[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----KY., WASH., FLA., US MIL.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Nov 23 18:39:41 CST 2008
Death penalty is not one of the options we need
In all likelihood Marco Allen Chapman will soon realize his desire to die
at the hands of the state. "I should be able to do what I want to do,"
Chapman recently told a judge, "and go ahead and have the execution put
Chapman's desire to do what he wants to do die raises the issue of the
use of the death penalty in a way that should force reconsideration of the
monstrous practice we have in place here.
Our elected representatives reinstated the death penalty in our names in
1976. I doubt any of them had Marco Chapman in mind. None of them wanted
to create an opportunity for him to do what he wants to do. Presumably,
they hoped to find a fair way to punish "the worst of the worst" murderers
as a warning to others to behave. They could not have foreseen what has
Consider this. In 2007, Ernie Lewis, the former Public Advocate, told the
House Judiciary Committee that Kentucky had spent about $300 million since
1976 to kill two prisoners. That's $150 million per execution. Chapman's
death will reduce the cost per prisoner to $100 million. With so many
greater public needs, should we not be considering alternatives to the
death penalty? Should the death penalty even be an option?
How about this? On Aug. 1, 2002, a Whitely County jury found Larry Osborne
innocent. He had been declared guilty in his 1st trial and sentenced to
death. But the Kentucky Supreme Court decided unanimously to order a new
trial after concluding that his right to a fair trial was violated. The
prosecutor had introduced hearsay evidence and the trial judge allowed it.
At the time, The Courier-Journal wrote: "But however you view this
particular case, it holds clear implications for capital punishment in
general. In a system where only one bit of unfair evidence makes the
difference between conviction and acquittal, should the death penalty even
be an option?"
Do you suppose legislators anticipated a system in which the majority of
those sentenced to death in Kentucky were sentenced to death unfairly? In
fact, courts have found that more than 60 % of Kentucky's death sentences
were unjustly imposed and overturned them. No one would consider flying if
they knew 60 of every 100 planes would crash. Should the death penalty
even be an option?
Chapman's case is different. We know we got the right guy because he says
so. We know he wasn't tried unfairly because he refused a trial. We know
no court will overturn the conviction because he fired his attorneys. He
waived all his appeals. He wants to die.
And that is another reason to ask: Should the death penalty even be an
option? What if we did not have the death penalty? In the past Chapman had
tried to kill himself by hanging and cutting his wrists. If we did not
offer him the death penalty, what method would he have chosen now? Is it
possible that our own public policy led Chapman to take 2 lives so he
could do what he wanted to do?
Kentuckians are rethinking the value of this punishment. In 2006, the
University of Kentucky surveyed Kentuckians. They asked each respondent to
choose one of the sentences available under Kentucky law to punish a
capital offender. 2/3 selected a sentence other than death, the most
popular being life without the possibility of parole.
Those directly affected by murder surviving family members are asking if
the death penalty should be an option. In fact, several asked Gov. Steve
Beshear to consider the effect executing Chapman would have on others,
especially his own innocent family members.
"Furthermore, killing Marco Allen Chapman," they said, "creates another
set of surviving family members and friends. Having had our own hearts
broken by the loss of loved ones who were intentionally killed, we do not
want anyone else, including members of his family and his friends, to
experience the searing pain and the dark sadness that accompanies the
intentional killing of a loved one."
Those working to abolish the death penalty are certainly disappointed that
Chapman's execution will proceed. But we will continue to raise questions
and educate Kentuckians about the wisdom of keeping in place a policy that
puts innocent persons on death row, violates the rights of the majority of
those convicted and sentenced to death, denies taxpayers the benefits of
spending their dollars on far greater needs, is no more effective than
life without the possibility of parole, and is not the preferred sentence
of the majority of Kentuckians.
We will continue to ask: Should the death penalty be an option? (source:
Patrick Delahanty, Op-Ed; Lexington Herald-Leader)
High Court May Review Another Appeal In Death Case
The Kentucky Supreme Court may consider another legal appeal that could
halt Friday's scheduled execution of a confessed child killer.
Chief Justice John Minton signed an order Thursday granting the transfer
of a case from the Kentucky Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. The
case questions whether the Kentucky Department of Corrections should have
held public hearings before adopting regulations that specify how lethal
injections are administered.
Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd denied a request for
an injunction that would have halted the execution of Marco Chapman, the
death row inmate scheduled for legal injection on Friday.
If the execution is carried out, Chapman would become the 1st Kentucky
inmate put to death since 1999.
(source: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON ----- impending execution
Wash. state preps for December execution
The state Department of Corrections is opening the Washington state
penitentiary in Walla Walla to a media tour Thursday in preparation for a
scheduled Dec. 3 execution.
A federal appeals court has lifted a stay of execution for 55-year-old
Darold Ray Stenson. Stenson was convicted of aggravated murder for the
1993 shooting deaths of his wife and a business partner in Clallam County.
