[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, N.Y., OHIO, ILL.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jan 16 01:23:59 UTC 2007
Texas will consider death penalty for repeat sexual predators
Texas lawmakers are talking tough about cracking down on sexual predators
who prey on children. Some propose the death penalty for repeat offenders,
potentially creating hundreds more death row inmates in a state that
already executes more than any other.
Other ideas include mandatory long sentences for 1st-time offenders or
But opposition is flaring from unexpected sources: prosecutors and victim
They fear some of the proposals would make it harder to get convictions
and, perhaps, put children in even more danger by giving molesters
incentive to kill the only potential witness to their crimes.
And there's the question of whether the death penalty in sex offenses is
"We support the intent," said Torie Camp of the Texas Association Against
Sexual Assault. "We're concerned about the unintended consequences."
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican who won a 2nd 4-year term, has led
the charge for tougher penalties for child molesters, calling for a
25-year minimum sentence after the 1st conviction when a victim is less
than 14 and the death penalty option for repeat offenders.
"The idea is to prevent these kinds of crimes," said Dewhurst spokesman
Rich Parsons. "It sends a clear signal and maybe these monsters will think
twice before committing a crime."
Gov. Rick Perry, also a Republican, said Texas is a "tough on crime" state
and he's open to tougher penalties, including the death penalty.
A recent case in West Texas will likely fan the debate.
Dwayne Dale Billings, 21, a registered sex offender, was charged with
aggravated sexual assault of a 9-year-old autistic girl who went missing
in Odessa earlier this month. She was found alive in his home.
Dozens of sex offender bills have already been filed for the 140-day
legislative session that began Jan. 9.
Proponents want Texas to join states cracking down with tough "Jessica's
Laws", named after a girl who was abducted and killed in Florida, and
become one of a handful that could put some repeat offenders to death.
Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee,
said Texas is already tough on sex offenders.
Most already serve their entire sentence without parole and are subject to
civil commitment if experts deem them dangerous upon release.
"We are tough (on sex offenders.) Tougher than hell. We lead the nation in
tough." Whitmire said. "But you've got to be careful."
Crime victim advocates worry the death penalty may lead to more murder
victims. Child sex cases often have no witness other than the victim.
"If the punishment for raping a child and raping and killing are exactly
the same," Camp said, "the rapist may kill so that witness is no longer
In family cases, a child molested by a parent or grandparent may be
pressured not to testify if the perpetrator faces a long prison sentence
or the death penalty, Camp said.
The death penalty raises a key constitutional issue.
In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a death sentence for a Georgia
man convicted of raping a woman, calling it an "excessive penalty for the
rapist, who as such, does not take human life."
Even so, Florida, Montana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have
already passed new death penalty laws for sex offenses against children,
said Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Resource Center in
"It is a trend. It's a strong, symbolic gesture" Dieter said. "But I don't
see it being used very much."
No one has been executed under the laws, but one Louisiana inmate is on
death row for the rape of an 8-year-old girl. That case is still being
reviewed by state and federal appeals courts, Dieter said.
Dieter and legal experts say it is unclear whether the Supreme Court would
make a distinction between an adult or child victim when considering the
death penalty in a sex case.
Parsons said Dewhurst's office believes a state law could be tailored
specifically to deal with child victims and survive court challenges.
Many prosecutors are wary of tinkering with the state's death penalty
"Change can bring unintended consequences which may not look like anything
until some smart lawyer picks up on it," said Shannon Edmonds, spokesman
for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.
"Change a comma and it's going to be the basis for an appeal," Edmonds
said. "All it takes is one little problem to grind the whole system to a
Whitmire said if the death penalty proposals being considered today were
already in the law, 2,900 current prison inmates could be facing the death
sentence. Texas already has nearly 400 inmates on death row.
"We'd have to build a lot of execution chambers," Whitmire said.
Prosecutors and victims groups instead want lawmakers to expand limits on
witness testimony in sex cases and make it easier to prosecute ongoing
The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault also wants to lengthen the
statute of limitations, which currently requires an indictment before the
victim's 28th birthday, Camp said.
Even a proposed 2,000-foot safe zone to keep convicted offenders from
living close to schools, parks and other public areas is running into
Critics note that other states are having second thoughts after passing
In Iowa, prosecutors issued a 6-page statement last month saying that
state's buffer zone has created several problems.
