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Priest Says Federal Execution Gives Him 'Impossible Decision'

Buddhist says he fears federal execution could be COVID 'super-spreader' event

(Newser) - A Zen Buddhist priest, who is a spiritual adviser to one of three federal death row inmates scheduled to be executed this month, filed a lawsuit Thursday arguing the Bureau of Prisons is putting him at risk for the coronavirus by moving forward with executions during a nationwide pandemic. Dale... More »

Feds Schedule First Executions Since 2003

4 federal inmates will be executed this summer, Barr says

(Newser) - The federal government plans to execute more people this summer than it did in the previous 30 years combined. The Justice Department says four inmates—all child-killers—will be put to death by lethal injection in July and August, NPR reports. On July 13, Daniel Lewis Lee, a former white... More »

For First Time in US During Pandemic, an Execution

Missouri puts Walter Barton to death

(Newser) - Many states have postponed scheduled executions amid the coronavirus pandemic, but on Tuesday night, an inmate was put to death for the first time since March 5. Walter Barton, 64, was convicted of murdering his former landlord, 81-year-old Gladys Kuehler, in 1991, USA Today reports. Kuehler operated a mobile home... More »

India Hangs 4 Men for Gang Rape That Stunned Country

Victim died 2 weeks after 2012 bus rape

(Newser) - Four men sentenced to death for the gruesome gang rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012 were hanged Friday, concluding a case that exposed the scope of sexual violence against women in India and prompted horrified Indians to demand swift justice. The men were... More »

Governor Faces Unexpected Spectator: 'You Killed My Brother'

Pamela Woods faces off against Kay Ivey in Alabama on death of Nathaniel Woods

(Newser) - An event kicking off the Alabama census got somewhat heated Thursday when the state's governor was confronted by the family of a man executed last week under her charge. The Washington Post reports that Gov. Kay Ivey was taking questions from reporters in Montgomery, and she was answering one... More »

Despite Outcry, Alabama Executes Nathaniel Woods

He was convicted of being an accomplice in the killings of 3 officers

(Newser) - A man convicted in the 2004 killings of three police officers in Alabama who were shot by another man was executed Thursday evening. Nathaniel Woods, 43, was pronounced dead at 9:01pm following a lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore, authorities say. The inmate had no last words... More »

They Tried to Save His Life. Before Death, He Thanked Them

Nicholas Sutton chose electric chair over lethal injection

(Newser) - A convicted murderer was put to death in Tennessee's electric chair Thursday, becoming the state's fifth prisoner over 16 months to choose electrocution over the state's preferred method of lethal injection. Nicholas Sutton, 58, was pronounced dead at 7:26pm at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in... More »

The People Trying to Halt His Execution Are Unexpected

Among them: the daughter of one of the people Nick Sutton murdered

(Newser) - Death row inmate Nick Sutton has an unusual group of supporters seeking to block his scheduled execution Thursday. Among them are family members of his victims, as well as past and present prison workers calling for clemency. Sutton, 58, was sentenced to death in 1986 for killing fellow inmate Carl... More »

Executions Are About to Resume in Oklahoma

A 'reliable' drug supplier has been found, says the state

(Newser) - Oklahoma is set to resume executions after a five-year lull prompted by drug mix-ups, but it won't be relying on nitrogen gas . As a 2015 law allowing the state to pursue execution by nitrogen hypoxia only permits the method if lethal injection drugs are unavailable, executions will be carried... More »

Texas Man Who Killed His Family Apologizes, Is Executed

Abel Ochoa shot dead his wife, 2 daughters, and 2 relatives in 2002

(Newser) - A Dallas man was executed Thursday evening for a shooting in which he killed his wife, two children and two other relatives during a drug-fueled rage nearly 18 years ago. Prosecutors say Abel Ochoa was high on crack cocaine and looking for money to buy more drugs when he started... More »

DNA Will Prove If State Executed an Innocent Man

Ledell Lee maintained his innocence until he was put to death in 2017

(Newser) - Ledell Lee was executed in Arkansas in 2017 , despite legal challenges requesting more DNA testing using modern technology; the state denied those requests. Lee never stopped insisting he was innocent of the 1993 murder of Debra Reese, and now Slate reports that his case "could result in DNA evidence... More »

Georgia Man Stays Silent as He's Put to Death

Donnie Cleveland Lance was convicted of killing his ex-wife and her boyfriend in 1997

(Newser) - A Georgia man convicted of killing his ex-wife and her boyfriend more than two decades ago was put to death Wednesday evening, becoming the state's first inmate to be executed this year. Donnie Cleveland Lance, 66, received a lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson. His time of... More »

In Rare Move, Japan Hangs a Foreigner

Wei Wei was convicted of the 2003 murders of a family of 4

(Newser) - "It was an extremely cold-blooded and cruel case, in which (Wei) killed four innocent members of a happy family," said Japan's justice minister in announcing a rare move: the execution of a foreigner. The AP reports Wei Wei's Thursday death by hanging was the first time... More »

Texas Executes Man Who Killed Over His Job Assignment

Travis Runnels didn't want to work in shoe factory

(Newser) - A Texas inmate was executed by lethal injection Wednesday evening for killing a supervisor at a state prison shoe factory in Amarillo nearly 17 years ago. Travis Runnels, 46, was convicted of slashing the throat of 38-year-old Stanley Wiley on Jan. 29, 2003. Runnels was executed at the state penitentiary... More »

State Sends Blind Man to Electric Chair

Tennessee executes Lee Hall for 1991 murder

(Newser) - Lee Hall never saw the chair he would be killed in. The 53-year-old convicted murderer was executed in Tennessee's electric chair Thursday night, making him the second blind man to be executed in the US since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. He was sentenced to die in 1992... More »

Judge Halts Federal Executions

4 men were set to be executed in Indiana in December and January

(Newser) - The cases of four men set to be put to death in Indiana over the next couple of months have spurred a nationwide reprieve. On Wednesday, District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan halted those executions, effectively stopping all federal executions across the US, Politico reports. A fifth execution in Indiana set... More »

Georgia Executes Man After DNA Test Request Rejected

Victim's daughter had 'serious doubts' about guilt

(Newser) - A man convicted of killing a Georgia convenience store clerk 25 years ago was put to death Wednesday night, authorities said. Inmate Ray Jefferson Cromartie, 52, was pronounced dead at 10:59pm after an injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. He made no last statement but requested... More »

Man Nearing Execution by Firing Squad Has Died

Ron Lafferty's murder case was featured in Jon Krakauer's 'Under the Banner of Heaven'

(Newser) - A Utah death-row inmate whose double-murder case was featured in the book Under the Banner of Heaven and who was nearing execution by firing squad has died of natural causes, prison officials said Monday. Ron Lafferty, 78, died at the state prison in the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper,... More »

Celebrities Go to Bat for Man Sentenced to Die

Kim Kardashian West, others ask Texas governor to stop execution of Rodney Reed

(Newser) - Kim Kardashian West has been spending a lot of time fighting for criminal justice reform , and the latest prisoner she's advocating for has a lot of other celebrities on his side, too. Rodney Reed is on death row in Texas after being convicted of the 1996 rape and murder... More »

Inmate Uses Last Words to Forgive Victim's Family

Donnivan Schaeffer's parents say they weren't expecting an apology anyway

(Newser) - There was no apology given nor remorse shown before Charles Rhines was put to death in South Dakota Monday night for murdering Donnivan Schaeffer in 1992—but with his last words, Rhines did "forgive" Schaeffer's family, the Rapid City Journal reports. "Ed and Peggy Schaeffer, I forgive... More »

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