Angela Cropper
was away from Trinidad on a business trip when her relatives were killed.
Police found the victims with their throats slit in Cropper's home. 2
television sets, a gold ring, two gold chains, a laptop computer and a car
were among the stolen items. The murders occurred after the family held a
Police found a fingerprint on a jewelry box in the house matching Agard's.
Jurors were also shown a surveillance video of Agard withdrawing money
from Cropper's bank account in the days after the murders.
A neighbor of the Cropper testified that she saw Pitman outside the house
on the evening of the murders.
Agard allegedly told police that he and a man named "Cudjoe" robbed the
house. He said he had left the house with some of the stolen goods when
Cudjoe killed the victims.
But Pitman allegedly told police that Agard killed the three after they
both robbed the house. Pitman did not mention Cudjoe in his statement.
Police said they searched for Cudjoe but couldn't find him.
Death sentences are always carried out by hanging in Trinidad, but the
Caribbean country has not hanged anyone since 1999.
The Privy Council has blocked several executions in recent years. Last
week, the Privy Council found that automatic death sentences for convicted
murderers did not violate Trinidad's constitution.
(source: Associated Press)
NGO asks death row prisoner to donate organs:
A charity organisation in Gujarat has asked a death row prisoner in
Kolkata to "seek forgiveness" by pledging to donate his organs.
The city-based Sadvichar Parivar has written to Dhananjay Chatterjee, who
was convicted of raping and murdering a school student in Kolkata, that
donating his organs would help him find a "new life".
Dhananjay has appealed to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for clemency.
"Instead of asking for mercy from the president, you should seek
forgiveness from the creator of us all by donating your organs. That would
help many in finding a new life," the letter from the NGO said.
The letter said that Chatterjee was lodged in Alipore Jail where "the
great mystic" Maharishi Aurobindo had been incarcerated during the
"The great mystic spent his days here achieving self-realisation and
Dhananjay should follow his example," stated the letter sent earlier this
"We have not received any response from him to our appeal, but we are
hopeful," Sadvichar Parivar founder Haribhai Panchal told IANS.
The appeal has been signed by 40 people.
Held guilty of raping and murdering schoolgirl Hetal Parekh in a housing
complex where he served as a security guard, Dhananjay Chaterjee had been
sentenced to death in 1991.
He was to be hanged early last month in Kolkata but the Supreme Court
stayed the execution as a clemency appeal is pending with the president.
Many prisoners on death row have donated their organs in response to the
appeal from the 42-year-old organisation.
Panchal claimed that Kehar Singh and Satwant Singh, convicted in the
Indira Gandhi murder case, finally agreed to donate their eyes following
an appeal from the Sadvichar Parivar.
As part of its social service activities, the NGO collects mortal remains
of the diseased from their relatives and disperses them in the river
(source: New Kerala)
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