It prevents some mentally disabled offenders from living with family who
may watch over them. Others are failing to register with authorities or
moving to rural areas where there are fewer police officers.
Sen. Bob Deuell, a Republican from Greenville, has filed a bill requiring
a long minimum sentence and the death penalty option in repeat cases.
"I think it should be an option," Deuell said. "I want it to be
preventative. (But) I also have an open mind to listen."
Whitmire said his committee will conduct lengthy hearings, but he is
likely to lean toward the judgment of prosecutors and victims' groups.
"At the end of the day, I think they have tremendous say and influence,"
Whitmire said. The (prosecutors) have to take what we pass and apply it in
court and crime victims have to know we have their interests at stake."
(source: Associated Press)
New trial will seek death for girl's killer
An El Pasoan who had his death sentence vacated last year by an appellate
court could still face execution.
District Attorney Jaime Esparza said he will once again seek the death
penalty for David Renteria, who in 2003 was convicted by a state district
court jury of capital murder in the 2001 slaying of 5-year-old Alexandra
The same jury gave him the death penalty.
But his death sentence was overturned last year by the Court of Criminal
Appeals of Texas.
The court upheld Renteria's capital murder conviction, but said he is
entitled to a new sentencing hearing because prosecutors introduced
testimony from an expert who left the jury with a false impression that
Renteria did not express remorse for the slaying, according to court
Esparza, who was the lead prosecutor in Renteria's trial, has asked the
appellate court to reconsider its ruling.
His request was denied, so Renteria will get a new sentencing trial.
The punishment for a capital murder conviction is life imprisonment or
"I will seek the death penalty again for the very same reasons I sought
the death penalty in the first trial. I think it's appropriate," Esparza
Assistant Public Defender Scott Segall, Renteria's lawyer, said he is not
surprised Esparza is pursuing the death penalty.
He said Renteria is still on death row. While he waits to be transferred,
there he is among inmates participating in hunger strikes to protest
"untolerable conditions." Segall said Renteria did not elaborate on the
Segall said Renteria is expected to be brought back to El Paso. A date for
his new sentencing trial has not been set.
It remains unknown if Segall will seek a change of venue.
Segall said he'd rather have a local jury determine the punishment for
Renteria, but he's not certain yet if they can find an impartial jury due
to the widespread publicity the case has received. He plans to make a
decision on the change of venue at a later date.
Alexandra's death gripped the community after the pre-kindergarten student
was abducted from Wal-Mart at 9441 Alameda Avenue on Nov. 18, 2001, while
her family was Christmas shopping. Her naked and partly burned body was
found the next day in a carport near Downtown. An autopsy revealed she
died from strangulation.
(source: El Paso Times)
HINCHEY ADAMANT ON LIFE-OR-DEATH ISSUE
The rules of mid-Hudson politics say you have to kiss babies and call for
the death penalty.
Just a fact of life in these parts. Between the thousands of correction
officers and the traditionally conservative outlook of the region, most
local politicians wouldn't be caught dead coming out against capital
Ask state Sen. E. Arthur Gray. In his challenge against Dick Schermerhorn,
he was coming before voters who were looking for an excuse to ditch the
But first, people had to make sure the Democrat Gray wasn't a far-out
liberal. A veterans group asked him about the death penalty. Gray had been
on record during the campaign as opposing it.
He could feel the room and the election turning against him.
Wait a minute, said Gray, on second thought, he was for the death penalty.
Yes, that's the ticket. Hang 'em high.
Gray breezed to victory.
In fact, every single mid-Hudson state legislator, Democrat and
Republican, is part of the growing movement to bring the death penalty
back to New York.
Everyone except Maurice Hinchey from Ulster County.
"I'm against it,'' he says. "I feel very comfortable with my position. The
death penalty doesn't work.''
He cites studies that he says claim that capital punishment is no
deterrent. It hasn't worked in places like Florida and Texas. In fact, he
says, homicide rates often rise following highly publicized executions. He
suggests life without parole.
Yeah, but hold on, Hinchey. Do you know how much it costs the taxpayers to
keep a guy in jail for life?
"By the time the legal arguments and appeals are over, it costs more to
kill a person than keep him in jail. Anyway, that's a callous argument.
It's simply wrong to take a human life. I was educated as a child by the
Sisters of Charity. They had a strong sense of morality."
A real bleeding heart, eh?
"No, I don't shrink from violence. I was raised in the streets of New
York. As a kid, I probably fought every day of my life. I know what it is
to respond emotionally.''
