Showing posts from December, 2013


USA | Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is a terrible opportunity for Trump

"Sometimes it felt like she was America’s last hope. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court judge since 1993, achieved celebrity status during Trump’s four years. Affectionately given the nickname “Notorious R.B.G” by a slew of online followers, she was the subject of superhero memes and the inspiration for much light-hearted merchandise (Urban Outfitters stocks T-shirts emblazoned with her face and her famously blunt quotes, and I gifted a friend in Brooklyn a cuddly Ginsburg doll for her newborn last year.)
Beneath the jokes, the quotes and the well-designed tote bags, however, ran an undercurrent of anxiety and fear. The fact that Supreme Court judges have lifetime appointments meant that many were morbidly obsessed with Ginsburg — who battled cancer on numerous occasions, and died of its complications today — staying alive long enough to get to the election. She herself clearly felt the same way, if NPR’s reports about her dying wishes are to be believed: “My most fervent wish is …

No one executed in South Carolina for the second year in a row

COLUMBIA, S.C. - For the second year in a row, South Carolina saw no executions in 2013. The state had no new death sentences in the last year, either.
It's a downward trend that mirrors national patterns that are moving away from putting inmates to death. In a report that came out this month, the Death Penalty Information Center said that fewer and fewer people are being executed nationwide.
Last year, 39 inmates were executed in a total of nine states, according to the report. That represents a drop of 10 percent from a year earlier.
At the end of June 2005, there were 72 people awaiting execution in South Carolina. Since then, there have been fewer than a dozen, and several inmates have left death row after winning appeals that ended in their sentences being overturned.
Forty-six inmates are on South Carolina's death row, all men who range in age from 30 to 69 years old, according to the state Department of Corrections.
South Carolina's last execution came in May 2011,…

China: Obstetrician could get death penalty for selling babies

An obstetrician at the Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital of Fuping county, Shaanxi Province stood trial on Monday on charges of trafficking seven babies, one of whom died.
Dr Zhang Shuxia stood accused of selling seven babies to traffickers between November 2011 and July 2013 after persuading their parents to give up their newborns that she falsely claimed were sick, the Weinan People's Procuratorate said at trial in Weinan, Shaanxi Province.
The verdict has not yet been announced, according to an online broadcast of the trial via the Weinan Intermediate People's Court's Sina Weibo account.
Suspects convicted of child trafficking face life imprisonment, Deng Liqiang, director of the legal affairs department at the Chinese Medical Doctor Association, told the Global Times on Monday.
When circumstances are particularly serious, they will be given a death penalty, Deng said.
Zhang, 55, pled guilty and apologized to the relatives of the victims on trial, saying she was …

Saudi Royal Faces Death Penalty For Murder

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Saudi prince who murdered a fellow Saudi may be executed, a newspaper reported on Sunday, in a rare example of a member of the kingdom's ruling family facing the death penalty.
The English-language Arab News did not name the prince or his victim, but said a senior member of the family and government, Crown Prince Salman, had "cleared the way for the possible execution of a prince convicted of murdering a Saudi citizen".
In a message about the case to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Prince Salman said: "Sharia (Islamic law) shall be applied to all without exception", the daily reported.
Prince Salman's message followed a statement from the victim's father that he was not ready to pardon the killer and he was not happy with the amount offered as blood money.
The families of murder victims are encouraged by authorities to accept blood money instead of insisting on execution.
The paper quoted Crown Prince Salman's messa…

Texas ex-prosecutor's sentence sends warning on wrongful convictions

Punishment meted out to a former Texas district attorney in a wrongful conviction sends a stern warning to other prosecutors, analysts say.
HOUSTON — Williamson County Dist. Atty. Ken Anderson had risen to a district judge by the time a special investigation was launched this year to scrutinize a murder he had prosecuted in 1987.
In a rare finding, a judge determined that Anderson had intentionally withheld evidence, resulting in the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton. Morton served 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife before DNA tests exonerated him and another man was convicted of the crime.
Anderson agreed to serve nine days in jail, resign from the bench and surrender his law license.
The dramatic, high-profile proceeding has raised the possibility of more prosecutorial misconduct investigations in Texas, a state known for tough justice and frequent executions.
Anderson was penalized after a court of inquiry, a unique Texas proceeding that allows a judge to determine w…

