[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, FLA., USA, S.C.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Mar 22 21:10:51 EST 2006
Lubbock man executed for death of toddler
A Lubbock man was executed tonight for the April 1997 beating death of his
girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter.
"To everybody on both sides of that wall, I want you to know that I love
you both," Robert Salazar Jr., said in a final statement, acknowledging
his family and Adriana Gomez's mother and other relatives who were there
as witnesses. He looked toward his family during his remarks.
"I am sorry that the child had to lose her life, but I should not have to
be here. Tell my family I love them all and I will see them in heaven.
Come home when you can."
Salazar, 27, was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m., 7 minutes after the lethal
dose began to flow.
Salazar told police he just wanted Adriana, whom he was baby-sitting, to
stop crying. So he pushed her with the back of his hand, causing her to
fall down in a bathtub and hit her head.
"I did not mean to hurt Adriana," Salazar told police in a statement after
his arrest for the girl's death in her Lubbock home. "I don't want people
to think I'm a bad person for what I did."
But authorities said Salazar did more than push the toddler. In a violent
rage, he inflicted injuries on Adriana that a pathologist who testified at
his trial said were worse than those suffered by victims of auto
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday rejected requests to
commute Salazar's sentence to life or halt the execution. The Texas Court
of Criminal Appeals and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned down
requests by Salazar's attorney, Michael Charlton, to stop the execution
based on claims the inmate is mentally retarded. There were no appeals to
the U.S. Supreme Court.
Authorities said Salazar delivered at least three life-threatening
injuries to the girl: a blow to the head that left it feeling like
gelatin, a blow to her chest that left her heart on the verge of rupturing
and a blow to her abdomen that pushed internal organs against her
"Salazar destroyed that little girl's body, just destroyed it," said Rusty
Ladd, who helped prosecute the case for the Lubbock County District
Salazar began dating Adriana's mother, Raylene Blakeburn, in 1996. He took
care of the toddler while her mother worked. Blakeburn told authorities
Salazar had abused her daughter several other times.
After beating her, Salazar left Adriana in the crib at her Lubbock home
and went to his mother's house to drink beer with a friend. Adriana's
mother found her when she got home from work and took her to a hospital,
where she died a few hours later.
Salazar, 18 at the time of his crime, refused a request from The
Associated Press for an interview in the weeks before his scheduled
Philip Wischkaemper, Salazar's defense attorney during his 1999 trial,
said the inmate's mental retardation is behind his lack of remorse. He
also said Salazar was severely abused and neglected as a child by his
father. The mental retardation issue was not brought up during Salazar's
"We know mentally retarded people have difficulty showing emotion," said
Wischkaemper, who added tests have shown that Salazar's IQ is probably
under 75. The threshold for mental retardation is 70.
In 2002, the Supreme Court barred executions of the mentally retarded, on
grounds they violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual
Wade Jackson, first assistant district attorney for Lubbock County, said
other tests have shown that Salazar's IQ is as high as 102.
Wischkaemper said Salazar was condemned partly because jurors at his trial
were misinformed by someone on the panel that he could have been released
on parole in 20 to 25 years instead of the actual 40 if sentenced to life
Ladd, now a judge in Lubbock, said it was the brutal nature of the crime
that ultimately determined the jury's decision.
"I've never shed tears over a victim the way I did over that little girl,"
Salazar becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Texas and the 361st overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
December 7, 1982. Salazar becomes the 122nd condemned inmate to be put to
death in the state since Rick Perry became governor in 2001.
Salazar becomes the 11th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1015th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977. Next on the execution schedule is Raymond Martinez,
condemned for the 1983 shooting death of a Houston bar owner during a
robbery. He is set to be executed Tuesday. Kevin Kincy is set to be
executed the next night, and there are 8 more executions scheduled in the
state before June 1.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
State will seek death penalty in Gateway murders
State Attorney Steve Russell plans to seek the death penalty for double
murder suspect Fred Cooper, he announced today.
Cooper is accused of killing couple Steven and Michelle Andrews in their
Gateway home Dec. 27. He was indicted Feb. 1 on 2 counts of 1st-degree
murder and 1 count of armed burlgary. Cooper pleaded not guilty and is
awaiting trial at Lee County Jail.
The Death Penalty Review Committee recommended the death penalty for
Cooper if hes convicted. The committee considers the known circumstances
pertaining to the case and the defendant, in terms of aggravating and
mitigating factors relevant to sentencing in capital cases under Florida
(source: The News- Press)
Murderers should have no choice, only death penalty
I have a very strong opinion when it comes to murderers.
