[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----USA, S.C., CALIF., OKLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Mar 28 23:58:17 EST 2006
Death penalty, the law, justice and namby-pambies
I must have read Sam Osborne's wallow in flower power philosophy 6 or 7
times in an attempt to decide if he was speaking tongue in cheek or head
Instead of looking at the law which dictates the death penalty for murder,
Osborne believes he has the power to look into the conscience of [Fayette
District Attorney] Scott Ballard and has declared hes determined and seeks
There's nothing in it for Ballard except properly executing the duties of
his office. In a state where murder is still recognized as wrong, Ballard
is upholding the law.
In the case of the school children of Beslan, Russia, the life of the
surviving Chechen terrorist was not saved by live-and-let-live Russian
families. According to the BBC report of May 17, 2005, Kulayev was dragged
by Russian commandos from a lynch mob. He escaped death only because of a
government moratorium on the death penalty.
Eye for an eye has nothing to do with vengeance, and, as with much of the
news, has been taken out of context. It's only a small portion of a law
passed by a Higher Power and can be found in Exodus 21:24, (that's a book
in the Bible, Sam. You can stop by the library to see one).
Capital punishment and the death penalty has nothing to do with Hitler
either. Would you have tried to rehabilitate him? What would be your
recommendation for him or the other dictators who advocated genocide? You
could put them on that planet you described.
I have a plan as an alternative to the death penalty: 1. Select one large
prison (Iowa?) to send all the tried and convicted murderers, rapists and
2. Register all the namby-pambies who think murderers, rapists and child
molesters can be rehabilitated and that the death penalty is harsh and
cruel punishment (never mind what the victims had to endure).
3. Assign all the nambies a prisoner or two to support their upkeep,
(remember, theyll have to have food and medical attention the rest of
4. And most importantly, on weekends and holidays the nambies can drop by
the prison, get shackled to their ward and take him home for the holidays.
Remember, many of the victims will not be home for the holidays.
I can only speak for myself when I say after a trial and the judgment of
their peers, the death penalty is fitting for violent crimes against
others. Its shameful that our laws have been weakened and watered down to
the point the rights of wrong-doers trump and overshadow the atrocities
suffered by the innocent.
Not only will the ne'er-do-wells be housed, fed and clothed the rest of
their lives, theyll receive better medical attention than many Americans
can afford to provide for their families. Call me crazy, but there's
something wrong with that picture.
I'll never be accused of being a religious zealot but it can be said Ill
always have more compassion for the families of the victims than the
murderers, rapists and child molesters Sam Osborne wants to protect and
When I'm on my deathbed, and if I'm allowed the luxury of lucidity, I
certainly won't be concerned about those who received their just desserts.
Mike Loyd----Fayetteville, Ga.
(source: Letter to the Editor, The Citizen)
Senate passes death penalty proposal for child molesters with repeat
In Columbia, a statute that could give some sex offenders the death
penalty passed the full state Senate Tuesday. If it becomes law, anyone
convicted twice of raping a child under 11 could get a death sentence.
The sex crimes against one Lexington woman's children are so bad, WIS is
shielding her identity. The victim's mother tells us, "When everybody was
in bed at night, he would go into his room and have his way with my
She says a family friend molested her five-year-old daughter and raped her
9-year-old son, "They've had low self-esteem, embarrassment, trouble in
relationships, everything in their lives. It's really destroyed them."
Inside the State House, lawmakers wanted to know if a statute sentencing
some sex offenders to death would survive constitutional questions like
cruel and unusual punishment.
State attorney general Henry McMaster testified, "If a grown man rapes a
child under 11, then again after conviction, can he be executed? I think
the answer is yes because the country believes this is the proper
punishment for such a heinous crime."
USC law professor Ken Gains says the US Supreme Court might strike it
down, "I think it does present some constitutional problems. Mainly it's
disproportionate and excessive."
Solicitor Donnie Myers, known for death penalty convictions, said it could
be a fight, "You'll have all the anti-death penalty crowd on one side and
all the prosecution on the other side and they're going to clash in the
middle, and fighting over the constitutionality of a case where there's no
death and the death penalty is being imposed."
But the victim's mother that News 10 spoke with says, "People who say that
have not lived their children's lives and not watched their children be
destroyed by a sex offender."
So she'll support the proposal as it moves to the House.
People who testified Tuesday said 1 other state, Louisiana, has a similar
statute. It became law in 1995. They say since then, 1 person was
convicted. He's on death row.
(source: WIS-TV News)
'Dead Man Walking' author speaks
Sister Helen Prejean admits she wasn't sure what she was getting into when
she agreed to be the spiritual advisor for a Louisiana death row inmate in
Prejean, a Catholic nun, is the author of the bestselling book "Dead Man
Walking." Her book was made into a motion picture in 1996.
She spoke at the Springbank Retreat for Eco-Spirituality outside of
Kingstree on Sunday.
The book was an eyewitness account of an execution and it chronicled the
contact she had with the condemned man before he was put to death.
