Archive | execution

29 October 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Miguel Paredes

Last night, the State of Texas carried out its final execution of 2014, putting Miguel Paredes to death for the murders of Adrian Torres, Nelly Bravo, and Shawn Michael Caine in San Antonio in 2000. Paredes was 18 years old when he and two accomplices shot the three victims, took their bodies to Frio County, and set them on fire. His two co-defendants are currently serving life sentences.

The 10 people put to death by lethal injection this year represents the fewest executions in Texas since 1996.  Several media outlets have noted the overall decline in use of the death penalty both in Texas and nationwide.  “In Texas, the Death Penalty is Slowly Dying Out” (The Atlantic, October 29, 2014), journalist Matt Ford observes that “Thirty people have been executed so far this year in the entire United States, whereas Texas alone executed 40 people at its peak in 2000.”

Death sentences have also declined significantly.  In 1999, prosecutor sought and juries imposed 48 new death sentences in Texas.  For the last five years, that number has been in the single digits.  As Tom Dart notes in his article about last night’s execution (“Miguel Paredes set to be 10th and last Texas prisoner executed in 2014,” The Guardian, October 28, 2014), geographic isolation and racial disparities persist in the imposition of new death sentences in Texas.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice already has scheduled nine executions in the first few months of 2015.

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27 October 2014 ~ Comments Off

Texas scheduled to execute Miguel Paredes

On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Miguel Paredes for the murders of Adrian Torres, Nelly Bravo, and Shawn Michael Caine in San Antonio. Paredes was 18 years old in 2000, when he and two accomplices shot the three victims, took their bodies to Frio County, and set them on fire. The two co-defendants are currently serving life sentences.

Paredes, who was part of the violent Hermanos de Pistoleros gang, sees life differently now that he has become a Christian. He reportedly understands and accepts the consequences of his actions, but does not support the death penalty, telling the San Antonio Express-News, “Focus on the people that are really affected by this. This is not painless. It’s hurting the people that are law-abiding, that pay their taxes, that don’t hurt nobody. Their only crime is to love somebody.”  Paredes has a 16-year-old son and numerous siblings.

This is the last execution scheduled to occur in Texas in 2014.  This will be the fewest number of people executed here since 1996. To date, Texas has executed 517 inmates, more than any other state.

You can voice your opposition to this execution by attending a vigil in your area.

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17 September 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Lisa Coleman

The State of Texas executed Lisa Coleman this evening, September 17, 2014, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected her request for a stay.  She was convicted a decade ago in Tarrant County in the starvation death of 9-year-old Davontae Williams. The boy’s mother, Marcella Williams, took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and is serving a life sentence.  She will be eligible for parole in 2044.

It was the ninth execution in Texas this year, out of 30 nationwide.  Coleman was the sixth woman put to death in Texas since 1982 and the second in 2014.  Read more from the Washington Post.

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16 September 2014 ~ Comments Off

Federal court rejects appeal of Lisa Coleman

*Update as of 5:15 PM on September 17, 2014*  The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of Lisa Coleman, allowing her execution to proceed.  Read more from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/17/texas-prepares-for-a-rare-occurrence-an-execution-of-a-woman/.

The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Lisa Ann Coleman on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. Coleman was convicted a decade ago in Tarrant County in the starvation death of 9-year-old Davontae Williams. The boy’s mother, Marcella Williams, took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and is serving a life sentence.  She will be eligible for parole in 2044.

According to the Associated Press, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Coleman’s appeal earlier today.  The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also declined to commute her death sentence.  Attorneys contend that the kidnapping charge, which served as the aggravating factor that paved the way for prosecutors to charge Coleman with capital murder, should be reviewed by the courts.

If this execution proceeds, Coleman will be the sixth woman put to death in Texas since 1982.  It will be the ninth execution to date this year in the Lone Star State.

Read more about Coleman’s case, including interviews with her aunt and original defense attorney, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/09/15/6122414/arlington-womans-execution-set.html

and from NBC 5 Dallas- Fort Worth:http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Court-Declines-to-Stop-Womans-Execution-275313871.html

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10 September 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas executes Willie Trottie

This evening, September 10th, the State of Texas executed Willie Trottie. A Harris County jury sentenced him to death for the 1993 murders of his former girlfriend Barbara Canada, and her brother, Titus, at the Canada family home in Houston. Canada’s mother and sister also were wounded in the attack.

The execution took place under a shroud of secrecy, as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice still refuses to disclose its source for compounded pentobarbital, the sole drug used in executions here.  According to the Associated Press, “attorneys for Trottie contended the dose of pentobarbital for his lethal injection was past its effectiveness date and could subject him to unconstitutional ‘tortuous’ pain.”  The U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

It was the first execution in Texas in four months and the state’s first since the botched executions in Oklahoma and Arizona.  Earlier in the day, the State of Missouri also carried out an execution, putting Earl Ringo, Jr. to death.  Both Texas and Missouri have executed eight people to date in 2014.

