[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----USA, ALA., GA., S. DAK.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jul 13 19:12:11 CDT 2007
Reports, polls, court ruling point to thorny death penalty questions
2 high-profile executions scheduled for July and one capital sentence
blocked by the Supreme Court in June provide examples of the range of
issues surrounding the death penalty in the United States.
Combined with data from recent studies that show increasing public doubts
about capital punishment and pointing to persistent racial disparities in
how the federal death penalty is applied, and topped off with analyses of
several states' uses of it, all of these pieces reflect a conflicted
populace and a sometimes messy judicial system.
South Dakota carried out its first execution in nearly 60 years July 11,
using lethal injection to kill Elijah Page, 25. Page confessed to helping
torture and murder Chester Allen Poage in 2000 to cover up a robbery.
Although Page's defense attorneys pointed to a childhood of brutal abuse
as an extenuating circumstance worth a reduction of his sentence to life
imprisonment, he had given up on his appeals. Observers noted the case
puts the state in the odd position of getting back into the business of
executions just as other states are backing away from it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper July 1 reported that 50 death
sentences have been overturned in Pennsylvania in the last 7 years. The
only 3 state executions since 1962 have been of people who gave up their
appeals, leading one district attorney to say that for all practical
purposes "there is no death penalty in Pennsylvania."
In Tennessee, a June report on capital cases where the defendant is
indigent found prosecutors had at least twice the financial resources that
were available to the defense.
"When even the most capable and hard-working attorneys lack adequate
resources to do their job, there is an increased risk that innocent people
will be incarcerated, guilty people may never be prosecuted, and other
defendants will receive unfairly excessive sentences," said Bill Redick,
director of the Tennessee Justice Project, according to the Death Penalty
Even in states where executions are common, such as Georgia, which
executes an average of 3 or 4 people a year, questions are being raised.
Local, national and international figures have tried to intervene to stop
the execution of Troy Davis, scheduled for July 17, citing serious doubts
about whether he's guilty.
7 of 9 key witnesses against him have changed their statements or recanted
their testimony, which they said was coerced by police. Several people
have implicated another man, who reportedly bragged about killing off-duty
police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989.
Davis has consistently maintained he is innocent of killing the Savannah,
Ga., policeman who broke up a fight at a Burger King where he moonlighted
as a security guard. No physical evidence linked Davis to the crime.
However, the1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act limits
Davis' appeals because new information was not brought out using the right
Former FBI Director William Sessions, now a federal judge who supports the
death penalty, argued for clemency in an Op-Ed column in the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution newspaper. "It would be intolerable to execute an
innocent man. It would be equally intolerable to execute a man without his
claims of innocence ever being considered by the courts or by the
In North Carolina, a report by the Charlotte School of Law found problems
with the way the system there treats defendants with mental illness,
either because they are allowed to represent themselves at trial or
because juries apparently treat mental illness as an aggravating factor in
murder trials rather than as a mitigating factor as provided by state law.
The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the mental illness question on the
last day of the term, sending a case back to a Texas court to reconsider
Scott Panetti's death sentence using a broader standard for whether he is
mentally incompetent. Previous Supreme Court rulings said a person must be
competent enough to understand the connection between his execution and
Those not-so-simple issues may explain the recent findings of a nationwide
opinion poll conducted for the Death Penalty Information Center.
62 % in the poll of 1,000 adults said they support the death penalty in a
straight yes-or-no question. But when given another option, only 47 %
chose the death penalty over the alternative of life in prison with no
chance of parole. 43 % said they would prefer life imprisonment for
In the early 1990s, 80 % of Americans said they support the death penalty,
the highest level in recent polls. In the mid-1990s, shortly after the
Oklahoma City federal building bombings, just 29 % of Americans favored
life imprisonment over execution.
In the latest poll, fewer than 40 % of the people questioned expressed
confidence that only guilty people are sentenced to death. 59 % said they
had only some, very little or no confidence that only guilty people
receive the death penalty.
Another nationwide report released in June by the American Civil Liberties
Union found evidence of racial disparities in how the federal death
penalty is applied and recommended a moratorium on federal capital
prosecutions and executions.
Thorny questions of race in capital cases will come to the fore in 1 case
the Supreme Court has agreed to hear for the next term.
