capital punishment

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Arizona Suggests 'Do-It-Yourself' Executions

Lawyers for death row inmates need only bring the drugs

(Newser) - It's "unprecedented, wholly novel and frankly absurd," a lethal injection expert says of Arizona's new death penalty plan, which includes a provision for what one columnist calls a "do-it-yourself execution." Under the plan, the Arizona Department of Corrections—which has been unable to acquire... More »

Missouri Executes Man for Killing Woman, 2 Kids

'It was a heinous crime'

(Newser) - Nearly 19 years to the day that Susan Brouk and her two children were taken to a Missouri pond and killed, one of the men responsible for the crime was put to death Tuesday. Mark Christeson was given a lethal injection—Missouri's first execution since May, the AP reports.... More »

Texan Executed for Subway Sandwich Shop Murders

Terry Edwards killed 2 former colleagues

(Newser) - A man convicted of a fatal robbery at a Dallas-area Subway shop just weeks after he was fired from his job there was executed Thursday night. Terry Edwards, 43, received a lethal injection for the $3,000 holdup at a Subway restaurant where two employees were shot to death in... More »

Virginia Executes Man Who Saw Open Door, Killed Family

Ricky Gray killed couple, 2 daughters who were prepping for New Year's party

(Newser) - A man convicted of killing a family of four, slashing their throats, and setting their home ablaze after they left their front door open while preparing for a New Year's Day party in 2006, was executed Wednesday. Ricky Gray was pronounced dead at 9:42pm following a lethal injection... More »

Man Who Killed 2 Over Piece of Gravel Is Executed

Christopher Wilkins' execution was first in US in 2017

(Newser) - Texas has executed death row inmate Christopher Wilkins, who was convicted of killing two men after one of them mocked him for falling for a phony drug deal. The lethal injection of the 48-year-old Wilkins on Wednesday is the nation's first execution this year, the AP reports. Twenty were... More »

Military May Soon Hold Its 1st Execution in 56 Years

Former soldier Ronald Gray raped and killed multiple women

(Newser) - The US military could soon execute someone for the first time since a soldier was hanged for raping and trying to kill an 11-year-old girl in 1961, CNN reports. Ronald Gray, a former Army soldier, has been on military death row at Fort Leavenworth since 1988. According to the Fayetteville ... More »

More Than 200 Inmates in Florida Could Avoid Execution

Thanks to a state supreme court ruling on Thursday

(Newser) - Eleven months after the US Supreme Court declared Florida's death penalty to be unconstitutional , the state supreme court ruled that more than 200 inmates on Florida's death row may have the right to new sentencing, the Orlando Sentinel reports. According to the Washington Post , that means more than... More »

Americans Sentenced to Death in 2016: Only 30

Lowest number since early '70s

(Newser) - Only 30 people were sentenced to death in the United States this year, the lowest number since the early 1970s and a further sign of the steady decline in the use of the death penalty. The number is a sharp drop from the 49 death sentences last year and just... More »

Now in California: Streamlined Executions

Opponents of the newly passed Proposition 66 say it's unconstitutional

(Newser) - The Election Day count is finally complete, and California voters have approved a measure aimed at speeding up executions for those on death row, the Los Angeles Times reports. Proposition 66 is designed to make the legal process more efficient by providing a bigger pool of lawyers to handle cases,... More »

Court: Botched Execution Was 'Innocent Misadventure'

Clayton Lockett's execution lasted 43 'horribly painful' minutes

(Newser) - In dismissing his family's lawsuit Tuesday, an appeals court called the 43-minute-long botched execution of Clayton Lockett—during which he regained consciousness and thrashed around—an "innocent misadventure," Tulsa World reports. Lockett, a convicted murderer, was executed in 2014 in Oklahoma. According to Slate , a drug meant... 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 »

Petition Calls for Hanging of Man Accused of Heinous Crime

It was pulled from the White House website

(Newser) - West Virginia hasn't executed anybody since murderer Elmer Brunner went to "Old Sparky" in 1959, but quite a few people want that to change after the horrific murder of a 9-month-old baby . Benjamin Taylor is accused of raping and killing his girlfriend's daughter, and a petition to... More »

In Poll on Death Penalty, a 45-Year First

Supporters no longer in majority: Pew

(Newser) - For the first time in 45 years, Americans who support the death penalty can't count themselves among the majority. Just 49% of Americans polled from late August to early September said they supported capital punishment for people guilty of murder, while 42% said they opposed it, according to the... 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 »

14% of Death Row Inmates Are There Because of Just 5 Prosecutors

Report argues overzealous DAs are making the death penalty arbitrary

(Newser) - Just five prosecutors representing less than 0.2% of US counties are responsible for 14% of all people currently on death row and 5% of people sentenced to death in the past 40 years. That's according to a recently released report from Harvard Law School's Fair Punishment Project.... More »

Feds Will Pursue Death Penalty Against Dylann Roof

'The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision'

(Newser) - The Justice Department announced Tuesday it will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof , who is accused of killing nine people during a Bible study class inside a historic black church last June in Charleston, South Carolina. "The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this... More »

Texas Execution Halted, State Won't Appeal

John Battaglia killed his 2 young daughters as revenge against his ex

(Newser) - The Texas Attorney General's Office is not appealing a federal appeals court ruling that has halted the scheduled execution of a Dallas man convicted of killing his two young daughters 15 years ago, the AP reports. State attorneys could have appealed to the US Supreme Court the decision to... More »

Pope to Catholic Leaders: No Executions This Year

He says there are no exceptions to 'do not kill'

(Newser) - Pope Francis has urged Catholic leaders to show "exemplary" courage by not allowing executions this year, while expressing hope that eventually the death penalty will be abolished worldwide. Francis told tourists and pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that "the commandment 'do not kill' holds... More »

What It's Like to Witness an Execution

Columnist describes his first experience

(Newser) - Last week, reporter St. John Barned-Smith went to cover his first execution. "You'll never be the same," one anti-death-penalty protester warned him outside Texas's Walls Unit prison, where James Garrett Freeman would be put to death for killing a Texas game warden in 2007, when he... More »

US Executions at Lowest Level in Decades

New death sentences also way down

(Newser) - The number of people executed in the United States this year dropped to the lowest level since 1991, as states impose fewer death sentences and defendants in capital cases get access to better legal help. The Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that opposes capital punishment and tracks the... More »

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