Harris County now accounts for 122 executions since 1982, more than any state in the country besides Texas and twice as many as any other county.

Harris County prosecutors have sentenced 294 people to death since 1976; there are approximately 100 inmates still on death row who were convicted in Harris County … more than one-­third of the current death row population. 

Read more about the case of Willie Trottie from the Associated Press and the Guardian.

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09 September 2014 ~ Comments Off

Texas to Resume Executions on Wednesday with Secret Drug Supply

The State of Texas is scheduled to resume executions this Wednesday, September 10th, after an unusual four-month hiatus.  It if proceeds, the execution of Willie Trottie will be the first execution in Texas since April and the first here since the botched executions in Oklahoma and Arizona.

This execution will take place under a shroud of secrecy, as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice still refuses to disclose its source for compounded pentobarbital, the sole drug used in executions here.  In an appeal filed today with the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for Trottie contend that the lethal injection drugs that will be used on him have expired.  Read more from the Texas Tribune.  Earlier this year, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled that officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice do not have to disclose information about the pharmacy or pharmacist now supplying the lethal injection drugs used in executions.  Read more from the Guardian.

A Harris County jury sentenced Willie Trottie to death for the 1993 murders of his former girlfriend Barbara Canada, and her brother, Titus, at the Canada family home in Houston. Canada’s mother and sister also were wounded in the attack.

The State of Missouri has also scheduled the execution of Earl Ringo for Wednesday.  Texas, Florida and Missouri  each have carried out seven executions to date this year.  Read more from the Associated Press.

We encourage all Texans to attend a vigil in your community.

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23 July 2014 ~ Comments Off

Another Botched Execution – This Time in Arizona

Today’s execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona took nearly two hours as he repeatedly gasped and snorted, according to witnesses.  Some reports say that Wood gasped more than 600 times during the process.  In coverage by CNNa media witness from KSAZ likened Wood’s breathing to a “fish gulping for air” and said it was difficult for everyone in the room to watch.

The events in Arizona come less than three months after the horribly botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, which reignited a national conversation about the secrecy now surrounding lethal injection protocols throughout the country.  Legal challenges in Wood’s case sought to force the state to disclose the source of the drugs used to carry out lethal injections.  Unlike states like Texas that use a single dose of pentobarbital, Arizona now uses the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone.  This was the same combination of drugs used in a problematic execution in Ohio in January.

Statement from Attorney for Joseph Wood Re: Tonight’s Bungled Execution

The following is a statement from Dale Baich, one of Joseph Wood’s attorneys, regarding today’s execution:

“The experiment using midazolam combined with hydromorphone to carry out an execution failed today in Arizona. It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breath for about an hour and forty minutes. We will renew our efforts to get information about the manufacturer of drugs as well as how Arizona came up with the experimental formula of drugs it used today. Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror — a bungled execution. The public should hold its officials responsible and demand to make this process more transparent.”

-Dale Baich

-July 23, 2014

Read coverage of today’s events and background on the case from the Associated Press and the Arizona Republic.

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22 July 2014 ~ Comments Off

Retired Judges Support Appeal of Rodney Reed

The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Rodney Reed on January 14, 2015 for the 1996 murder and rape of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in Bastrop County. Since his initial trial in 1998, Reed has maintained his innocence, claiming that he had a consensual relationship with Stites and that he received poor representation from his original trial attorneys.

Reed’s execution was scheduled despite the fact that there are still DNA tests to be conducted. Both the defense and the prosecution agreed to further testing on several items, but the state refused to allow some additional items requested by the defense, including the murder weapon. Reed’s attorney, Bryce Benjet, argued, “This is a case with very real questions. Given the troubled history and troubled past [of the case], additional DNA evidence can ultimately undermine the rest of the evidence.” According to Judge Doug Shaver, there will be ample time to evaluate the evidence before the execution date.

On July 21, 2014, eight retired federal and state judges urged the U.S. Supreme Court to accept Reed’s appeal. Among them are Royal Ferguson of Texas, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton, and Judge Charles Baird, who served eight years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and four years as a state district judge in Austin. The judges are not taking a position on Reed’s innocence. They are instead focusing on the procedural errors of the appeals court that rejected Reed’s appeal in January. The judges believe that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was not the proper setting for the decisions that took place.  In their amicus brief, the judges write that “trial courts are the appropriate venue for developing a factual record and resolving questions of fact.”

For more information, please refer to the following articles from The StandDown Texas Project:

http://standdown.typepad.com/weblog/2014/07/coverage-of-rodney-reed-hearing.html

http://standdown.typepad.com/weblog/rodney_reed/

 

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