In Snyder v. Louisiana, the prosecutor eliminated all African-Americans
from the jury pool and equated the case with the trial of former football
star O.J. Simpson. He exhorted the all-white jury not to let the defendant
"get away with it" as he said Simpson had. Simpson, who is black, was
acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, who were both white.
(source: Catholic News Service)
Life-and-death questions for Riley
The body of Diane McNaron's letter is 278 words exactly. Its brevity is a
necessity. She's pleading for a man's life.
"Dear Governor Riley: I am asking you personally to stay the execution of
Darrell Grayson, scheduled for July 26 at Holman prison. This is a pivotal
moment in Alabama history and one that is the focus of much interest
around the state and world."
In December 1980, an 86-year-old white woman named Annie Orr was brutally
raped and murdered. Grayson, who was 19 at the time and is black, was
charged with the crimes, along with Victor Kennedy.
Kennedy was executed in 1999, but according to Project Hope to Abolish the
Death Penalty, he asked Grayson for his forgiveness before dying. He
wouldn't tell Grayson why.
It's believed that Kennedy had a crisis of conscience as he faced death.
Though he never admitted it, it seems Kennedy always had known that
Grayson wasn't involved with the rape and murder of Orr. He and Grayson
were playing cards with Grayson's brother Rodney and friend Al Naugher,
according to an affidavit filed by Naugher. Grayson had gotten drunk and
high during the card game and passed out.
According to the affidavit, Grayson was still out when the crimes were
"We do not need to execute this man who has made a life and fine name for
himself during his 25 years on death row, despite having been convicted by
an all-white jury for a crime he has no memory of committing and for which
he was denied DNA testing."
Grayson is one of 12 children raised by a single mother in Montevallo. He
dropped out of school in the ninth grade. Though the odds weren't in his
favor, before his arrest and conviction in the rape and murder of Annie
Orr, Grayson had a clean record.
"This state has put itself for generations in the ethically reprehensible
position of managing its poor by summarily executing them under conditions
of great suspicion. You now have an opportunity to make a statement that
this could be changed. It was wrong a hundred years ago and it is wrong
now. Your stance as a supporter of the death penalty is not even a factor.
The significant factor is that in Alabama, one is twice as likely to get
that death penalty if one is poor and black."
According to the Web site of the nonprofit Death Penalty Information
Center, of the 232 persons who were executed between 1976 and January of
2007, 217 were black defendants who were convicted of killing white
victims. Only 15 were white defendants convicted of killing black victims.
(source: Opinion, David Person, Huntsville Times)
Coffee County Sheriff Grantham Murder Case
Coffee County Sheriff Neil Grantham was shot and killed March 1, 1979. Now
28-years later, the man convicted of the killing and sentenced to die is
Sheriff Grantham's convicted shooter Billy Joe Magwood still sits on death
row and it seems Maywood may never receive his sentence of death.
The crime rocked the small town of Elba, and Elba Clipper newspaper
publisher Ferrin Cox says Sheriff Grantham's death continues to do that.
A jury ruled in favor of the death penalty for Maywood, but that hasn't
The case has been hung up in the appeals process.
This past June, Federal Judge Myron Thompson ruled Maywoods death sentence
violated Alabama law at the time of the crime.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King says he plans to appeal this case to
the 11th Circuit U.S Court.
(source: WTVY News)
Stop the execution of Troy Davis, an innocent man
Fighting the racist death penalty
"The execution of an innocent man is not unconstitutional," said attorney
Jason Ewart, attorney for Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis.
This sad, but very real irony correctly characterizes the racist death
penalty in the United States. Facing execution on July 17, Davis may
become the next victim of the system.
Davis, a 38-year-old African American, was convicted in 1991 of killing a
police officer in Savannah, Ga. Since then, he has suffered on death row.
The guilty verdict was premised entirely on witness testimony. Nine
witnesses initially said Davis shot Mark Allen MacPhail, a white cop,
twice outside a Greyhound bus station on August 19, 1989. No weapon was
Davis has always professed his innocence. Now, 7 of the 9 original
witnesses who implicated Davis have recounted or contradicted their
testimony. Many have said that the police forced them to testify against
1 of the 2 remaining witnesses is a principal suspect. Sylvester "Red"
Coles was the 1st witness to go to police after the shooting and finger
Davis. But nine witnesses have implicated Coles as MacPhails shooter.
