NEWS ABOUT: death penalty

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Inmates Sue, Call Electric Chair 'Torture Device'

Tennessee convicts say it shouldn't be alternative to lethal injection

(Newser) - Death-row inmates in Tennessee have sued the state over its possible use of the electric chair to kill them, reports the Tennessean . "Even when the chair works exactly as it is intended, it is a torture device," says an attorney for the inmates. The move stems from the... More »

In a First, India Executing Women: Sister Serial Killers

Pair convicted of murdering five kids, suspected in other killings

(Newser) - Serial killer sisters, who kidnapped and murdered at least five children, are poised to become the first women hanged in India, reports the Washington Post . “This is indeed one of the rarest of the rare cases where the perpetrators deserve the death sentence,” a human rights lawyer tells... More »

In Arizona, State Makes Up Execution Rules as It Goes

Times investigation shows history of botched, improvised executions

(Newser) - The botched execution of Joseph Wood last month in Arizona showed that the state Corrections Department was "making it up as it went along,” says Wood's public defender. Now a New York Times investigation suggests the incident may be part of a greater pattern. Wood's lawyer... More »

Inmate Takes 2 Hours to Die in Arizona Execution

Lawyers for Joseph Wood tried to stop procedure after an hour

(Newser) - Another botched execution? Arizona executed a murderer today, but it took Joseph Rudolph Wood nearly two hours to die, reports the Arizona Republic . It took so long that Wood's lawyers filed an emergency appeal to stop the procedure after an hour because they say their 55-year-old client was still... More »

Supreme Court OKs Drug Secrecy in Ariz. Execution

Joseph Wood's 1st Amendment case turned down

(Newser) - The Supreme Court has cleared the way for Arizona to execute an inmate whose lawyers argued that he had a right to know more about how he was to be killed. The court sided with the state against Joseph Rudolph Wood, who could be executed as soon as this morning,... More »

California's Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional

Federal judge says systemic delays amount to cruel and unusual punishment

(Newser) - A potentially huge ruling on the death penalty out of California: A federal judge says the state's system of capital punishment is so inept that California must stop killing inmates, period, reports NBC Bay Area . The decision by US District Judge Cormac J. Carney isn't about the ongoing... More »

Child Bride in Iran Faces Hanging for Killing Husband

Human Rights Watch trying to stop execution

(Newser) - Human Rights Watch is trying to raise pressure on judges in Iran to call off the execution of a 21-year-old woman who killed her husband four years ago. Razieh Ebrahimi’s father forced her to marry a neighbor at age 14, and she gave birth to a child at... More »

Florida Executes Killer

John Ruthell Henry is third US execution in 24 hours

(Newser) - Florida has executed a man who fatally stabbed his wife and her young son in 1985—the third US execution in less than 24 hours since Oklahoma's botched procedure in April . The governor's office says John Ruthell Henry was pronounced dead at 7:43pm after a lethal injection.... More »

First Executions Since Botched Injection Go Ahead

Georgia, Missouri carry out lethal injections

(Newser) - The nation's unofficial moratorium on the death penalty is over. Georgia executed 59-year-old murderer Marcus Wellons tonight with a dose of pentobarbital, reports the AP . Wellons is the first inmate put to death since Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April. Wellons' attorneys had cited Lockett's... More »

In 1st Since Botched Death, 3 Inmates Set for Execution

Inmates in Florida, Georgia, Missouri slated to die in next day

(Newser) - Nine executions nationwide have been stayed in the seven weeks since Clayton Lockett died in a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma, but three convicted killers are scheduled to die in the next day or so. All three states planning lethal injections—Florida, Georgia, and Missouri—refuse to say where they... More »

Autopsy Contradicts State on Botched Execution

It wasn't a blown vein; IV wasn't inserted properly

(Newser) - After the botched execution of Clayton Lockett , Oklahoma officials said that he hadn't received the proper doses of lethal drugs because a vein collapsed. But an independent autopsy contradicts that conclusion, reports the New York Times . The problem wasn't with Lockett's veins—in fact, they were found... More »

High Court: IQ Test Alone Can't Decide Death Penalty

Plus: Justices favor Secret Service in free-speech ruling

(Newser) - The Supreme Court today ruled that states must look beyond an IQ score in borderline cases of mental disability to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible to be executed. The justices said in a 5-4 decision that Florida and a handful of other states cannot rely solely on... More »

'Deeply Evil' Billionaire Gets Death Penalty

Liu Han yells out in court: 'I was framed'

(Newser) - Two Chinese brothers have been convicted of murder and running a "mafia-style" gang over two decades—and they'll pay the price with their lives. Billionaire Liu Han, 48, and his brother were leaders of a 36-person gang charged with at least eight murders, Chinese media report, per the... More »

Tennessee Brings Back Electric Chair

As Wyoming debates return to firing squad

(Newser) - Amid shortages of drugs used in lethal injections and controversy over a botched execution in Oklahoma , Tennessee has become the first state to revive an older method of execution. Gov. Bill Haslam yesterday signed a bill allowing the state to use the electric chair if execution drugs are not available,... More »

Man Who Planned to Kill His Way to Obama Gets Death

James McVay killed elderly SD woman, stole her car

(Newser) - A man who murdered an elderly South Dakota woman in what he described as the first step in a plot to kill and steal his way to Washington and assassinate President Obama has been sentenced to death. After walking away from a minimum-security prison unit, James McVay drank alcohol and... More »

Court Stops Texas Execution With Just Hours to Spare

Lawyers for Robert James Campbell will get time to prove he has 'intellectual disability'

(Newser) - The nation's first execution since Oklahoma's botched one won't take place this evening after all, but this time the issue isn't about the drugs involved, reports CNN . A federal appeals court in Texas stayed the execution of Robert James Campbell, ruling that his lawyers deserve more... More »

Oklahoma Inmate Was Tasered Day of Execution

Also, tech had to inject drugs into groin

(Newser) - Oklahoma's prison chief today released a timeline regarding the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, and two items are getting much of the attention: In the morning, guards had to Taser Lockett when he refused to be restrained; and in the evening, a technician had so much trouble finding a... More »

What the Botched Execution Means for the Death Penalty

Pundits think this is a turning point

(Newser) - Last night's ugly, bungled execution of Clayton Lockett has many wondering about the future of the death penalty in America. By rushing to execute Lockett with secretive, untested means, Oklahoma "elevated a convicted murderer to a status he surely did not deserve in life," writes Andrew Cohen... More »

Inmate's Last Words: 'Something's Wrong'

Details emerge on Clayton Lockett execution

(Newser) - More details are emerging about the botched execution of Clayton Lockett , including the fact that Lockett was struggling to speak before he died. Reporters from News on 6 and the Tulsa World, who were among 12 media observers, offer minute-by-minute recaps. Some key moments:
  • 6:23pm: The execution begins. The
... More »

Oklahoma Botches Execution; Inmate Dies

Clayton Lockett began writhing 3 minutes after being declared unconscious

(Newser) - An Oklahoma inmate whose execution was halted tonight because the delivery of a new drug combination was botched died of a heart attack, the head of the state Department of Corrections said. The execution began at 6:23pm when officials began administering the first drug, and a doctor declared Clayton... More »

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