Record executions in Texas

2008-10-23 07:37
Washignton - The state of Texas has scheduled ten executions in 30 days, a record in the southern state that is already the US leader in capital punishment, having put more than 400 people to death in 30 years.

Tuesday, Joseph Ray Ries, 29, became the first of the ten. He was administered a lethal injection as final punishment for the 1999 murder of a 64-year-old man.

"Even for Texas, this amount of execution in so short time is unusual," said Rick Halperin, president of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

It is not unusual for 16 executions to be on the calendar in Texas, as they currently are, through March 11. What is unusual is that ten of those will happen between October 20 and November 20.

Bobby Woods is scheduled to die on Thursday, Eric Nenno on October 28, Gregory Wright the 30th, Elkie Taylor on November 6, George Whitaker on November 12, Denard Manns on November 13, Eric Cathey on November 18, Rogelio Cannady on November 19, Robert Hudson on November 20.

Execution dates are set by the judges who presided over juries that pronounced a death sentence, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice explained.

"The frequency with which executions are scheduled is dependent on when the judges from courts across the state set those dates," Michelle Lyons said.

"Because they act independently of one another, there are some months when a number of executions are scheduled and other months when there are few or none scheduled," as is the case in December, she added.

Last words...

Final meal, last cigarette, last words... the ritual marches along with regularity in the Huntsville, Texas execution chamber, the busiest in the US.

The ten condemned men join 416 executed in Texas since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Texas alone has performed a third of all executions carried out in the US over the last three decades, including 12 so far this year.

By comparison, Virginia - the number two executioner in the US - has conducted 102 since 1976.

For anti-death penalty activists, "it is very frustrating," Halperin said.

"It is very difficult work, but this is where the work is needed, this is where the struggle is. This is the worst place of the free world for execution, this is not just the worst place for America," he said of Texas.

Halperin claimed that "judges are very happy to get rid of these people as quickly as possible". He described a sort of year-end catch-up following a moratorium on executions across the USs from September 2007 to May 2008, while the Supreme Court weighed and ultimately validated the constitutionality of lethal injection.

"The judges definitely want these executions to occur, they are very supportive of killing people here," he said. "This is a historical and sociological tradition of killing people in the name of the law."

Toxic cocktail

But the 375 inmates on Texas Death Row are above all a reflection of criminal law prior to 2001, he said.

Before the state revised such laws in 2001, a defendant could be represented by a divorce lawyer with no experience in criminal prosecutions, and judges were not required to instruct juries of alternative punishments such as life in prison without parole, he said.

Nine of the ten to die this month were sentenced prior to 2001.

Over the next month, Texas prison personnel will be conducting their task of injecting a toxic cocktail into the veins of condemned men every three days on average, prison spokesperson Jason Clark acknowledged.

"It can be difficult but this is something that is required of us," he said.

- SAPA
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Telesales Consultant - Table View

Table View - Parklands
Your Move Personnel
R6 000 - R6 500 Per Month

SHEQ RISK MANAGER

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Persona Staff

Application Support Consultant

Cape Town CBD
Pinewood Technologies SA (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 - R10 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too much...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.