death row

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With His Execution Nigh, a Big Twist in Texas

Thomas Whitaker's case is in Gov. Greg Abbott's hands

(Newser) - The crime was horrific, the aftermath doubly so: A Texas family of four was shot by a masked gunman in December 2003. Kent Whitaker's wife and one of his two sons didn't make it, and Whitaker's initial desire for vengeance gave way to a decision to forgive,... More »

He's Fighting to Save His Family's Killer. The Killer: His Own Son

Bart Whitaker set to be executed Feb. 22 for killing his mom and brother, but dad isn't giving up on him

(Newser) - "My wife and son were murdered by a masked gunman, and my other son and I were left for dead, but survived." Those are the words of Kent Whitaker on his website , detailing the horrific crime that tore his life apart in December 2003. But, he adds, things... More »

Scott Dozier Just Wants Nevada to Kill Him Already

The Marshall Project takes a look at one death row inmate's desire to die

(Newser) - It's a death-row fact that is likely to surprise: In five states—Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and South Dakota—only one type of condemned man has been put to death since the 1970s: a "volunteer." That's legal-world parlance for a person who has been sentenced... More »

Lawyer in Death Row Case Defies Own Client—and Loses

Now the Supreme Court will weigh in on the fairness of that

(Newser) - The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments in a death row case, but this one has an unusual element. The case involves Robert McCoy, who is currently on Louisiana's death row after being convicted of a triple homicide back in 2011. McCoy has always maintained his innocence, but... More »

SCOTUS OKs Execution of Man Who Can't Remember Crime

Vernon Madison understands he was convicted of murder, high court rules

(Newser) - In 1985, Vernon Madison shot and killed Mobile, Ala., police officer Julius Schulte after Schulte responded to a domestic call involving Madison; prosecutors say he crept up on the officer as he sat in his police car and shot him twice in the back of the head, the AP reports.... More »

'Poster Child for the Death Penalty' May Die Sitting Up

Alva Campbell's execution is set for Nov. 15 in Ohio

(Newser) - Allowing a condemned killer with health problems to partially sit up during his execution next month would be a "reasonable" accommodation, according to a doctor working for Ohio's prison system. Death row inmate Alva Campbell—described by a Franklin County prosecutor as "the poster child for the... More »

Man Maintains Innocence as He Faces 8th Execution Date

Tommy Arthur has escaped execution 7 times in past 16 years

(Newser) - When you've faced your own execution seven times with an eighth on the way, it's important to have the right mindset. “You can either let a stressful situation break you ... or you hold on to hope and use your every waking moment to fight," Tommy Arthur... More »

Victim's Family's Kind Act Surprises Death Row Inmate

Family paid for Kenneth Williams' daughter to fly to Arkansas

(Newser) - Kayla Greenwood understands the desire to see one's father a final time. In 1999, when she was 5, Greenwood’s dad was killed when an escaped prisoner in a stolen truck slammed into his vehicle during a police chase. That escaped prisoner, convicted of killing two others, is now... More »

Ohio Inmate Kills Himself on Death Row

Patrick Leonard died Sunday night

(Newser) - An Ohio man condemned to die for the slaying of his former girlfriend has killed himself on death row. The Ohio prisons agency tells the AP that inmate Patrick Leonard died Sunday night of an apparent suicide on death row in Chillicothe; the AP didn't provide additional details. Leonard... More »

One Client Got Death. Then Another, and Another

The 'Guardian' looks at defense lawyer Frederick Duchardt

(Newser) - Missouri claims less than 2% of America's population, but is the place where 14.5% of the convictions of the 62 people sitting on federal death row occurred. In a lengthy piece for the Guardian , David Rose looks at the lawyer who "has had more clients sentenced to... More »

With Her Love on Death Row, Woman Goes Back to School

Yancy Escobar Balderas is becoming a lawyer to help her husband, others

(Newser) - "I cried so much my nose was bleeding." Yancy Escobar Balderas, 29, was in the courtroom—as she had been every day during the two-month trial—when her now-husband Juan Balderas was sentenced to death for a murder she says he didn't commit. This month—two years... More »

Ohio Resuming Executions After 3-Year Moratorium

State will use a new 3-drug combination

(Newser) - Ohio plans to resume executions in January with a new three-drug combination after an unofficial three-year moratorium blamed on shortages of lethal drugs, an attorney representing the state told a federal judge Monday. Thomas Madden with the Ohio attorney general's office said the state will use the drugs midazolam,... More »

Death Row Inmates Are Somehow Dying From Drug ODs

Calif. prisoners found dead with meth, heroin in their systems

(Newser) - California hasn't executed anybody for more than a decade, but some Death Row inmates are still being killed by lethal drugs. Records from the coroner's office reveal that between 2010 and 2015, at least six condemned San Quentin inmates died with methamphetamine, heroin, or other drugs in their... More »

Execution Halted Over Shaken Baby Syndrome 'Junk Science'

Robert Roberson was convicted of murdering his 2-year-old daughter in 2002

(Newser) - A man on death row in Texas has been granted a last-minute reprieve after his lawyers successfully argued he was convicted on "junk science" regarding shaken baby syndrome, Reuters reports. Robert Roberson, who had been scheduled to be executed June 21, was convicted in 2002 of murdering his 2-year-old... More »

La. Has Spent $1M So Far to Fight a Cooler Death Row

Experts say it could cost the same or less for AC to protect inmates from dangerous heat

(Newser) - The state of Louisiana's refusal to install air conditioning on death row has already cost taxpayers at least $1,067,000 in expenses fighting a lawsuit filed on behalf of three inmates with medical problems, according to records obtained by the AP . Meanwhile the state could spend roughly the... More »

SCOTUS Nixes White Jury's Death Penalty for Black Man

29 years after Timothy Foster's sentence, court finds prosecutors kept blacks off jury for racial reasons

(Newser) - In a ruling Vox says "could have a big impact on racism in the justice system," the Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed a death sentence rendered almost 30 years ago against a Georgia black man, voting 7-1 that state prosecutors kept African-Americans off the jury that convicted him,... More »

Prosecutor Sent Innocent Man to Death Row. Now, Payback

Texas lawyer Charles Sebesta disbarred for misconduct in Anthony Graves case

(Newser) - A Texas man spent nearly two decades in prison—more than half of that time on death row—before being exonerated in 2010. But Anthony Graves didn't simply celebrate his freedom: He went after the prosecutor who put him behind bars , resulting in Charles Sebesta's disbarment by the... More »

Despite Promises, Iran Still Executes Kids

Girls as young as 9 are sentenced to death: Amnesty International report

(Newser) - More than 20 years ago, Iran promised it would stop executing convicts under the age of 18. But a new report by Amnesty International shows that not only has the practice continued into the present day—it's given Iran the dubious distinction of being "one of the leading... More »

Georgia Won't Give Inmate Beer With Last Meal

Officials not relaxing contraband rules for convicted killer

(Newser) - Before its last execution, Georgia rejected a plea for mercy from the Pope . Ahead of its next one, it has rejected a plea for beer from the condemned. Marcus Ray Johnson is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7pm Thursday and prison officials have denied his request to have... More »

Death Row Inmate Dies, but Not via Execution

California has only executed 13 out of hundreds of death row inmates since 1978

(Newser) - Ronald Seaton had been on death row at San Quentin State Prison for 26 years following a 1986 conviction for murder, robbery, and burglary. On Friday, he died of natural causes while awaiting execution, NBC Bay Area reports. Seaton became the 69th death row inmate to die of natural causes... More »

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