Texas | A Dangerous Man. At 18, Billy Joe Wardlow took a man’s life. Nearly 30 years later, the state still wants his.

Like any place humans gather, death row has a culture. Billy Wardlow says it's different in many ways from general population. One is in how new inmates are treated. "In [general population], the guys around you would try to find some way to exploit you," Wardlow said. "Death row, with a few exceptions, will often extend a hand of friendship to the 'new boot' so they can get on their feet ... Most of us get together and let each other know what we can send to the new guy."
One of the cherished myths of those who support the death penalty is that it is reserved for the “worst of the worst,” those beyond redemption.
Wardlow typically sends writing materials, food, clothes, and hygiene products. Recently, after receiving some of these items, a new inmate asked Wardlow what he owed him. "I told him to remember how guys helped him when he saw someone else new," Wardlow said. "Pay it forward, as the saying goes."
Sending gifts is one thin…

Court issues last-minute delay of hit man's execution

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A court delayed a hit man's execution Tuesday, more than an hour after he could have been put to death for killing a woman in a life insurance scheme concocted by her husband and brother-in-law.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to issue a stay for Rolando Ruiz. The majority said they needed more time to rule on his arguments that a state-appointed lawyer in earlier appeals failed to identify his substance abuse and poor childhood as mitigating evidence jurors should have been allowed to consider before they decided on a death sentence.

Execution teams cannot begin a lethal injection procedure as long as appeals are pending. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons, who described Ruiz as "genuinely at a loss for words," said the prisoner "didn't seem like he had processed it yet.

"He apparently was expecting to go. He expected his execution to be carried out," she said.

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Source : CNN.com

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