At Davis's trial, the prosecution vigorously pursued the death penalty
despite the mountain of evidence contradicting its case. In a posting on
his defense committees official website, Davis described the governments
mindset: "The prosecutor has always said he would accept nothing less than
"death" for me, and even when a witness came forward during trial and
admitted perjury, she was detained and threatened, and therefore the jury
never heard her true testimony until years after my conviction and she was
a key eye witness." (TroyAnthonyDavis.org)
Daviss innocence should be easy to prove or at least discuss in a court
hearing, right? Not in the deeply unequal U.S. criminal "justice" system.
In Georgia, death row inmates must overcome more legal hurdles than in
other states. Georgia, like its Deep South neighbor Alabama, does not
guarantee death row prisoners counsel for appeals.
Because Davis lacked the resources to hire a private attorney, his initial
appeals representation was insufficient. The Georgia Resource Center
handled his first state habeas corpus petition. The centers budget was
slashed in 1995 by the federal government. One of Daviss former attorneys
said, "The lack of adequate resources and the numerous intervening crises"
made effective representation impossible.
After that, courts denied Daviss appeals on purely procedural grounds,
saying that evidence of police coercion of witnesses should have been
The legal system does not want to get to the truth. It is stacked against
Davis and all working-class people, especially African Americans.
Institutional racism is part and parcel of the death penalty in the United
Advocates of "law and order" excessively cite capital punishment as a
crime deterrent. But, in essence, the death penalty is little more than
legal lynching by the state in this country.
Lynchingincluding the torture, killing and mutilation of Black peoplewas
common especially in the post-Reconstruction South following the Civil War
and right up through the mass civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s
as a method of terrorizing the population and quelling agitation for
A 2006 report sponsored by the American Bar Association cited racism in
capital sentencing as one reason to impose a moratorium on Georgia
executions. People in Georgia are 4.5 times more likely to be sentenced to
death for killing whites as those convicted of killing Black people.
Moreover, high costs and labyrinthine tunnels of legal bureaucracy make
navigating the system nearly impossible for the working class. Further
obstacles have been codified by states and the federal government in
The 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, signed by
then-president Bill Clinton has given Davis and thousands of others fewer
chances to appeal their convictions and present evidence that could prove
them innocent. The repressive law allows appeals only in very narrow
'He doesn't deserve to die'
Davis's conviction has taken an unbelievable toll on his family and
friends, although they also have fought hard against his unjust
imprisonment and built a movement to free him.
Martina Correia, Daviss sister and a long-time advocate for his freedom,
told PSLweb.org, "With Troy there, it is like our entire family has been
on death row for years. Nobody understands the hurt that we feel. The
authorities want to kill our brother out of vengeance. But people need to
take an objective look at his case.
She continued, "Troy is an amazing person. You can ask anybody questions
about him in our neighborhood and nobody will say anything negative. He's
been on death row for nearly 17 years and even the prisons can't tell you
anything negative. Troy is a good man. He doesn't deserve to die."
Georgia's state parole board will hear an appeal for clemency from Davis's
lawyers on July 16, the day before his scheduled execution.
Led by Davis's mother, activists recently delivered to the parole board
more than 4,000 letters supporting her son. Singer Harry Belafonte, South
African former anti-apartheid activist Rev. Desmond Tutu, Rep. Sheila
Jackson Lee (D-TX) and music producer Russell Simmons are among those who
favor a rehearing.
The struggle to free Davis has reached a critical moment. Activists and
all progressives should demand an immediate reprieve for Davis and,
ultimately, his unconditional freedom. His case is part of the overall
struggle against the racist death penalty. Abolishing the death penalty
would take away one of the main tools of terror used to hold down African
Americans and the working class as a whole under capitalism.
Corriera said to PSLweb.org, "Im truly optimistic about Troy's case. I've
been doing this since Troy was convicted and even before. We just want to
have the truth told and have justice for Troy."
Attorneys argue over 'new evidence' in Davis case
Prosecutors argued Thursday that protests of innocence by Troy Anthony
Davis in the murder of Mark Allen MacPhail are old news, not newly
Their response, filed before Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny
Haas Freesemann, countered defense filings Wednesday that renewed the
arguments by attorneys for Davis that a court must look at new evidence of
their client's innocence.
Freesemann is being asked to grant Davis' extraordinary motion for a new
trial and stay his execution, which is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday. An
extraordinary motion sets up a series of requirements that have to be met
to gain court action.
