death penalty

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Death Row Inmates' Last Words Are Often Surprising

They're frequently positive, says a new study

(Newser) - What would you say if you were about to be executed? There's a good chance your last words would be on the positive side. At least that was the case for 407 death row inmates executed between 1982 and 2015 in Texas, according to a new study published in... 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 »

Inmate Again Facing Death for 1983 Murders

Kevin Cooper continues to insist he's innocent in California

(Newser) - Now that California has lifted its moratorium on the death penalty, convicted murderer Kevin Cooper, 57, is once again preparing to be executed for high-profile slayings he says he didn't commit. "I am innocent," Cooper tells NBC News . "And it's not my execution, it's... More »

Killer Sentenced in Murder of Real Estate Agent

Arron Lewis gets life in prison without parole

(Newser) - An Arkansas man was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole Friday for the suffocation death of a real estate agent he was accused of luring to a fake home showing as part of a plot to kidnap her for ransom. Arron Lewis' punishment came shortly after... More »

Supreme Court: Fla. Death Penalty System Unconstitutional

It was found to violate the right to trial by jury

(Newser) - The US Supreme Court declared Florida's death penalty system unconstitutional on Tuesday, opening the possibility of new hearings for at least some of the 390 inmates currently on death row in the state, the AP reports. In an 8-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled the system violated the right... More »

Scalia: Wouldn't Surprise Me If Death Penalty Struck Down

Justice also talks retirement plans, how the Constitution isn't flexible

(Newser) - The death penalty is not long for this Earth, or at least for the US, if Antonin Scalia's predictions are to be believed. The conservative Supreme Court justice spoke Tuesday at the University of Minnesota Law School, and capital punishment was brought up after Scalia started expounding on his... More »

Oklahoma Calls Off All Executions This Year

State will wait for inquiry into drug mix-up

(Newser) - Richard Glossip will live to see 2016. The Oklahoma murderer was supposed to be the next prisoner put to death this year in the state, but an investigation into drug confusion means no executions will take place there through the rest of this year, reports the Tulsa World . Glossip had... More »

Texas Inmate Executed for Cop's Death

He's the 12th convicted killer executed in Texas this year

(Newser) - A Texas man already being sought for a neighbor's slaying when he killed a Dallas police officer outside a club in 2001 was executed Wednesday. Licho Escamilla, 33, was given a lethal injection for the death of Christopher James, who was trying to break up a brawl involving Escamilla.... More »

Texas Executes Man Who Killed for $8

Garcia was 18 when he shot missionary to death

(Newser) - A convicted killer in Texas was executed Tuesday for fatally shooting another man in a robbery that yielded just $8. No late appeals were filed for Juan Martin Garcia, who was lethally injected for the September 1998 killing and robbery of Hugo Solano in Houston. Solano, a Christian missionary from... More »

Drug Glitch Leads Oklahoma to Halt 3 Executions

Problem was discovered just hours before one execution was scheduled

(Newser) - Oklahoma's highest criminal court unanimously agreed Friday to halt all of the state's scheduled executions after the state's prison system received the wrong drug for a lethal injection this week. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted the state's request and issued indefinite stays of execution... More »

Man Who Killed 5 for $170 Dodges Death Penalty

Holmes case may have ended death penalty in Colorado

(Newser) - A man convicted of stabbing five people to death during a Denver bar robbery that netted $170 will be formally sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday. A judge will issue a mandatory sentence of life without parole for Dexter Lewis, 25, who was convicted in August of five counts... More »

Man Arrested at 17 in Saudi Arabia to Be Crucified

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr's appeals have run out

(Newser) - Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was just 17 when he was arrested in 2012 and accused of taking part in anti-government protests and illegally possessing firearms; he was sentenced to death by crucifixion in 2014. Now, Saudi Arabia has dismissed his final appeal and he has no other legal options to fight... More »

Arkansas to Resume Executions After 10 Years

Governor announces 4 double executions

(Newser) - Arkansas will resume lethal injections after a 10-year gap starting next month with the first of four double executions, Gov. Asa Hutchinson says. The state hasn't executed an inmate since 2005, largely because of court challenges to its lethal-injection law and a nationwide shortage of drugs often used during... More »

Ohio's Trouble: 24 Executions, No Drugs

State has just 4 months to line them up

(Newser) - Ohio has four months to get the lethal drugs it needs to execute two-dozen condemned killers, the first of whom is scheduled to die Jan. 21. The state's last execution was performed in January 2014, when it tested a new two-drug execution method that left a condemned man gasping... 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 »

Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty in Church Massacre

Dylann Roof won't go on trial before July 2016

(Newser) - Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old charged with killing nine people in the June shooting massacre at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. In court documents filed today, the prosecutors cited reasons for pursuing the death penalty, including the number of people killed and the... More »

How the Pope Could Save This Killer on Death Row

Lidia Guerrero hopes Francis will intervene on behalf of son

(Newser) - When Lidia Guerrero met with Pope Francis in Rome last year, he told her he knew all about Guerrero's son, who has been on death row in Texas for 19 years. "I've prayed so much for that young man," she says Francis told her. The short... More »

Tenn. Judge: There's Nothing Wrong With Lethal Injection

Says inmates didn't prove one-drug method led to painful, lingering death

(Newser) - A Tennessee judge yesterday upheld the state's lethal injection process for executing inmates. Davidson County Chancery Judge Claudia Bonnyman said from the bench that the plaintiffs, 33 death row inmates, didn't prove that the one-drug method led to a painful and lingering death. She also said the plaintiffs... More »

Man's Retrial Thanks to Bad Fire Science Ends in Shocker

Ed Graf's retrial for murdering 2 stepsons in shed fire based on new arson science

(Newser) - In 1988, Ed Graf was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing his stepsons Joby, 9, and Jason, 8, in 1986 by locking them in a shed, dousing it with gasoline, and setting it on fire. Everything was there to prove the case against the Texas man, per... More »

The 11 Men on Connecticut's Death Row Won't Die

At least, not by the state's hand, after court overturns death penalty

(Newser) - The 11 men sitting on death row in Connecticut won't die by the state's hand following today's ruling by the state's highest court. The state abolished the death penalty in April 2012 , but only for future crimes; today's decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court concerned... More »

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