California: Inland juries vote for execution, but capital punishment is on hold

Inland courts. But while jurors continue to recommend death, the sentences are effectively on hold while the protocols for California’s lethal injection procedures are under judicial review.
No executions have taken place in California since 2006, and there are no prospects for capital punishment to resume any time soon.
On Wednesday, Dec. 18 a Riverside County panel voted death for Robert Gonzales Castro for the 2008 killing of a Moreno Valley man over a stolen laptop computer.
On Thursday, Dec. 19, jurors in San Bernardino County recommended death for John Wayne Thomson, who killed a Lucerne Valley businessman, while a Riverside County jury voted the same fate for Jason Hann , who killed his two-month-old daughter in Desert Hot Springs.
All three will be sentenced early next year. Those who receive a formal death sentence will join the more than 740 inmates on California’s Death Row, including 80 from Riverside County and 40 from San Bernardino County. The two Inland counties combi…

Florida: Gulf Breeze teen charged as an adult with second-degree murder

A Gulf Breeze teenager will make a court appearance today after being charged Friday with second-degree murder in the Christmas Eve slaying of his mother, Sharon Aydelott, a teacher at Holley-Navarre Middle School.
William Brandon Aydelott, 17, was removed from the juvenile justice system and charged as an adult after a hearing at the Santa Rosa County Courthouse before Circuit Court Judge John Simon. He was taken to the county jail, but was not being housed with adult inmates because of his age, State Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Marcille said.
Aydelott is scheduled to be at a bond and probable cause hearing at the Santa Rosa County Jail at 9 a.m. Marcille said the State Attorney’s Office is recommending he be held without bond until his trial.
Marcille said the State Attorney’s Office requested a second-degree murder charge because that is the highest charge that can be filed in the case without the action of a grand jury. Marcille said a charge of premeditated first-degree mur…

Ohio: Kasich again stingy with clemencies

Gov. John Kasich remained consistent in flexing his clemency powers in his third year in office, acting conservatively in most cases but showing unusual consideration in one death-penalty case.
The Republican governor disposed of 391 clemency requests this year, granting 22 of them, or 5.6 percent. Most were for minor offenses, including drug charges and theft, and many of them were pardons for old convictions — consistent with his first two years in office.
Kasich’s handling of capital-punishment cases is somewhat different, however. While he allowed four killers to go to their deaths (one who took his own life) this year, Kasich made an unprecedented decision in the fifth case, postponing the execution of child-killer Ronald Phillips of Summit County for seven months so his “nonvital” organs could be harvested for transplanting as he requested.
It was the first time in U.S. history that a governor halted an execution for that reason. Phillips’ execution is scheduled for July 2.
“I …

Arkansas AG seeks executions for 7 felons

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas' attorney general asked Gov. Mike Beebe to set execution dates for seven death row inmates, according to letters obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel noted in the letters sent to Beebe late Thursday that six of the seven inmates are challenging the state's new lethal injection law and protocol, which calls for Arkansas to use a drug that has never before been used for lethal injections in the U.S.
However, McDaniel said there aren't any court orders in place preventing executions of those seven prisoners.
The Arkansas Supreme Court said earlier this year that such orders were dissolved when the justices struck down the state's lethal injection law in 2012. The court ruled that, in the old law, state legislators had ceded too much control over execution procedures to the Department of Correction.
So, legislators this year enacted a new law that says the state must use a lethal dose of a barbiturate. Howe…

Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy

Saudi blogger and activist, Raif Badawi, currently serving his 7-year prison term for “insulting Islam”, may soon appear in a higher court on graver charges of apostasy. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.
Raif Badawi is the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, created in 2008 to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia freely. Badawi’s persecution for what was described as “insulting Islam” started the same year the site was set up. The blogger then fled the country to escape arrest. He returned when the charges against him were dropped, but was eventually jailed in June 2012.
In July this year, a criminal court in Jeddah found the man guilty of insulting Islam through his online forum and of violating Saudi Arabia’s anti-cybercrime law. Badawi was sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in prison.
Badawi’s possible retrial is the latest episode in the country’s crackdown on dissent. Four members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) were j…