So, listen, Hinchey, how would you feel if someone you loved was murdered?
"If I were at the scene of a crime where someone was killed, my reaction
would be to go after them. I know myself. My reaction would be aggressive,
maybe even to kill them.''
So why are you against the death penalty?
"You can't base a rational society on the basis of emotions. Violence
breeds violence. If that statement weren't true, people wouldn't be saying
it after thousands of years.''
This is not good politics. Maurice Hinchey is a Democrat assemblyman in a
predominantly Republican district. He estimates that more than 85 % of his
district is for the death penalty. Each election, his opponents hammer
away at his opposition to it.
Hinchey is fairly popular, but someday a well-heeled challenger with deep
pockets and a fresh murder to inflame our anger may beat him.
We've had it. Frustrated over the losing drug war and the brutal murders
of children, the call for a return to the death penalty in New York is
reaching a fevered pitch.
This week, the state Senate voted once again in favor of the death
penalty. The Assembly will do the same in a couple of weeks. The governor
will veto it.
But this time, there may even be enough votes to override the governor's
Nowadays, it is the litmus test on the crime issue. If you're against the
death penalty, especially if you're a Democrat, you're considered soft on
crime. Case closed.
So be it, says Maurice Hinchey. "I can't vote for it,'' he says. "I'm
prepared to accept the consequences.''
Some people, including myself, have accused Maurice Hinchey of
headline-hunting and grandstanding on popular issues.
But in standing up for an unpopular issue like opposition to the death
penalty, he is not only politically courageous. He is probably right.
(source: Times Herald-Record)
Several death penalty cases dominate trials at a federal courthouse in New
At one point last week, a cop killer, a notorious druglord and a defendant
portrayed by prosecutors as a 1-man crime wave were fighting for their
lives in the same federal courthouse in Brooklyn in an unusual confluence
of three death penalty trials under one roof.
A fourth capital trial involving a triple-murder defendant has opened in
Manhattan federal court as well.
"It's totally unprecedented to have 2, let alone 4 cases going on at one
time in one city," said Kevin McNally, a death penalty expert.
Death penalty opponents have complained that starting with President
George W. Bush's first attorney general, John Ashcroft, officials in
Washington began rubber-stamping the pursuit of the death penalty in
federal cases, particularly in U.S.. states with no capital punishment
laws of their own. In New York, the state's highest court declared the
state death penalty statute unconstitutional in 2004.
While the volume of state death penalty cases around the United States has
decreased in recent years, federal cases have multiplied, said Richard
Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
One result: There are now 46 inmates on the federal death row more than
double the total in 2000; three, including Timothy McVeigh, have been put
to death since 2001.
One of the three men on trial in Brooklyn, Martin "Sassy" Aguilar who
prosecutors say robbed drug dealers, shot at couples parked in cars for
kicks and once killed a man by stabbing him with a screwdriver was spared
Friday when a jury could not reach the required unanimous verdict on
whether he should be executed. That means Aguilar, 33, will automatically
get life in prison without parole.
But the list of death penalty cases in Brooklyn is far from done: 2 more
capital trials are scheduled to begin in the spring.
Previously, only three capital cases had been tried in Brooklyn since
1994, when Congress dramatically broadened the federal death penalty
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf declined through a spokesman to
discuss the cluster of cases. Justice Department spokesman Erik Ablin said
only that the department has a vigorous, closed-door review process
designed to apply the federal death penalty "fairly across the country."
The other capital-case defendants in New York could take some solace in
the fact that New York juries are reluctant to impose death. The last time
a federal death sentence was imposed in the city was for a bank robber who
killed an FBI agent in 1954. New York state has not executed anyone since
Defense attorneys in New York say a blatant example of the federal
government's hunger for a death sentence was seen last March, when
prosecutors announced they were pursuing capital cases against 5
defendants including a mother accused of being a lookout in a murder in
the case against a notorious crack kingpin, Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff.
Less than 2 weeks later, the prosecutors reversed themselves without
explanation, saying McGriff alone would face death.
McGriff's lawyer, David Ruhnke, called the maneuvering "simply absurd."
Today, McGriff sits in a courtroom on the 10th floor of the Brooklyn
courthouse, accused of paying $50,000 to have two rivals gunned down in
2001 in an alleged encore to his criminal career.
