[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----CONN., ARIZ., N.C., GA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Mar 2 21:06:34 CST 2005
Lawmakers consider death penalty moratorium
There is growing support within a key legislative committee for a bill
that would abolish Connecticut's death penalty, possibly before serial
killer Michael Ross' scheduled execution in May.
Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee,
said Wednesday that it appears the panel could pass an abolition bill
sometime next week.
"It looks good. Nothing is ever certain, but it looks like the votes may
be there," he said.
But Lawlor said it remains questionable whether there is enough support
within the full legislature to pass an abolition bill. He said there could
be more support for a temporary moratorium.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said Wednesday that it
will push for a temporary moratorium if lawmakers don't eliminate capital
House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, who supports the death penalty, said
he is also uncertain if there are enough votes in the House to abolish the
Roger Vann, the new executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said a
moratorium on executions is necessary because some lawmakers still need to
discuss the ramifications of proceeding with New England's first execution
Ross, who came within hours of dying by lethal injection on Jan. 29, faces
a new May 11 execution date.
"If this execution moves forward, as lawyers say, it's a slippery slope,"
Vann said. "It's a process that we perhaps would not be able to stop once
it gets started."
Ross, 45, who is on death row for killing four young women and girls in
eastern Connecticut in the early 1980s, has decided to forgo his remaining
appeals and face his death sentence. He was originally scheduled to be put
to death by lethal injection in January, but the execution was postponed
until May 11 so his mental competency could be examined.
Rep. Robert Farr, R-West Hartford, the ranking Republican House member of
the Judiciary Committee, said he agrees that there could be enough support
in the committee to pass the bill. But Farr, who opposes the death penalty
except in rare cases such as terrorism, said opponents still need a
super-majority to override an expected gubernatorial veto from Gov. M.
"I think there's been a change in the makeup of the legislature," Farr
said. The majority of the House members, for example, have not voted on
death penalty legislation.
Several members of the legislature's black and Hispanic caucus announced
Wednesday that a majority of their group supports replacing the death
sentence with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of
Rep. William Dyson, D-New Haven, who is black, also called on Rell to
reconsider her support for the death penalty. But Rich Harris, a spokesman
for Rell, said the governor still believes executions are appropriate for
"He can appeal to the governor, but this is first and foremost a
legislative issue," Harris said, referring to Dyson. "He's got to persuade
the House and Senate leadership to deal with this issue."
Dyson said there are too many cases in the United States of racial bias
and innocent people sitting on death row for years and years.
He believes more lawmakers might publicly support eliminating the death
penalty if Ross - whom he did not mention by name - was not facing
"If that wasn't around, you'd probably get overwhelming support," Dyson
said. "That issue is there and it causes people to kind of vacillate a
little bit on the issue."
(source: Associated Press)
2 Sides to Juvenile Death Penalty
2 sides of the juvenile death penalty debate have extremely different
takes on the supreme court decision to ban executing those who were minors
when they committed their crime.
"It's a slap in the face to victims," said Nancy Arias, whose sister,
Patricia Bauerlen, was carjacked, driven to the desert, forced to strip
and then shot to death by Levi Jackson.
The father of the convicted murderer says justice is being done for his
son, who was 16 at the time he shot Bauerlen. "If he does get out off of
death row, that's a big thing to us," said Bob Jackson.
"It doesn't matter if somebody was 16 when they murdered someone," Arias
said. "They knew what they were doing, and they should get death. That
should be upheld. He showed no remorse."
Arias and other family members pushed for the death penalty for Jackson.
Now she fears he may be paroled one day, although prosecutors say the
chance is small.
Jackson's father says his son fell into a group of friends that would joke
about the light consequences they'd face if they ever got in trouble.
"I think it's just because he was young he didn't realize what he'd really
done until a little later down the road, started realizing how bad the
situation was and what he really screwed up and done, only reason we can
come up with, we don't know [why he did it]," he said.
Jackson says his ex-wife abused Levi and that as a boy, he didn't know how
to make good decisions.
"I think he made a big mistake, he really screwed up. He's a young kid,
and he's really sorry about what he did," said Jackson.
"I don't think that's a defense by any means," said Arias.
She says after the decision, family members worry more that Levi Jackson
could be a threat should he ever escape or be released.
But Jackson's family sees hope in the prospect he could be moved from
death row. They see a chance to be able to meet him face to face across a
table instead of behind glass partitions.
