[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----OKLA., ALA., USA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Mar 25 14:37:49 CST 2005
Prosecutors seek death penalty against Duncan man in murder case
Legal steps have been taken to qualify jurors hearing a murder case
against Jerry Lee McKinney, 36, to consider a death penalty.
Assistant District Attorney Charles Migliorino submitted a bill of
particulars in the case Wednesday. That filing clears the way for the
state to ask for the death penalty in selecting the jury. The presiding
judge will rule on that point when the jury selection is complete.
In addition to amending the original criminal complaint, the move, in
effect, postponed a scheduled preliminary hearing for McKinney. Court
officials said filing the bill of particulars places McKinney's case in
the hands of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System. To enable the defense
team time to prepare, the scheduled preliminary hearing was reset to 1:30
p.m. next Thursday.
McKinney, a Duncan resident, is charged with first-degree murder in the
Sept. 9, 2004, shooting death of Claudia Jewel "Julie" Cecil, 39, a
Johnston County woman who reportedly walked in on a domestic dispute.
An original hearing was postponed after McKinney suffered a seizure on
March 12 at the Johnston County Detention Center and was taken to Wilson
N. Jones Hospital at Sherman, Texas. He has since been returned to the
Authorities allege McKinney was attempting to flee from the home of Brenda
Worderz following the shooting that claimed life of Cecil, Worderz's
sister. The defendant was found at the scene of a motorcycle accident
later that same morning and was airlifted to Oklahoma City for medical
Death penalty for funeral-home killer
In Jasper, a judge on Thursday sentenced Christopher Shane Hyde to death
in the 2003 murders of three people during the robbery of a Sumiton
"Mister Hyde, you have taken the lives of three hard-working and
much-loved individuals," Walker County Circuit Court Judge Jerry K. Selman
told Hyde in sentencing him to die by lethal injection. The case
automatically will be appealed under state law.
Selman told Hyde he hopes he has time to contemplate the "atrocity" he
committed and what he had done to the victims' family and friends. "And I
hope you have time to contemplate what you have done to your mother."
Hyde's mother wept after the sentencing.
A jury last month found Hyde, 32, guilty of capital murder in the deaths
of Randle Lane, the Rev. Rick Peterson and June Williams. In a 10-2
decision, the jury recommended the judge sentence Hyde to death.
Lane, Peterson and Williams were found shot to death March 26, 2003, in
the embalming room at Bell's Funeral Chapel in Sumiton. Peterson's truck
and the two men's wallets also were taken.
Terry Williams, the son of June Williams, said he's forgiven Hyde but
still supports the death sentence.
Hyde told the judge he didn't have anything to say before sentencing.
(source: Birmingham News)
Abolish the death penalty in America
At many moments during the past 2,000 years, such as during the recent
priest-abuse scandals, Roman Catholics have had good reason to be
embarrassed by their church. The church was founded by Christ himself, but
that has never prevented the church from at times succumbing to the sins
of this world in ways that shake the faithful to their core.
However, American Catholics should be proud of how church leaders have
used this week's commemoration of Christ's execution to launch a new
campaign to abolish the death penalty in the United States.
The death penalty should be abolished.
I have long fought taking such a clear stance on capital punishment. My
libertarian leanings had never made me comfortable with the notion that
the state has the power to take someone's life, but I also believed there
were some crimes so heinous that the only just punishment was death. I
wavered in the middle.
But as the Supreme Court has banned the execution of mentally retarded and
juvenile killers, and DNA evidence shows that innocent men have been
condemned to die, support for the death penalty has become untenable for
this American and for this Catholic.
"This is not just about crime, but also about justice - what kind of
society we want to be," said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of
Washington, D.C., at a news conference this week. "The death penalty in
our land is deeply flawed - more that 100 people on death row have been
exonerated; the death penalty is unfairly applied depending on where a
crime is committed, the race of the victim and offender, the quality and
costs of defense and other factors."
Executing a condemned prisoner is an evil that as Americans, and as a
moral people, we can no longer tolerate. We may think a murderer deserves
to die, but if we believe that all life is precious and deserving of all
our protections, we cannot make exceptions without raising doubts about
the sincerity of those beliefs.
We cannot "err on the side of life" when deciding whether to pull a
feeding tube out of incapacitated woman, and then "err on the side of
death" for a condemned prisoner.
That is what is driving the American Catholic Church's new campaign to
re-state its long-standing opposition to the death penalty. The church's
is a moral position, but it will use various political and public
relations means - like education programs in parishes and dioceses and the
filing of legal briefs in courthouses - to deliver its powerful message.
"For us, ending the use of the death penalty is not simply about politics,
it is about our faith," McCarrick said. "We believe human life is a gift
from God that is not ours to take away. Our faith commits us to the life
and dignity of every human person."
There's a lot not to like about the Catholic Church, even for some
Catholics. But on questions of life - whether it is the Terri Schiavo
case, abortion or the death penalty - the church has always been resolute,
and absolute, offering the clarity of purpose often missing from the
That's why the public opposition by some American bishops to John Kerry's
candidacy last year was so bothersome. They may have a duty to speak out
against Kerry and question his Catholicism because of his pro-choice
positions on abortion. But the bishops also opened themselves to charges
of hypocrisy by appearing not to hold George W. Bush, a proud practitioner
of the death penalty as governor of Texas, to the same standard.
In this Catholic's eyes, though, the church has redeemed itself with the
new campaign to proselytize its uncompromising opposition to capital
The consistency of the church's position on life should guide all
Catholics, and perhaps all Americans of faith.
Many abortion opponents, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, support the
death penalty, perhaps to the detriment of that opposition. Ending
abortions will not take the changing of laws, but the changing of hearts,
minds and souls about the value of all life, born and unborn, the innocent
and the guilty. As long as "pro-lifers" oppose abortion but support the
death penalty, they are doing their part to uphold a culture where it is
OK to pick who chooses and who dies.
The "Cathechism of the Catholic Church" - a policy manual, of sorts, for
the church - states that "the traditional teaching of the Church does not
exclude recourse for the death penalty, if this is the only possible way
of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor."
As a practical matter, those other possible ways, such as a sentence of
life in prison without parole, exist. Cases where the death penalty is
necessary, in the words of Pope John Paul II, "are very rare, if not
"For us this is not about ideology, but respect for life," said McCarrick,
who formerly supported the death penalty. "We cannot teach that killing is
wrong by killing. We cannot defend life by taking life. In his encyclical
'The Gospel of Life,' the Holy Father challenges followers of Christ to be
'unconditionally pro life.' He reminds us that 'the dignity of human life
must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great
The frequency of executions, especially here in Texas, may not indicate
it, but the death penalty in America is endangered, because of advances in
science and legal reasoning. If our moral thought can similarly advance,
perhaps one day soon we will see the death of capital punishment and a
deeper commitment to all life.
(source: Opinion, Marc R. Masferrer is editor of The Lufkin (Tex.) Daily
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