McGriff, 46, emerged from prison in the 1990s and sought to turn his life
around by producing music and movies with the help of Irv "Gotti" Lorenzo,
a neighborhood friend who headed the successful Murder Inc. record label,
his lawyer said. But prosecutors allege the defendant laundered more than
$1 million (770,000) in drug money through the label.
If a jury convicts McGriff of murder conspiracy and other charges, the
panel will be asked to decide whether he should be executed.
Another jury will begin the penalty phase this week in the trial of Ronell
Wilson, 23, convicted last month in the execution-style slaying of 2
police officers during an undercover weapons buy.
A third jury convicted Aguilar, a drug-dealing member of the Latin Kings
street gang, last month of shooting a man in the head to pay off a debt to
a cocaine supplier. A gravedigger testified that he helped the defendant
dump the body down a cemetery storm drain "We heard a splash" where it
was found rotting a year later.
Aguilar also stabbed a fellow inmate before going to court for jury
selection, said prosecutor Todd Harrison. "He's committed virtually every
kind of crime known to our society," Harrison said.
Aguilar's lawyers sought to persuade jurors to spare his life with
testimony from his mother about his rough upbringing. His mother testified
that his father slaughtered his pet rabbit to discourage him from becoming
a veterinarian and complained that his "Sassy" nickname was "too girly."
The defendant "has a kernel of good in him and if his life is spared, that
kernel will grow," defense attorney Lou Freeman told the jury.
The anonymous jurors deliberated for 6 hours before voting 10-2 against
"As for taking a life, we don't have that right," a woman on the jury said
afterward. "God put us here and God should take us."
(source: Associated Press)
Death penalty opponents protest at state prison----Protesters promoted the
cause of prisoners charged in the Lucasville riot.
About 50 opponents of the death penalty gathered outside the Ohio State
Penitentiary to send a message.
"We have a new governor," said Susan Schnur, 49, of Cleveland. "We're
hoping this is a starting point. We want Governor Strickland to see us."
The protest Sunday was organized by activists in Cleveland but also
included Youngstown-area residents. The protesters were allowed to gather,
chant and display signs on the side of a driveway leading into the
Coitsville-Hubbard Road prison, which is home to Ohio's death row inmates.
They staged the protest on the Martin Luther King Day weekend because of
King's involvement in social justice.
Besides their general opposition to the death penalty, the protesters also
were trying to raise public attention of "the Lucasville 5."
The 5 men were found guilty of additional charges after the 1993 riot at a
state prison in Lucasville. Atty. Staughton Lynd of Niles recently wrote
the book "Lucasville The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising" that claims
the men were unfairly charged and had nothing to do with the death of
Sharon Danann, 56, of Cleveland received a call from one of those
Lucasville prisoners a few months ago and gathered her activist friends to
form the Lucasville 5 Defense Committee. They are pushing for pardons for
all men charged in the riot because they say the investigation was not
Danann and others are part of groups in Cleveland that fight for social
Danann said the turnout for the protest exceeded her expectations.
Reasons for opposition
Carl Miller, 19, of Berea said he joined because he thinks capital
punishment is a "tool of the rich."
A common theme among the protesters was "You never see a rich man
Olivia Flak, 34, of Youngstown said she is against the death penalty
because society isn't working hard enough to help people escape poverty.
"Someone may commit a crime, but they don't know any other way of life.
That's why I'm against capital punishment," she said.
Rain pelted the protesters, who started in a parking lot of a church
adjacent to the prison but then moved to the waterlogged grass that ran
along the prison driveway. Their spirits were high, however.
Olivia Flak's mother, Chris Flak, 52, of Youngstown huddled under an
umbrella and summed it up for everyone who came out.
"On a rainy day like this you have to have it in your heart," she said.
(source: The Vindicator)
Ohio's death penalty subject to review
Is the death penalty moral?
Ted Strickland, Ohio's new governor, admits he has trouble answering that
"My argument is society has a right to make this decision and at least at
this point it seems that Ohioans embrace that desire and belief," said
Strickland, a former prison psychologist who at times counseled death row
inmates. But, he added: "I have some concerns about its effect on society
as a whole. I have some concerns about its effect on those who are
actually charged with carrying out the execution. This is not a simple
Strickland admits he grappled with the death penalty issue before deciding
to run for governor, saying he had to "come to terms" with whether he
would be willing to carry out the law. "It was not an easy decision to
reach," he said.