The request is based on what defense attorneys argue is newly discovered
evidence that would have changed the results of Davis' trial.
Davis, 38, was convicted in superior court on Aug. 28, 1991, on murder and
related charges in the slaying of Savannah police officer MacPhail during
a confrontation Aug. 19, 1989.
Davis has exhausted his appeals, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and
Paroles is scheduled to hear his plea for clemency at 9 a.m. Monday in
Chief Assistant District Attorney David Lock argued Thursday that at least
four witnesses identified Davis as the gunman and 4 others identified him
as the man who struck Larry Young in the head with a pistol.
MacPhail, working off duty in 1989 at the Greyhound Bus Terminal on
Oglethorpe Avenue, was shot to death when he rushed to Young's assistance.
In his analysis of the defense affidavits, Lock argued Davis presented his
first set of affidavits in 1995-1996 "at least six years after defendant's
trial and 4 years after ... denial of a new trial in 1992."
A 2nd set of affidavits was offered for Davis in 2001-2003.
"The final set of affidavits were obtained only recently, in light of the
pending imposition of defendant's death sentence," Lock said.
Davis, he argued, "has offered no justification for waiting until 2007 to
file his latest affidavits and statements.
"The totality of the circumstances clearly demonstrate ... the filing of
this extraordinary motion is a last-minute effort to delay the imposition
of his sentence," Lock said. "The extraordinary motion for new trial
should be summarily dismissed and the stay of execution denied."
Davis: New evidence overlooked
The local intervention attempt, which began Monday, resumed Wednesday when
his lawyers argued Davis has "diligently pursued and tirelessly insisted
on his innocence."
"He also has presented new evidence that implicated (Sylvester) Red Coles
and questions the integrity of the police investigation," attorney Thomas
Dunn of the Georgia Resource Center for death penalty representation
argued in his filing.
Central to the Davis defense has been the defendant's insistence that
Coles shot MacPhail.
Attorneys for Davis made that a focus of their trial defense. Coles was
never charged, and he implicated Davis as the shooter.
The new filings charge that Coles' reputation scared off witnesses who
could have helped Davis at trial and afterward.
"In 10 affidavits submitted to this court, witnesses complain that they
were intimidated by either police or Red Coles," Dunn argued.
One witness, Tonya Johnson, stated in a 1996 affidavit that Coles had a
gun that night, but court documents allege she did not testify because she
was afraid of Coles.
"It is disingenuous of the government to assert that these witnesses have
merely changed their minds about the events that transpired," Dunn
asserted. "The affidavits presented regarding the hostile and violent
tendencies of Red Coles very closely portray the veritable helplessness of
these witnesses to be fully candid before the court at the time of trial."
Family and friends of Troy Anthony Davis plan to have a vigil for Davis at
6 p.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1707 Bull St.
Where the case has gone
Since his conviction on Aug. 28, 1991, appeals by Troy Anthony Davis have
been rejected. They include:
March 16, 1992: Motion for new trial denied in Chatham County Superior
Feb. 26, 1993: Conviction and sentence affirmed by Georgia Supreme Court.
Dec. 16, 1996: Affidavits as part of state petition filed in Butts County
Sept. 5, 1997: Butts County judge denied Davis' claim.
2001: Petition filed in U.S. District Court at Savannah.
March 10, 2003: U.S. District Senior Judge John Nangle denied evidentiary
May 13, 2004: Nangle denied Davis' petition.
Sept. 26, 2006: U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Nangle's
June 25, 2007: U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
[source: Documents filed in Chatham County Superior Court.]
(source: Savannah Now)
Death Penalty Sends Message
Wednesday night's execution of Elijah Page sent a loud and clear message,
according to Attorney General Larry Long. He says when South Dakota is
faced with the obligation of performing an execution, it can do it by the
While there are stories of botched executions in some states, it only took
South Dakota 9 minutes to execute Elijah Page for his part in the brutal
killing of Chester Allan Poage.
Because this was the state's first execution using lethal injection,
Attorney General Larry Long says there was a collective sigh of relief
when it was over.
"You don't know what you don't know, until we had been through this at
least once, we simply didn't know what might come up that might be
problematic or difficult or surprising or unexpected," Long said.
