FEATURED POST

USA | The Dreadful Failure of Lethal Injection

Image
Editor’s Note: This column is the product of a research collaboration with five Amherst College students, Mattea Denny, Nicolas Graber-Mitchell, Greene Ko, Rose Mroczka, and Lauren Pelosi. America’s death penalty continues to fall out of favor, a well-known fact. When the year started, eight executions were scheduled for February and March in five different states. But all of them are now on hold, and two of the three executions that were set for April already have been halted. While advocacy for the end of the death penalty has played some role, it is the decomposition of the lethal injection paradigm that has truly driven down execution numbers. We have now seen a decade of chaos and experimentation as death penalty jurisdictions tried to find reliable sources of drugs to carry out executions. States rolled out new drugs, but things did not go smoothly. The number of mishaps associated with lethal injection increased substantially. From 2010-2020, an already problematic method of ex

Alabama: James Callahan executed

James Harvey Callahan was executed at 6:24 p.m. today [Jan. 15, 2009] at Holman Correctional Facility for the 1982 kidnapping, rape and murder of a Jacksonville woman. He had been on Alabama's death row almost 26 years.

Callahan's attorneys had sought a stay today from the U.S. Supreme Court. It was rejected. Almost a year ago, the high court granted a reprieve only an hour before his scheduled execution. State prosecutors had said Callahan's appeals were exhausted. Gov. Bob Riley's office agreed, saying the governor had no plans to intervene. "Tonight, justice will finally be served," his statement said.

Callahan was twice convicted for the Feb. 3, 1982, slaying of Rebecca Suzanne Howell, a 26-year-old Jacksonville State University student abducted from a coin-operated laundry.

The victim's sister, Donna Wood released a statement that said, "This ordeal has never been anything but sad and difficult for everyone involved. She said it was unfortunate that her father, who died 3 years ago, did not live long enough to see the execution, "but we know that he is here with us in spirit." She said her slain sister was "truly a kind and loving person, one that we all still miss each and every day."

In his last moments, Callahan stared at his son, Kevin, told him that he loved him and asked Kevin to take care of his children and grandchildren. "I have a lot of remorse that I can't be here for you," he said.

Then Chaplain Chris Summers knelt beside him and prayed as Callahan closed his eyes, thrust several times against the staps, yawned, coughed twice and grew still.

Callahan never acknowledged any guilt and spoke only to his son, not to Rebecca Suzanne Howell's mother and sister.

Callahan had spent the day visiting with family and spiritual supporters. Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said Callahan prayed earlier with adviser Donald Barker, as well as with family members, and was to receive communion at 4:30 p.m.

Callahan's will bequeaths to his son $36.42 from his prison account, a black and white Radio Shack TV, 2 watches, a Walkman, some headphones, a leather belt, 2 pairs of boots, 1 pair of Nike tennis shoes, food items and legal papers.

Callahan becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Alabama and the 39th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1883. The state has 4 more scheduled executions in the next 4 months.

Callahan becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1138th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

The execution marks the second execution of 2009 & the last execution in the States during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Sources: Birmingham News, Rick Halperin, Capital Defense Weekly, January 16, 2009

Most Viewed (Last 30 Days)

Saudi Arabia | Execution caught on video

30-year-old Chinese inmate bids farewell to daughter, wife and mother before execution

USA | Are Life Sentences a Merciful Alternative to the Death Penalty?

Philippines: A moral, ethical issue for our people

Texas | Woman Who Witnessed Around 300 Executions Reveals The Inmates' Last Words That Have Stayed With Her

Iran | Woman Hanged for Killing Abusive Husband; Daughter Carried Out the Execution

USA | The Dreadful Failure of Lethal Injection

Indiana | Serial killer Joseph Duncan dies on death row

Indonesia | Lindsay Sandiford, now 64, has spent over 8 years on Bali's death row

North Korea | 4 Publicly Executed In Pyongyang On Charges Of Distributing ‘Illegal Video Materials’