With 3 executions scheduled in the next 6 weeks, Strickland's stance on
the death penalty could, at the very least, determine the pace of
executions in Ohio. The governor has the power to delay any execution, and
Strickland says he may need more time to review the lengthy files of
Ohio's death penalty may be under more scrutiny. Newly elected Attorney
General Marc Dann, like Strickland a Democrat, is advocating a study of
the death penalty and how it is applied in Ohio. "There is a pretty wide
disparity with how the death penalty is administered in the state and I
think we need to take a look at whether we're doing it the best possible
way or whether there are better ways. Or whether we should do it at all,"
Meanwhile, a handful of Ohio death row inmates filed suit in federal court
challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection, Ohio's method of
execution. They include Kenneth Biros, who was scheduled to die Jan. 23
but received a federal stay of execution.
Strickland admits that there could be innocent prisoners on Ohio's death
"That's why I think it's incumbent upon me or any other governor to
exercise extreme care in this matter," Strickland said. "As you know,
there have been documented cases, I think at this point even scores,
certainly numerous people released after extended periods of stay on death
row as a result of new information, primarily related to DNA testing. No
system is totally perfect in its application."
Ex-prisons boss 'not opposed' to ending death penalty
Former Department of Corrections Director Reggie Wilkinson worked in
Ohio's prisons for almost 33 years, including a stint as warden of the
Dayton Correctional Institute.
He witnessed 19 executions and successfully advocated for the retirement
of the state's electric chair as a method of execution.
Now Wilkinson would like to see executions done away with entirely.
"I would not oppose the abolition of the death penalty statute," he said.
"The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world with the
death penalty on the books in 38 states."
Wilkinson, who served 15 years as department director under two governors,
kept quiet his opinion on the death penalty for decades and has no plans
to crusade against executions in Ohio. But he said the punishment does not
deter murders and it doesn't save money, given the costly supervision on
Death Row and lengthy court appeals.
Former state senator, Richard Finan, a Cincinnati area Republican who
authored Ohio's death penalty statute, remains an ardent supporter.
"I believe, if it's applied within a reasonable amount of time from when
the crime occurred, it's a deterrent. You can't have a deterrent after 20
years but after 5 or 6 years, you could have a deterrent situation. And
secondly, it's a situation where the punishment fits the crime. There's
not a lot of instances where the death penalty is applied. It's very
conservatively applied where there is the intent to murder and so forth
and so on. So I think it's an appropriate penalty for the crime."
He added that executions bring closure for the victims' families.
"It's interesting that people are against the death penalty until the
crime is committed against someone in their families. Then they're all for
it," Finan said.
Executions resumed in Ohio in 1999, when Wilford Berry of Cuyahoga County
was put to death. Since then, 23 other death row inmates have been
executed, including 5 last year. 3 more are scheduled in the next 6 weeks,
although new Gov. Ted Strickland has said he may need more time to review
Ohio has a law that allows murderers to be sentenced to life without
parole, which Wilkinson said he views as "an eye for an eye" punishment
that removes the killer from society.
Although he is out of government now, Wilkinson chooses his words
carefully. When asked if the death penalty is morally right, he said,
"It's not so much related to morality as it is related to the
administration of justice. To quote an over-used saying, 'Why should you
kill people who kill people to show that killing is wrong?'"
Finan does not support Attorney General Marc Dann's call for a study on
the death penalty.
"We've studied it up one side and down the other and I don't see any need
for a study," Finan said. "Look, somebody clambered for years to get rid
of the electric chair so we got rid of that. I was opposed to that. So
they then went to lethal injections. Now they're saying that is
unconstitutional. It's always something."
Executions in Ohio resumed in February 1999
Executions in Ohio resumed in February 1999, when Wilford Berry was put to
death. Since that time, the state has executed 23 other death row inmates,
the most recent Jeffrey Lundgren on Oct. 24.
Glenn Benner, Feb. 7. (Summit/Portage counties)
Joseph Clark, May 2. (Lucas County)
Rocky Barton, July 12. (Warren County)
Darrell Ferguson, Aug. 8. (Montgomery County)
Jeffrey Lundgren, Oct. 24. (Lake County)
Death Row facts:
Death Row inmates nationwide set free with evidence of innocence since
Public Opinion: 68 % in favor in 2005, 74 percent in favor in 1999
Death penalty history in Ohio:
1803-1885: Executions were carried out as public hangings in the county
where the crime was committed.
