In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Alvin Braziel Jr. scheduled to be last inmate executed by Texas in 2018

A man linked to a 1993 murder through DNA evidence is scheduled to be the last inmate executed by the state of Texas in 2018.
Alvin Braziel Jr., 43, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday at the Huntsville “Walls” Unit. He would be the 13th inmate put to death by the state this year.
Braziel has been incarcerated at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston since 2001 for the murder of 27-year-old Douglas White.
Court testimony states that, on Sept. 21, 1993, Douglas and his newlywed wife, Lora, were walking along a jogging trail at Eastfield College in Mesquite. 
While walking along the trail, a man, later identified as Braziel, stepped out from behind the bushes and pointed a gun at them.
According to court records, the man demanded money from the young couple. Lori testified that she and her husband prayed during the robbery. “Where’s your God at now?” Braziel asked before shooting Douglas twice.
Braziel would then drag Lora behind some bushes and sexually assault her before running…

Iran courts jail 30 men for economic crimes, uphold death sentence of businessman after execution of two traders on similar charges

Iran’s currency has lost 65 percent of its value in 2018 amid US sanctions, with strong demand for dollars and gold coins on unofficial market
Fast-track courts set up in Iran to fight economic crime have jailed 30 men for as long as 20 years each, the judiciary said on Sunday, as the country faces renewed US sanctions and a public outcry against profiteering and corruption.
The new Islamic revolutionary courts - whose rulings cannot be appealed, except for death sentences - were set up in August after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for "swift and just" legal action to confront an "economic war" by foreign enemies, Reuters reported.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, quoted by the body's news website Mizan, said 29 Iranians and an Afghan foreign exchange dealer were found guilty of crimes including bribery, embezzlement and "disrupting the economy".
Iran’s rial currency has lost about 65 percent of its value in 2018 amid rev…

‘Does Nikolas Cruz Deserve to Die?’ quiz spurs apology from Florida high school

A high school has issued an apology after students were given a test asking them if the Parkland shooting suspect should die.
Coral Glades High School in Coral Springs, Florida, issued an apology on Friday after it had received backlash over a quiz that asked students if Nikolas Cruz deserved the death penalty. Cruz is the suspected gunman who allegedly killed 17 people during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14.
Parkland student and gun control activist Cameron Kasky posted the 10-question quiz on Twitter on Friday.
“This worksheet was given to students in @BrowardSchools. I cannot begin to express how pathetic I find this,” Kasky wrote. “Our school board should add this to the list of 1000+ reasons to be ashamed.”
The assignment came from a New York Times Upfront Magazine article dated October 8, WLRN reported. The magazine offers lesson plans to teachers for their students. Following the backlash of the quiz, the high school posted a statement to thei…

Death penalty in Tennessee: What I saw when I watched David Earl Miller die in the electric chair

NASHVILLE – David Earl Miller didn't care that I came to see him die.
He didn't care if anyone heard his last words. He didn't mention Lee Standifer, the woman he beat and stabbed to death a generation ago, didn't bother to apologize — even when he got a second chance to speak as all of us in the witness chamber at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution leaned toward the glass in the dark.
Those might have been the only words he could say that her family would have wanted to hear. I heard the disappointment in her mother's voice. No more delays I won't write what was said on that phone call. I called the mother — with her permission — to give her the chance to speak for her daughter, since she chose not to make the trip to Tennessee from Arizona for Thursday's execution. But everything she wanted to say publicly, she's said. She's in her 80s now. She wants to remember her daughter, not Miller. But she wanted to hear the case was finally over.
For t…