"I told him to look at me (as he was dying). He was not dying alone," said
Prejean, adding that she wanted the condemned man to see the forgiving
face of Jesus, or a face of love, as he died.
Because of her experiences with executions, Prejean has become one of the
nation's top opponents of the death penalty.
She has signed on as spiritual advisor for 4 other men who have been
executed since her first encounter.
In 2004, Prejean's book entitled "Death of Innocents" was published. That
book's subtitle is "An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions."
"We're only human beings. We can make mistakes," she said in reference to
the criminal-justice system.
In her 2nd book, Prejean chronicles the cases of two executed prisoners
who she said were later found to not have committed the murders for which
they were put to death.
She said that the poor, who are executed most, do not get an adequate
defense and that evidence is sometimes questionable.
"How do we have the means to make a God-like decision," and impose the
death penalty? she asked.
While Prejean referenced cases in which the accused were subject to
abuses, she said she also has had contact with the families of murder
victims that are against the death penalty.
"The victims' families are angry. They want to strangle (the convicted)
with their own hands," she said. "But that changes."
Prejean told the story of a fellow Catholic whose son had been murdered
who thought he should forgive the murderer.
"Forgiveness is not letting love be overcome by hate," she said.
Prejean also has founded "Survive," an advocacy group for families of
She began the Moratorium Campaign, a group that works toward a moratorium
on the death penalty in America and throughout the world.
Prejean said the United States is a violent country and referenced the
country's poor treatment of Native Americans as evidence of violence.
(source: Florence Morning News)
Prosecution asks for death penalty for convicted Nut Cases gang member
An Alameda County prosecutor asked a jury today to sentence a 21-year-old
Oakland man to death for his role in four killings he committed as a
member of the "Nut Case" gang -- a decision that would make him the
youngest person on San Quentin State Prison's death row.
But a defense lawyer argued that Demarcus Ralls was the victim of a
disadvantaged childhood and should be allowed to serve a sentence of life
in prison without the possibility of parole.
The jury last week convicted Ralls, 21, of 4 murders, two attempted
murders and more than a dozen robberies and attempted robberies. The jury
also found him guilty of 2 special circumstance allegations that make him
liable for the death penalty.
Ralls is the 1st of 6 members of the Nut Cases gang -- some of whom sport
tattoos of the Planters "Mr. Peanut" character -- to be tried in
connection with a crime spree that included five killings and 23 robberies
during a 10-week period that ended with their arrests in January 2003. The
remaining defendants, including 2 of Ralls' half-brothers and a cousin,
are expected to go on trial this year.
Police believe Ralls was among the most violent members of a gang that,
according to members' statements to police, killed and robbed simply for
Today, Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Darryl Stallworth
carefully detailed the guidelines for applying the death penalty and told
jurors it was clear Ralls should be put to death.
"The ultimate crime requires the ultimate punishment -- death," Stallworth
said, projecting the same phrase on a screen before jurors. "He valued his
lifestyle above and beyond the lives of his victims."
Stallworth promised to have relatives of the victims testify about how
their lives were irrevocably changed by Ralls.
Stallworth also told the jurors about a 5th killing that Ralls has been
charged with. That killing was included in a 2004 indictment but was not
part of last month's trial because Ralls was a juvenile when it occurred.
In that case, Stallworth said, Ralls allegedly killed Joseph "Doc" Mabrey,
36, a popular youth coach, on Oct. 24, 2002.
California law prohibits the death penalty for murders committed by
juveniles, but prosecutors can cite such offenses when asking a jury to
sentence a defendant to death.
Ralls, dressed in white shirt and dark parts, stared at the witness table,
often with his hands over his head, during much of the proceedings.
His attorney, Deborah Levy, said she made no effort to excuse or justify
Ralls' role in the killings but argued that the jury did not know the real
After beginning her presentation by playing the Billy Joel song "And So It
Goes," which features the lyrics, "every time I've held a rose, it seems I
only felt the thorns," Levy said the song defined her client's life. She
described how Ralls was born to an imprisoned, drug-addicted mother and
then bounced among his parents and several foster homes, never knowing a
"Mr. Ralls was desperately seeking a place to belong," she said
She argued that Ralls looked up to his older half-brother Greg Colbert,
who ordered him to kill Mabrey. After that killing, Ralls was drawn into a
bloody crime spree by the other members of the Nut Cases, she said, many
of whom were his half-brothers and cousins. Levy said Ralls had no
criminal convictions before the Mabrey killing.
"Once you kill someone, it changes you for life," Levy said.
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
OKLAHOMA----new execution date
Court sets execution date for Grady County inmate
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals today set April 18th as the
execution date for Grady County death row inmate Richard Alford Thornburg
The 40-year-old was convicted of the 1996 murders of James Poteet, Terry
Shepard and Keith Smith, who were shot to death at Poteet's home in Alex.
Thornburg and co-defendants Glenn Anderson and Roger Embry were convicted
of killing the 3 victims and then setting the house on fire.
Anderson also was sentenced to death for the 3 murders. His appeal is
pending before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Embry received one life sentence and 2 sentences of life without parole
for his role in the murders.
(source: KTEN news)
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