1885: Executions moved to the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus.
1897: Electric chair replaced the gallows.
1897-1963: 315 executions carried out by electrocution.
1972: U.S. Supreme Court declares the death penalty unconstitutional.
1974: Ohio revises its death penalty law, which the courts reject again in
1981: Ohio's current death penalty law is adopted.
1999: Executions resume in Ohio.
2002: Electrocution method is outlawed and 'Old Sparky' is donated to the
Ohio Historical Society.
[sources: Death Penalty Information Center, Pew Research Center]
(source for all: Dayton Daily News)
Prisoners, supporters build protest against death row
On a sleepy country road in northeast Ohio looms a prison of monstrous
proportions, the Ohio State Penitentiary. Most of Ohio's 193 death row
prisoners are held there.
Black inmates make up 52 % of the population of OSP while Black people are
less than 12 % of the population of Ohio.
To honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 3 grassroots groups
are planning a rally at the gates of OSP on Jan. 14 to overlap with the
end of visiting hours there. The groups are the Cleveland Lucasville 5
Defense Committee, Youngstown Prison Forum and LOOP (Loved Ones Of
Prisoners), also based in Youngstown.
Although the prison area is rural, it is part of the city of Youngstown, a
former giant in the steel industry. There was a time when Youngstown had
the highest rate of home ownership of any city in the country, due to
union steelworker jobs. With the steel mills gone, many of these workers
have ended up working in the state and for-profit prisons, the new growth
industry in Youngstown.
To bring people out to the rally, the prisoners initiated a prisoner chain
letter. Multiple copies of a letter addressed both to prisoners and their
families and friends and pre-stamped envelopes were sent out to many
prisoners who in turn forwarded the letters.
Many people e-mailed and called the Cleveland group to reserve seats in
vans to Youngstown and offered to help in other ways. Prisoners wrote to
express their commitment to the network.
A huge mailing about the event went out to the Islamic centers in
northeast Ohio and the church directory of Cleveland's African-American
newspaper, Call and Post. E-mails have been distributed through death
penalty opposition and prisoner solidarity list serves, as well as the
national list serve of the International Action Center.
A member of the Cleveland Lucasville 5 Defense Committee called in to
Reverend Al Sharpton's national radio show to announce the action at OSP.
She also filled listeners in on the cases of the Lucasville Five,
prisoners who received death sentences following the heroic rebellion in
the Lucasville prison in 1993.
4 of these men are in OSP's permanent solitary confinement, as are other
prisoners who were part of the uprising but did not receive death
sentences. Recent evidence shows that 4 of the Lucasville 5 were sent to
death row by a "witness" who was lying at their trials to benefit himself.
The members of the Lucasville 5 Defense Committee have also been
distributing flyers in hair salons, barber shops and community centers. At
a recent meeting of a community group called Black on Black Crime, five
people signed up for the vans to Youngstown. People spoke of relatives or
friends of theirs who are incarcerated in OSP.
The Youngstown organizations will be leafleting and speaking at events
celebrating Dr. King on Jan. 12, 13 and the morning of Jan. 14. The
Cleveland group is planning a press conference for Jan. 11. Speakers will
include political and religious leaders as well as Staughton Lynd,
attorney and historian, whose book, "Lucasville: the Untold Story of a
Prison Uprising," is the definitive book on the subject. Questions will be
raised about the constitutionality of lethal injection, an issue that
Ohios incoming governor, Ted Strickland, will have to address.
Organizations around Ohio plan to keep up the heat through events and
campaigns of various kinds. The movement will not stop until there is a
complete pardon of all Lucasville-related charges and a permanent halt to
executions in Ohio and the U.S.
(source: Workers World)
Prosecutor: No death penalty to be sought in businessman's slaying
Jefferson County prosecutors say they won't seek the death penalty against
3 people accused of slaying an affluent Mount Vernon real-estate developer
Assistant prosecutor Jeff Bradley made the announcement in court last
Demetrius Cole is accused of actually firing the shots that killed Randy
Farrar last July in Farrar's secluded Jefferson County home.
2 other suspects -- Krista Donoho and Christopher Watkins -- both are
charged as accomplices.
Bradley says the law does not allow the death penalty to be sought against
those charged as accomplices.
Cole is to go on trial on February 13th.
No trial date has been set for Donoho or Watkins.
All 3 still are in custody on 5 (m) million dollars bond.
(source: Associated Press)
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