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USA | Parkland Case Challenges Us All to Figure Out What a Mass Murderer Deserves

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The ongoing sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old Florida man who in 2018 murdered fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, will test whether the seven men and five women on the jury hearing his case can hate the sin but muster the courage to spare the life of the sinner. That is exactly what his defense team is asking them to do as they sit in judgment of the person who perpetrated one of this country’s most brutal mass murders. Like many death penalty defense lawyers before them, Cruz’s lawyers, to their credit, have not downplayed the gravity of the horrors their client inflicted in Parkland, Florida. Instead, during the sentencing trial, or what the journalist Dahlia Lithwick once called a “trial of the heart,” they have focused their attention on who Cruz is and the factors that shaped his life. As the Supreme Court said more than fifty years ago, in capital cases those who impose the sentence must consider “

Texas executes Danielle Simpson

A convicted killer who volunteered for execution but in recent weeks changed his mind has been put to death in Texas.

Thirty-year-old Danielle Simpson (left) received a lethal injection Wednesday evening for the abduction-slaying of an 84-year-old east Texas woman who was weighted down with a cinder block and thrown into a river.

Simpson had won approval from a federal court that he was competent to decide to drop his appeals. Then Simpson changed his mind and allowed lawyers to try to save him. Attorneys contended he was mentally ill.

He was condemned for the murder of Geraldine Davidson, a former school teacher and church organist abducted nearly 10 years ago during a burglary of her home in Palestine, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas.

Simpson was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m. Wednesday, nine minutes after a lethal dose of chemicals had been administered.

He became the 22nd person to be executed in Texas this year.

The 30-year-old Simpson, who was 20 at the time of the murder, gave a brief final statement.

"Yeah, I want to tell my family I love ya'll," said Simpson, strapped to a gurney. "Tell Kate I love her too. Tell brother, my kids I love ya'll. I'm gonna miss ya'll. I'm ready, ready."

Five members of Davidson's family witnessed the execution, while two of Simpson's sisters also were witnesses.

Read more: Danielle Simpson speaks about his nine-year term spent locked up in solitary.

Source: AP, Nov. 18, 2009

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