[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----ARK., TEXAS, OKLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Feb 16 09:22:05 CST 2005
ARKANSAS----Senate passes bill to end juvenile death penalty
Senate OKs eliminating death penalty for 16-,17-year-olds
Separate legislation to treat young people differently - exempting from
the death penalty juveniles who were 16 or 17 at the time their offense
was committed, and requiring parental consent for women under 18 to get
abortions - received Senate endorsement Tuesday.
The death penalty bill by Sen. Steve Bryles, D-Blytheville, passed 24-9
with 2 members voting present.
Bryles told Senate members that condemning juveniles to death "sends the
wrong message to society."
"I think it's important that Arkansans say to the world we won't execute
children whose brains we know are not developed completely," he said.
Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, spoke against the bill, holding up a story
in Tuesday's Little Rock newspaper about a Japanese teenager who killed a
teacher with a sashimi knife on Monday.
Bryles' bill next goes to the House.
"Under the previous bill we said someone under 18 is not mentally
developed enough to make the right decisions, if you believe that, surely
you believe someone 18 is not developed enough to have an abortion," he
The measure has already been approved by the House, but that chamber must
consider amendments added by the Senate before the bill can be sent to
Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has said he will support the measure.
(source: Log Cabin Democrat)
Another Date Set for Smuggling Death Trial
A New York man accused of driving and abandoning a hot, airless
tractor-trailer in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt has been
given yet another trial date.
Jury selection in the trial of Tyrone Williams is now set to begin next
Tuesday; the trial has been postponed 4 times since its original Jan. 5
U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore set the new date after a federal
appeals court on Monday overturned her order that 2 juries should decide
Williams' fate -- one to decide whether he is guilty and another to
determine his punishment if he is convicted.
The ruling was made so the case could proceed while the Supreme Court
considers his attorney's request to determine why he is the only defendant
in the case who faces the death penalty.
Williams, who is black, and his attorney say he is being singled out
because of his race. Prosecutors have said Williams alone had the power to
release the immigrants packed in his tractor-trailer.
Williams, from Schenectady, N.Y., faces 58 counts of harboring and
transporting illegal immigrants. Federal law allows prosecutors to seek
the death penalty in smuggling cases that result in death.
Prosecutors say he was hired by a smuggling ring to transport more than 70
immigrants in a sweltering tractor-trailer in May 2003. The vehicle was
abandoned at a Victoria truck stop after the immigrants began succumbing
to the heat.
17 immigrants were found dead inside. 2 died 2 days later.
Authorities said temperatures in the trailer reached up to 173 degrees.
(source: Associated Press)
OKLAHOMA----impending execution//clemency denied
Death row inmate denied clemency
Jimmie Ray Slaughter will not be considered for clemency by the governor
and his legal team, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board decided Tuesday.
The board voted unanimously against sending the case to the governor after
hearing testimony from lawyers, law enforcement, family members and
Slaughter was convicted in the 1991 murders of his ex-girlfriend, Melody
Wuertz, and their daughter, 1-year-old Jessica. His trial lasted nearly 6
months -- the longest criminal trial in Oklahoma history.
Melody's brother, Wesley Wuertz, said after the hearing he felt relieved
by the board's 4-0 vote.
"I had great hope for that (but) it's nothing to be happy about," he said.
Slaughter's daughter, Amanda, buried her face in her hands and wept as the
board voted. She testified that she could vouch for her father's alibi
during the time of the murders.
"I know for a fact that he's innocent," she told the board. "I was there.
And I have carried this truth along with me all these years."
Slaughter, a Vietnam veteran, said he was falsely accused. He paused
several times to compose himself while he read his statement, scrawled on
yellow legal paper and held by defense attorney Robert Jackson.
"My entire life has been stolen," Slaughter said after reading his
remarks. "I've been humiliated for 13 years."
The Wuertz family plans to attend Slaughter's execution, scheduled for
March 15, Wesley Wuertz said.
(source: The Oklahoman)
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