Jurors Used Bible to Decide Death Sentence
Amnesty International troubled by Old Testament justice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 4:39 AM CDT
Texas inmate Khristian Oliver was sentenced to death for a 1999 murder. The death penalty was chosen by a jury who used the Bible to help them reach their decision.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Death-row foes are complaining that a Texas jury ordered to consider only evidence presented in court consulted the Old Testament before condemning a man to death. Jurors examined highlighted passages in Bibles passed around the jury room to help them decide the fate of Khristian Oliver. The con killed a man by shooting him in the face and beating him with a rifle. One of the passages stated that a person who smites somebody with iron "shall surely be put to death."

The use of the Bible made the trial a "travesty," charged an Amnesty International official. "Religious texts provide consolation and spiritual guidance for billions of people the world over, but this use of the Bible to decide life or death in a capital trial is deeply, deeply troubling," she told the Telegraph. The Supreme Court has refused to hear Oliver's appeal and he is due to be executed early next month.