There have been 77 executions in Washington since 1904. The last inmate to
be executed was James Elledge in 2001.
Including Stenson, there are 8 men on death row in Washington.
FLORIDA----new death sentence
Oviedo man sentenced to death in slaying of ex-girlfriend, friend
A judge Wednesday gave the death penalty to a 22-year-old Oviedo man who
cyberstalked his ex-girlfriend, taunted her with threats, then tracked her
down and killed her and a friend. Andrew Allred pleaded guilty in April to
2 counts of 1st-degree murder. He said nothing at Wednesday's hearing,
even after Circuit Judge O.H. Eaton Jr. encouraged him to.
Instead, Allred stood silently, his head high, as the judge pronounced his
sentence. Eaton could have sent Allred to prison for the rest of his life.
The judge said he chose the death penalty, in part, because the slayings
were especially calculated.
Allred killed Tiffany Barwick, 19, and her friend, Michael Ruschak, 22, a
University of Central Florida student, April 24, 2007, at an Oviedo home
Ruschak shared with several roommates and where Barwick had begun to stay.
Allred believed that Barwick and Ruschack, his best friend in high school,
had become romantically involved.
Allred broke into the house, shattering its sliding-glass door, shot
Ruschak 4 times and then hunted down Barwick, who was hiding in the
bathroom, and shot her 6 times.
She was on the phone with 911, pleading for help at the time.
Allred then wounded Eric Thomas Roberts, another roommate, when he tried
to wrestle away the gun.
Barwick's parents, Kim and Tony Barwick of Ocala, said they did not wish
for the death penalty but are glad the trial is over.
Said Tony Barwick, "As of today, he's out of our lives."
Ruschak's father, Chuck Ruschak, said he thinks a life prison sentence
would have been harder on Allred, and that's what he was hoping for.
Barwick had lived with Allred but she broke off their relationship about a
month before the shooting at his 21st birthday party. He then began
harassing her via the Internet and cell phone, gaining access to her bank
account, sending phony messages under her name and threatening to kill
About 8 hours before the shooting Barwick and Ruschak asked the Seminole
County Sheriff's Office to arrest Allred, but a deputy told them there was
not enough evidence.
The Sheriff's Office has since said its deputies could not have made a
(source: The Orlando Sentinel)
Inmate under death order appeals again
An inmate under a death warrant for killing his girlfriend's teenage
daughter in Tampa 25 years ago is again appealing to the Florida Supreme
Lawyers for Wayne Tompkins, 57, on Thursday asked the justices to give
them an opportunity to investigate and present constitutional challenges
to his conviction and death sentence based on a new sworn statement by a
The high court on Nov. 7 rejected their request for an evidentiary hearing
on that issue. A former inmate who testified Tompkins admitted to him he
was the killer, now says a prosecutor told him to give the jury false
The justices decided 4-1 it was a harmless error after they stayed
Tompkins Oct. 28 execution. A new date has not been set.
(source: The Florida Times-Union)
US MILITARY----impending execution
First military execution since 1961 scheduled next month
A U.S. soldier convicted of rape and murder2 decades ago will be executed
December 10 in the nation's 1st military execution since 1961, the Army
Pvt. Ronald Gray has been on the military's death row at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas, since 1988. A court-martial panel sitting at Fort Bragg, North
Carolina, unanimously convicted him of committing 2 murders and other
crimes in the Fayetteville, North Carolina, area, and sentenced him to
Gray's execution by injection will be carried out by Fort Leavenworth
soldiers at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, the
Army said in a news release.
Gray was convicted of raping and killing a female Army private and a
civilian near his post at Fort Bragg. He was also convicted of the rape
and attempted murder of another fellow soldier in her barracks at the
Both military and civilian courts found Gray responsible for the crimes,
which were committed between April 1986 and January 1987. Gray pleaded
guilty to 2 murders and 5 rapes in a civilian court and was sentenced to 3
consecutive and 5 concurrent life terms.
The general court-martial at Fort Bragg then tried him and in April 1988
convicted him of 2 murders, an attempted murder and 3 rapes.
In July, President George W. Bush approved the Army's request to execute
"The president took action following completion of a full appellate
process, which upheld the conviction and sentence to death," the Army said
in the news release. "Two petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court were denied
during the appellate processing of Pvt. Gray's case."
Members of the U.S. military have been executed throughout history, but
just 10 have been executed with presidential approval since 1951 under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military's modern-day legal system.
The Army also sought Bush's authorization to execute another condemned
soldier, Pvt. Dwight Loving, who was convicted of robbing and killing 2
cab drivers in 1988.
The last U.S. military execution was in 1961, when Army Pvt. John Bennett
was hanged for raping and attempting to kill an 11-year-old Austrian girl.
Bennett was sentenced in 1955.
The U.S. military hasn't actively pursued an execution for a military
prisoner since President John F. Kennedy commuted a death sentence in
1962. 9 men are on military death row.
More information about the DeathPenalty