I have a very strong opinion when it comes to murderers. I believe those
who are found guilty of murder should not have the choice of life in
prison or the death penalty. If they killed someone, they should haveM the
same fate as their victims. MO< Now I don't want you to think this should
apply to every single person with charges of murder brought against them.
There are a few exceptions: those who are not adults, those who killed in
self-defense, or those who are found mentally unstable should not have the
death penalty brought against them. After all there is a difference
between a child accidentally shooting his friend and killing him than a
man who kills a friend just because the friend did something he didn't
I developed this position after my sister-in-law was murdered in New
Mexico. The guy would show up at her work (she was a waitress) and ask to
be seated only in her area that night. He would leave large tips, and she
told family members he was starting to "creep her out."
The night my sister died he watched her get off work and followed her
home. He sat outside her house for a while before he finally went to the
door. Police say when she opened the door, he forced his way in. He then
brought her to his house and strangled her. He left her naked on his back
porch that night, got up early the next day, dumped her in a ditch outside
of town, and proceeded to play golf with his friends.
My sister's killer had paperwork filed against him last week seeking the
death penalty. I say that's what he deserves. People should not kill other
people, but today that seems to be what is on the news constantly. Maybe
if the death penalty was brought up against everyone who killed someone,
except for the above mentioned exceptions, people would think twice before
pulling a trigger. Of course, there are those who will still kill no
matter what the circumstances are, but maybe this will bring down those
ever-rising statistics of murders.
Currently there are 38 states that authorize the death penalty, according
to www.deathpenaltyinfo.org. Some of these states include: Texas, New
Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Kansas and Utah. That may come as a shock,
but yes, Utah does have the death penalty. Since 1976, Utah has executed
six people. Right now there are only 9 people on death row. The murder
rate in Utah per 100,000 people is 1.9 %. As of 2005 there are 2,469,585
estimated people in Utah, according en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah. That means
about 25 people will be killed in one year.
So maybe if we increase the rate of those who are sentenced to the death
penalty, maybe the numbers will go down. After all, it was their decision
in the first place to kill someone. Why shouldn't they have the same
(source: Casie McNaughton - Dixie Sun Opinion Editor)
Senate debates death penalty for child molesters
In Columbia, state senators debated Wednesday whether child molesters
should face the death penalty if convicted of sexually abusing a child for
a second time.
The debate came days after a convicted sex offender from Hartsville was
charged with abducting 2 teenage girls and raping them in an underground
room behind his home.
Kenneth G. Hinson, 47, had previously been convicted in 1991 of raping an
11-year-old girl. He was released from prison in 2000.
"I have a grandchild who is 3 years 8 months. It is absolutely
inconceivable to me that we in South Carolina would allow somebody to live
on a 2nd offense after doing an act like this," said Sen. Greg Ryberg,
Sen. Kevin Bryant wanted to put the death penalty provision into a bill
that would require lifetime electronic monitoring for some sex offenders.
If news gets out that the state will put repeat child molesters to death,
offenders who want to abuse children again will stay away, said Bryant,
"Taking something from the soul that may not be repairable, I say, is just
as bad as taking a life," Bryant said.
The bill also sets minimum prison sentences for sexual abuse, including a
sentence of at least 25 years with no possibility of parole for someone
convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a child less than 11 years old.
The bill is similar to one passed in Florida known as "Jessica's Law,"
named for a 9-year-old Florida girl who was murdered by a registered sex
offender. But some senators were concerned a law allowing the death
penalty for someone who isn't convicted of murder would be
unconstitutional and put the state's death penalty law in jeopardy.
"This is putting us in a political bind. Nobody wants to vote against
being tough on child molesters," said Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg.
Hutto, who is an attorney, said the amendment would invite a legal
challenge that would cost taxpayers millions of dollars and put victims
through the agony of a 2nd trial. He said death penalty cases that don't
involve murder could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
"This should be about locking these people up, so that hopefully they'll
never get out," Hutto said.
Sen. Mike Fair countered that Hutto can't see into the future. "You're
getting into ESP. You're trying to get clairvoyant," said Fair,
The debate got so heated, senators took a brief recess to calm down.
"If I have to side with the constitutional rights of a pervert or
protecting the children of South Carolina, I'll come down on the sides of
the children every time," Bryant said. "I don't see how you can even make
it to the courthouse with someone who's done something like this."
The Senate adjourned without resolving the issue and will take it up again
(source: Associated Press)
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