[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----ARK.,MO.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jan 12 17:16:49 UTC 2007
Death penalty wanted for man accused of killing children
The grandmother of 2 children from Muldrow who were allegedly killed by
their mother's boyfriend in Fort Smith, Arkansas, wants the death penalty
for the man.
Linda McCormack says after seeing the autopsy report on 5-year-old Sydney
Barr and 2-year-old Garrett Barr she thinks execution is too good for
James Aaron Miller.
Miller is charged with 3 counts of capital murder in Fort Smith for the
deaths of the 2 children and their mother - Bridgette Barr.
The autopsy says Sydney was stabbed 6 times in the neck and Garrett was
suffocated and his body put into a hot oven. Bridgette Barr was strangled.
The children lived with their father in Muldrow and were visiting their
mother for Christmas when they were killed.
Prosecutor Gunner DeLay says he'll probably decide next week whether to
ask for the death penalty.
(source: Associated Press)
Death penalty delay gains more support
Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty is calling for the General
Assembly to enact a three-year moratorium on executions in the state and
to create a commission to examine the death-penalty system.
Nearly 300 groups in the state, including the four Catholic dioceses and
numerous parishes, have endorsed a moratorium. On Good Friday the Missouri
bishops issued a pastoral letter opposing executions, stating that more
violence "is not a solution to society's problems."
A bill was introduced in the last session of the Missouri legislature
calling for a moratorium and study commission, but the measure did not
advance to a vote.
Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty is a group with several Catholics
on its board, including Rita Linhardt of the Missouri Catholic Conference.
Barbara Poe, board chairperson, wrote that in 2006 there were no
executions in Missouri.
In June, U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. held that Missouris
lethal injection system is unconstitutional and stopped the state from
doing further executions. The decision is being appealed. Medical groups
have spoken out as well, calling it contrary to the ethics of the
profession for medical personnel to assist in an execution.
Poe noted that 3 men sentenced to death have had their sentences changed.
She said the death penalty is applied in a racially discriminatory way, it
traumatizes friends and family of the murder victims and wastes taxpayers'
A lobby day to talk to legislators about supporting a moratorium and
commission will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20.
Poe stated that her organization looks forward "to a time when Missouris
criminal justice system is just and fair and protects us from crime
without engaging in the very violence it seeks to prevent."
The Missouri bishops have urged Catholics to contact their elected
officials to advocate for a halt in executions.
The bishops' letter summarized Church teaching and discussed the Catholic
Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, started by the U.S. bishops.
It also pointed to the late Pope John Paul II's call to be unconditionally
pro life and affirmed a commitment to support victims and their families.
A sentence of death offers the illusion of closure and vindication, the
bishops stated, "but no act, even an execution, can bring back a loved one
or heal terrible wounds. The pain and loss of one death cannot be wiped
away by another death."
A report issued by the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission that
included two prosecutors, a police chief, the state attorney general,
representatives of victims organizations and legal experts has recommended
that New Jersey repeal its death penalty statute.
The commission found flaws in a wide variety of areas including the risks
of executing an innocent person; geographic disparities and uneven
application; the negative impact on victims' families and the high costs
of the death penalty, as compared with sentencing to life without parole.
The commission recommended that New Jersey replace the death penalty with
life without parole and that any cost saving be used for benefits and
services for survivors of victims of homicide.
Deacon Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic
Conference, said the Missouri General Assembly should carefully consider
the recommendations of the New Jersey report.
"The New Jersey report gives a scathing indictment of the death penalty
system and uncovered gross flaws and problems that are common to other
states as well," noted Deacon Weber. "New Jersey's system is just like
Missouri and other states in that it is run by fallible human beings who
sometimes make mistakes even under the best of circumstances."
(source: St. Louis Review)
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