"I'm hoping he's in the general population. I can hold his hand, maybe
slap him upside the head for what he did a couple of times," said Bob
Nancy Arias hopes someday the decision will be reversed.
"They said it was unconstitutionally cruel to put a juvenile to death ,
but it was unconstitutionally cruel for them to murder my sister and leave
her body out in the desert and leave her 2 children motherless," she said.
Levi Jackson could be up for parole in 15 years.
Aarias says she'll fight to make sure he doesn't get paroled.
(source: KOLD News)
Bolton Latest NC Town to Call for Moratorium; 38 Total
The Bolton Board of Aldermen is the latest local government body to call
for an immediate suspension of executions in North Carolina.
The board passed the resolution unanimously during its March 1 meeting.
When Mayor Frank Wilson called for a motion, 3 of the 4 aldermen present
responded immediately with motions. Bolton, with a population of about
500, is located in Columbus County, near Lake Waccamaw.
Bolton is the third North Carolina local government in 2 weeks to pass a
moratorium resolution, and the 38th overall. Aulander and Northwest in
eastern North Carolina passed the resolution Feb. 21 and 22. Bolton makes
141 local governments nationwide that have called for a moratorium.
(source: People of Faith Against the Death Penalty)
Ken Stanford: Witness to an execution
I watched the state of Georgia put a man to death Tuesday night. It was
the first time I have witnessed an execution in nearly 40 years in this
business as a reporter.
There were 4 of us - media witnesses - along with a number of other
witnesses, including two who were there on behalf of the condemned,
Stephen Anthony Mobley, who had shot and killed a Domino's Pizza store
manager in Oakwood in 1991. (Domino's played a prominent role in the
Mobley case as it worked its way through the appeals process. Did he or
did he not hang a Domino's pizza box in his cell? Did he or did he not
tatoo the word Domino's into his body? Did he or did he not made
derogatory and/or threatening remarks to prison personnel making reference
to Domino's deliverymen while doing so?)
Most of those in the room had some official connection to the case as a
local and state law enforcement official - such as former Hall County
Sheriff Bob Vass who is now on the state Board of Corrections; Hall County
D.A. Jason Deal; and the 2 Hall County sheriff's detectives worked the
case. They and 10 others of us were seated on 3 wooden benches; another
15-or-so, all of them with the state prison system - were standing around
the walls of the room.
The media witnesses were the last to enter the small room and we sat on
the last row - with a clear view of Mobley through a glass window in the
wall separating the witness room and the execution chamber. He had his
head off the gurney and was looking into the room.
It was 7:45.
He made a final statement, requested a prayer which the prison chaplin
delivered preceded by the reading of a brief passage from the Bible. With
a light touch to Mobley's left wrist, the chaplin left the room and the
warden read the death warrant.
As he did so, Mobley raised his head again, looked into the witness room
and mouthed the words "Thank you" to one of his friends.
It was 7:52.
To carry out lethal injections, the state of Georgia uses three drugs. The
1st puts the condemned to sleep. The 2nd shuts down the respiratory
system. The 3rd stops the heart.
Resting his head on the gurney, Mobley swallowed , raised his head, looked
into the room again, winked at one of his representatives, laid his head
back on the gurney. He licked his lips, blinked his eyes and took a deep
breath. His eyes then closed and there was no more movement except the
rise-and-fall of his chest as he took his last breaths. They were rapid
The pace of my breathing increased; my heart rate increased.
The witness room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop - somewhat
surreal. The only sound was that of pencil point on notepad as those of us
with the media made note of what was happening. No one moved. All eyes
were fixed on Mobley.
Then he stopping breathing. The seconds ticked by, dragging into minutes -
seemingly like an eternity, but not.
There was a marked change in the color of his skin - something we had been
told to expect at or near the time of death.
Then two doctors entered the death chamber. One checked for a heartbeat
and looked into his eyes. The second did the same. Then came a nod to the
warden - indicating that the execution had been carried out.
It was 8:00.
The warden formally announced that the execution had been carried out and
we were ushered out of the witness room, back into our van, and returned
to the media staging area near the entrance to the prison grounds.
Shortly afterward, I was headed home up I-75.
But, there was one final footnote to the evening: up ahead was a
tractor-trailer. As I got closer and prepared to pass, I noticed that it
was, irony of ironies --- a Domino's Pizza truck.
(source: accesnorthga.com; Ken Stanford is the News Director for WDUN AM
550, SPORTS RADIO 1240 THE TICKET and MAJIC 1029 and is Editor of
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