death penalty

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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 »

One Holdout Juror Saved James Holmes

Death penalty required a unanimous decision

(Newser) - James Holmes will live out his life in prison instead of facing execution because one of his 12 jurors wouldn't budge on the subject. Nine others wanted the death penalty and two were unsure but willing to discuss it, but Holmes' life was spared because a unanimous decision is... More »

Jurors Spare Life of James Holmes

They deliberate 7 hours, fail to agree on death penalty

(Newser) - Jurors spared the life of James Holmes today: He will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of execution for his rampage in a Colorado movie theater, reports USA Today . The nine women and three men on the jury deliberated about seven hours over two... More »

James Holmes Jury Leaves Death on the Table

Jury reached a decision today in second phase of trial

(Newser) - The second phase of James Holmes' trial wrapped up today, and there will be a third. The jury decided the Aurora movie theater shooter should face a possible death sentence after considering the "mitigating factors." The Denver Post reports that the criminal trial, whose jury selection began in... More »

End of Road for Frenchman Set to Die in Indonesia

Court denies Serge Atlaoui's final appeal; execution planned after July 17

(Newser) - An Indonesian court today denied the final appeal of a French citizen who faces execution for drug offenses, setting the stage for diplomatic retaliation by France after executions of other foreigners strained relations with Australia and Brazil. Eight people were executed in April; Serge Atlaoui , 51, wasn't part of... More »

Those Who Believe in Pure Evil Tend to Support This

And the issue becomes more black-and-white

(Newser) - As Nebraska becomes the 19th state to abolish capital punishment, researchers out of Kansas State University have been investigating just what makes some Americans more fervently in favor of the death penalty than others. One clear factor, they report in the journal Personality and Individual Differences , is whether someone believes... More »

Texas May Have Executed an Innocent Man

Witnesses say Lester Bower did not commit the crime

(Newser) - Earlier this month, Texas executed Lester Bower for the 1983 murders of four men in an airplane hangar. Questions of his guilt lingered—and Bower maintained his innocence—until the end, and a Politico exposé suggests that he may have been telling the truth. Journalist Tim Madigan followed Bower’s... More »

The 'Untold Story' of That Very Botched Execution

Jeffrey E. Stern explores the death of Clayton Lockett in 9K words

(Newser) - June's issue of the Atlantic packages Jeffrey E. Stern's 9,000-word piece on Clayton Lockett's botched April 2014 execution in Oklahoma as the "untold story" of what happened. And while many of the details have surfaced elsewhere—a September report by the Oklahoma Office of Public... More »

Nebraska Veto Override Abolishes Death Penalty

Lawmakers get just enough votes to overturn governor's decision

(Newser) - Nebraska no longer has the death penalty. State lawmakers today overrode the governor's veto of legislation to abolish it by a vote of 30-19, getting the precise number of votes necessary to do so, reports the Omaha World-Herald . The move to defy Gov. Pete Ricketts makes Nebraska "the... More »

Nebraska Gov. Uses Pen to Keep Death Penalty Alive

Pete Ricketts vetoes repeal bill

(Newser) - Gov. Pete Ricketts has vetoed a bill to repeal the death penalty in Nebraska, saying it would send a message to criminals that the state is "soft on crime." State lawmakers voted 32-15 last week against capital punishment, the Omaha World-Herald reports. It will take 30 votes to... More »

Suspect in UVa Killing Faces Death Penalty

Charges are upgraded against Jesse Matthew

(Newser) - The man accused of abducting and murdering a University of Virginia sophomore will now face the death penalty. Prosecutors today announced a charge of capital murder against 33-year-old Jesse Matthew in the death of Hannah Graham last year, reports the Daily Progress . Prosecutors initially didn't seek the death penalty,... More »

'Burned Alive': Court Has Heated Debate on Execution

Alito blasts 'guerrilla war' by opponents of death penalty

(Newser) - Things got about as nasty as they get in the Supreme Court chambers as the justices today debated the constitutionality of a lethal-injection drug. Samuel Alito, for example, accused opponents of the death penalty of engaging in a "guerrilla war" to stop it, while Elena Kagan likened the execution... More »

3 Hours Before Execution, Texas Killer Gets Stay

New DNA test to focus on metal shank used to kill prison guard

(Newser) - A Texas inmate on death row had his execution stayed yesterday just three hours before it was scheduled to be carried out. Robert Pruett, initially sentenced to 99 years in prison as an accomplice to a 1995 murder when he was 15, was then sentenced to death in 2002 over... More »

8 Inmates Refused Blindfolds, Sang at Firing Squad

Pastor says the scene was 'breathtaking'

(Newser) - "Breathtaking" is probably not a word you'd usually associate with the executions of eight people , but that's exactly how a pastor describes the scene in Indonesia just after midnight local time. Seven foreigners and a local man refused blindfolds as they stood in front of a firing... More »

Ambulances Reach Indonesia Prison —Hauling Coffins

Executions of 9 inmates loom, despite international pressure

(Newser) - The pleas for mercy weren't enough, apparently. Despite uproar from several foreign governments, Indonesia is readying for the executions of eight foreigners and one local man convicted of drug trafficking. A dozen ambulances—nine of which were carrying coffins—boarded a ferry to Besi prison on Nusakambangan Island today,... More »

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