Long credits the Department of Corrections and the state for doing
extensive research in lethal injections. He says they did walks throughs,
dry runs and even traveled to Texas to watch an execution carried out in
So now that South Dakota has successfully carried out its own execution,
will it act as a deterrent to other would be killers?
"You can debate deterrence, there are lots of opinions on both sides, but
one thing you can't dispute Elijah Page is now deterred from ever doing
this again," Long said.
As for the other 3 inmates currently on death row, including Briley Piper,
who helped Page kill Poage, Long says they got their own message.
"They know instinctively that Elijah was taken out of his cell and they
know he never came back," said Long.
Minnehaha County state's attorney Dave Nelson says he's not sure last
night's execution will act as a deterrent to the general public. But says
an inmate currently in prison, who might have thoughts of killing another
inmate or guard, may now think twice about it.
(source: KELOLAND TV News)
Execution in South Dakota, Delayed a Year by Debate on Method, Is First in
By carrying out its 1st execution in 60 years this week, South Dakota
brought an end at least for now to arguments about its lethal injection
procedure, a debate that had delayed the execution by nearly a year.
The man put to death, Elijah Page, was pronounced dead shortly after 10
p.m. Wednesday after receiving a lethal injection at the South Dakota
State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. Mr. Page, 25, who was convicted in a
beating, stabbing and torture death, had given up his appeals. When asked
whether he wanted to say anything before the lethal drugs were given, Mr.
Page said no, witnesses to the execution said.
South Dakota's most recent law allowing death sentences was enacted in
1979, after the United States Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment
in 1976. But the state, with a small population and a relatively low crime
rate, had not executed anyone since then. 4 other states New York, New
Jersey, Kansas and New Hampshire have laws allowing executions but have
not carried any out since the 1976 decision. New Yorks death penalty
statute has not been in effect since 2004, when the states highest court
found part of it unconstitutional.
Last August, Gov. Michael Rounds postponed Mr. Page's execution just hours
before it was scheduled to occur. At the time, Mr. Rounds, a Republican,
said he was concerned about a potential conflict between the law's
description of how a lethal injection should be carried out and the
state's procedure. The law, from 1984, outlined the use of only 2 drugs,
although most states now use 3 drugs in executions.
In the months since, the Legislature changed the law to allow prison
officials wider discretion. 3 drugs were used in the execution Wednesday,
prison officials said.
Elsewhere, various elements of the lethal injection procedure are being
challenged. In several states, courts have delayed executions to examine
how much pain they cause, how much anesthesia should be used or how a
condemned persons degree of consciousness should be gauged.
Although Mr. Page made no effort to block his execution, South Dakotas new
protocol for execution may yet face challenges, said Richard C. Dieter,
the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a research
organization that opposes capital punishment. "These regulations they have
written are fairly new," Mr. Dieter said. "They were not well vetted."
The electric chair was used in the last execution in South Dakota, on
April 8, 1947, when George Sitts was put to death for killing 2 law
Mr. Page was convicted, along with 2 others, of killing Chester Poage
after trying to steal from his home in Spearfish on the state's western
edge in March 2000. Mr. Poage, 19, begged for his life as his attackers
made him take off his clothes and climb into a freezing creek, court
records showed. He was stabbed, kicked in the head and hit with rocks. His
ears were torn off.
On Wednesday, his mother, Dottie Poage, witnessed the execution.
Afterward, she told reporters that Mr. Page had received the "ultimate
penalty for the ultimate crime," The Argus Leader of Sioux Falls reported.
"I'm proud to be an American," Ms. Poage said.
(source: New York Times)
Condemned man's body to be cremated
The body of executed murderer Elijah Page will be cremated, and South
Dakota Attorney General Larry Long says Page's ashes will be given to a
The state will pay for the cost of the cremation.
The 25-year-old Page was given a lethal dose of drugs Wednesday night at
the state prison becoming South Dakota's 1st executed prisoner in 6
One of Page's accomplices remains on death row for his eventual fate, and
a 3rd man involved in the brutal slaying of Chester Allan Poage (POHG) of
Spearfish will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
(source : The Associated Press)
Page Execution Media Witnesses Share Observations
[NOTE: Bill Harlan, a Rapid City Journal reporter, witnessed the July 11,
2007, execution of Elijah Page. This is his first-person account.
On Aug. 29 of last year, I was in a motel room tying my dark gray tie,
preparing to watch Elijah Page die, when I got the call. Gov. Mike Rounds
had postponed the execution.
