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Texas: Gov. Abbott should grant death row inmate Rodney Reed a reprieve, before it’s too late

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Convicted murderer Rodney Reed is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Nov. 20, but Gov. Greg Abbott has the power to stop it.
As it stands, there’s no indication that Abbott will. He has only stopped one execution since becoming governor 5 years ago.
Reed was sentenced to death in 1998, after being convicted of the brutal 1996 rape and killing of a 19-year-old woman from central Texas, Stacey Stites. And though the governor has yet to weigh in on this specific case, he supports capital punishment, as do most voters in the state. According to a June 2018 poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune, fully three-fourths of Texans strongly or somewhat support the death penalty.
But the question at hand has nothing to do with the death penalty, per se. Granting a reprieve would simply be the right thing to do — and a necessary precaution against the doubts that would linger, if Reed is executed as scheduled.
Reed has consistently maintained his innocence, and legitimate questions …

Florida lifts stay of execution for Marshall Lee Gore

Marshall Lee Gore
A federal appeals court lifted the stay of execution for a former escort service owner convicted in the slayings of 2 Florida women.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on Thursday for Marshall Lee Gore. Gov. Rick Scott today set Gore's execution for July 10 at 6 p.m. Gore, 49, had been scheduled to die at the Florida State Prison in Starke Monday evening for the 1988 slaying of Robyn Novick, a 30-year-old exotic dancer. But the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals approved a motion filed by Gore's attorney less than 2 hours before he was to have received a lethal injection.

In his emergency motion, attorney Todd Scher argued Gore's execution would violate the Eighth Amendment, which forbids the state from carrying out a death sentence against a prisoner who is insane.

Gore's attorneys have argued before that he is mentally ill. One previous lawyer claimed Gore was "mentally deranged" and not responsible for his actions. But several judges concluded he was using a claim of mental illness to manipulate the judicial process.

When asked by a judge in the Novick case if he felt competent to proceed he replied, "I'm absolutely competent. I'm absolutely lucid." He had frequent verbal outbursts during the trial, laughed out loud and even howled.

A panel of doctors appointed by Gov. Rick Scott concluded in May that Gore was mentally competent to be executed.

In addition to Novick, Gore also was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1988 slaying of Susan Roark. Novick's body was found in a rural part of Miami-Dade County and Roark's body a few months later in Columbia County in northern Florida.

Gore initially denied knowing any of the women, but later testified they worked for him at an escort service.

Florida had 2 executions earlier this month: William Van Poyck was put to death on June 12 for the 1987 murder of a prison guard during a botched attempt to free another inmate. On May 29, the state executed Elmer Carroll for the 1990 rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl.

Source: Associated Press, June 29, 2013

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