Iran: Man Hanged at Bandar Abbas Prison

Iran Human Rights (IHR); December 8, 2018: A prisoner was hanged at Bandar Abbas Central Prison on murder charges last Tuesday.
According to the IHR sources, Jamshid Agha-Rahimi was hanged on the morning of December 4, 2018, at Bandar Abbas Central Prison.
“Jamshid was from Hajiabad city and was imprisoned there. He was transferred to Bandar Abbas Prison 15 days ago for the execution. He killed a person who had abused his sister four years ago,” the source said, “He could not win the consent of the victim’s family and was executed.”  
According to the Iranian Islamic Penal Code (IPC) murder is punishable by qisas which means “retribution in kind” or retaliation. 
In this way, the State effectively puts the responsibility of the death sentence for murder on the shoulders of the victim’s family. 
In many cases, the victim's family are encouraged to put the rope around the prisoner's neck and even carry out the actual execution by pulling off the chair the prisoner is standing o…

Iranian Juvenile Offender Milad Azimi Saved from Execution

Iran Human Rights (December 7, 2018): Milad Azimi, a juvenile offender who allegedly committed a murder at the age of 17, was forgiven by the plaintiffs on Thursday, December 6, 2018.
Milad's death sentence was upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court a few months ago. 
The plaintiff had set a diyeh (blood-money) of 500 million Toman (approximately 50.000 USD) with the deadline of December 4. 
Milad's family were not able to pay that amount of money. However, the local human rights defenders and civil society activists could motivate righteous people to help to collect money.
Milad’s story
Milad Azimi is a juvenile offender who allegedly committed a murder at the age of 17. His death sentence was upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court a few months ago. The plaintiff has set a diyeh (blood-money) of 500 millions Toman (approximately 50.000 USD) with the deadline of December 4. Milad's family are not able to pay that amount of money. Therefore, if he fails to win the plaintiff’s co…

Mississippi justices reject challenges over execution drug

Mississippi's state Supreme Court on Thursday denied appeals from 2 death row inmates over Mississippi's plans to execute them using a sedative called midazolam.
In a pair of 7-2 rulings Thursday, justices found that Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. and Richard Gerald Jordan hadn't presented enough scientific evidence about the drug to justify a hearing on whether inmates executed using it would feel pain. A state law calls for an inmate to be unconscious when executed, and the inmates say the drug isn't powerful enough to guarantee unconsciousness.
However, a federal court challenge involving both Loden and Jordan continues, making it unlikely either will be executed soon. Mississippi hasn't executed anyone since 2012, amid efforts by death penalty opponents to cut off supplies of execution drugs and legal challenges to new procedures to get around the resulting shortages of older drugs.
The use of midazolam has been repeatedly challenged nationwide because prisoners have c…

Texas: Border Patrol agent charged with capital murder, prosecutors will seek death penalty

A U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to shooting four women in the head and leaving their bodies on rural Texas roadsides has been indicted on a capital murder charge, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
A grand jury decided to upgrade the charge against Juan David Ortiz, Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said at a news conference. Alaniz said prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Ortiz, 35, was initially charged with 4 counts of murder, as well as aggravated assault and unlawful restraint. He has been held in Webb County jail on a $2.5 million bond since his Sept. 15 arrest in the border town of Laredo.
The Border Patrol intel supervisor and Navy veteran seemed to be living a typical suburban life with his wife and 2 children when the killings occurred. After the 1st slaying, he continued going to work as usual. He was eventually arrested after he pulled a gun on a woman who was able to escape and asked a state trooper for help.
Authorities have said the victims were sex w…

California: ‘Gay’ 10-year-old’s sister details extreme torture their parents inflicted before his death

The couple could face the death penalty for the alleged torture, slaying of the 10-year-old boy
A judge unsealed grand jury transcripts earlier this week in a case about the death of a 10-year-old boy whose parents allegedly tortured and killed him after he came out.
Earlier this year, Anthony Avalos died after what investigators described as years of torture at the hands of his mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva.
The director of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) said that Anthony had “said he liked boys” in the weeks leading up to his death.
The prosecution’s case involves both physical evidence and witness testimony. Assistant district attorney Jonathan Hatami told the grand jury about the coroner’s report, which found injuries all over Anthony’s body.
“There were injuries to Anthony’s side and his hip area, both his left hip and his right hip, and his arms, and even injuries to his feet,” Hatami said. There were also abrasions to…