I've often thought of that moment in the past 10 months -- and the relief
I thought of it again earlier Wednesday evening as I tied another tie --
muted maroon-and-black stripes this time -- in preparation for Page's 2nd
There's nothing more routine than tying a tie, and it turned out not to be
such a bad parallel to South Dakota's 1st execution in 60 years.
This time, the governor didn't call.
At 9:30 p.m. CDT sharp, a Department of Corrections captain escorted me
and Associated Press reporter Carson Walker and former state Rep. Jerry
Lammers into the prison to a small office.
Lammers, now the chairman of the state Board of Pardons and Parole, was in
the Legislature in 1979 when the death penalty was reinstituted. In fact,
he was the House sponsor.
"That was a tough vote," he said.
He remembered a line used in the debate: "Weep not for the murderer, for
he had a choice. Weep instead for the victim, for he had no choice."
At about 9:50 p.m., we were escorted to the witness room, up a flight of
stairs and through part of the prison medical clinic. It was a small room
-- about as big as a jail cell, Lammers thought -- with an ordinary sink
and 2 metal chairs for the 4 of us. A table fan circulated the stuffy air.
For 6 or 7 minutes, we waited in the dark. The vertical blinds were drawn
on the small window, 3 1/2 feet by 3 feet, that opened to the execution
We were told the curtains would open when Page was ready, but I could just
see his face, through a slat, reflected in the one-way glass that hid the
execution team. He stared straight up at the ceiling, eyes wide open,
occasionally blinking, with no discernible expression.
The blinds were opened at exactly 10 p.m.
We were at Page's feet -- to the north, Walker figured. Page's head was to
Page, a burly 25-year-old, was already bound to the table by thick leather
straps -- one for each arm, two for the chest and one for the legs. His
arms were spread out, horizontal to his body. His hands were completely
wrapped in elastic bandages. Intravenous lines in each arm were connected
to tubes that led through a hole in the east wall to the executioner's
Page wore an orange jumpsuit and white cotton socks. He still had his
A few seconds after the curtains were opened, Corrections Secretary Tim
Reisch told Warden Doug Weber there were no appeals. "Therefore, you may
proceed to carry out the order of the court."
Reisch left the room, leaving Weber, in a black suit and gray tie, and
corrections department Maj. Darin Young, in a uniform.
Weber reminded Page he had pleaded guilty to the murder of Chester Allan
Poage and that he had been sentenced to death. "This is the time and place
for the execution of that sentence," he said. "Do you have any last
"No," Page said.
"Do I understand you to say that you have no last words?"
"Yes, no last words," Page said in a strong, clear voice.
It was 10:02, and the execution drugs began flowing: 1st, sodium pentothal
to render Page unconscious, then pancuronium bromide to stop his
breathing, and finally, potassium chloride to stop his heart.
Within seconds, Page's eyes closed.
Maybe 20 or 30 seconds later, he gasped slightly. His chest heaved, but
only a little, and he exhaled with what sounded like a snore.
By 10:04, all 3 drugs had been administered, we found out later. It was
impossible to tell from the witness room.
After that one snore, Page never moved. Not his head, not his arms, not
his feet. Weber stood off Page's right shoulder, his hands clasped in
front of him. Young stood farther back, off Page's right shoulder,
recording times on a tablet.
There was no sound. About 10:07 p.m., a blue, spider-web pattern of veins
began to appear in Page's arms. His face, already pale, became ashen.
There were faint pink blotches on his arms.
About 10:10, Weber said, "Major Young, retrieve the coroner."
Minnehaha County Coroner Brad Randall and an emergency medical technician
entered the room. The EMT put a stethoscope to Page's chest. "I have no
breathing," he said. "I have no heartbeat."
He pronounced Page dead at 10:11.
"I agree with that," Randall said. As a doctor, he could not participate
in the execution, but he certified the cause of death as "multiple drug
overdose secondary to judicial execution."
The blinds were drawn, and we were left in the dark again. Poage's family
and friends were in the observation room next to ours. We heard a short,
It was dark outside as we walked out of the prison, past a wing of the old
prison. A voice shouted at us, "Killer! Killer!"
There had been a killing certainly, but a judicial killing. A clinical
killing. A well-rehearsed, well-executed killing carried out by the
numbers as punishment for a brutal murder.
(source: Yankton News)
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