Ohio: 1982 killer of Cincinnati woman could avoid execution

CINCINNATI — An Ohio man who admitted to fatally slashing the throat of a 19-year-old woman in her home more than 30 years ago could be spared from execution because he didn’t rape her.
The case of David Steffen is set to be heard in Ohio’s 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in March. The court will decide whether the death penalty should be a sentencing option for Steffen, who turned 54 on Saturday at the Trumbull Correctional Institution in northeastern Ohio.
Once that’s decided, Steffen will be given a new sentence in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas in Cincinnati.
Steffen was 22 and on probation for an Indiana bank robbery when he began selling cleaning products door-to-door in Cincinnati.
On Aug. 19, 1982, Steffen went to the home of 19-year-old Karen Range and her parents, who weren’t home at the time. Range allowed Steffen inside so he could demonstrate a cleaning product in the bathroom.
Steffen later told police that he attacked Range after she screamed whe…

Iran: Two executions on Christmas day

Iran Human Rights,25: Two prisoners were hanged in the prison of Mashhad (north-eastern Iran) today, reported the Iranian state media.
Quoting the head of the prison organization in Khorasan Province, the news site Asr-e-Iran reported that two prisoners convicted of murder were hanged in the prison of Mashhad today, December 25.
One of the prisoners was a 30 year old drug-addict who was convicted of murdering his wife in 2009, while the other prisoner was a young man who had murdered the husband of a woman he had an affair with.
No further details were given in the report.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 25, 2013

Louisiana: Victims' family reacts to inmates' victory in death row lawsuit

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - "A slap in the face." That's how Albert Culbert feels about the federal court ruling last week that sided with 3 convicted killers who sued over conditions on Louisiana's death row.
Three inmates, Elzie Ball, Nathaniel Code and James Magee claimed in their civil rights lawsuit that they are being forced to live in extreme and dangerous heat, conditions so hot that they say it violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. The three men have been convicted of killing 11 people all together.
Nearly two decades ago, Culbert's brother, sister, niece and friend were murdered by convicted Shreveport serial killer Nathaniel Code.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson agreed, and ordered the state corrections department and the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola to give him a plan to cool the cells so the heat index never goes above 88 degrees.
In the ruling and order document Judge Jackson explained, "…

Four Prisoners Executed in Northern Iran

Iran Human Rights, December 22: Four prisoners were hanged in the prison of Rasht (northern Iranian province of Gilan).
According to the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in the province of Gilan, two prisoners were hanged in the prison of Rasht early Thursday morning December 20. The prisoners were identified as Y.D. and M. H. and were convicted of kidnapping and rape. Age of the prisoners was not mentioned in the report.
Two other prisoners identified as H. Y. and A. Sh. were hanged in the same prison on Monday December 17, reported the Judiciary. These prisoners were convicted of murder said the report.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 22, 2013

Proved Innocent 48 Hours Before Execution - Had Been Tortured to Confess
Iran Human Rights, 22 December 2013: A death row prisoner who had confessed to a murder was proved innocent 48 hours before his scheduled execution, according to the Iranian daily “Jam-e-Jam” today.
The man who was not identified by name, had been sentenced …

Italy expects fair trial for Marines in India

Rome, Dec 22 (IANS/AKI) Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has voiced support for two Marines charged with murder in India and urged a "fair and rapid" trial for the duo.
"Italians are truly close to you, our brothers, who are facing the unknown outcome of a dramatic and tortuous affair," Napolitano said this week. "We expect a fair and rapid trial, even if this may be hampered by imminent elections in India," Napolitano said in a video call to the Italian emba ssy in New Delhi, where the two Marines, currently on bail pending trial, are living and working.

Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were arrested for the killing of two Indian fisherman off the coast of Kerala in February last year. The Marines, who were on security duty aboard an oil tanker at the time of the incident, claim they merely fired warning shots into the sea in the direction of the fishermen's boat, believing they were pirates.
"The whole of the Italian govern…

Saudi prince saves killer from execution

December 19, 2013: A Saudi sentenced to death for killing another citizen is set to walk free after mediation by a member of the Saudi royal family succeeded in persuading the victim’s relatives to pardon the killer, a Saudi newspaper reported.
Faleh Al Subai was sentenced to death two years ago after he killed Abdul Aziz Al Muneef during a fight in the southern Saudi province of Asir.
The defendant was to be beheaded after the victim’s family refused to pardon him for diya (blood money), according to Sabq newspaper.
It said the victim’s relatives agreed to grant a pardon in court this week in response to mediation by the Prince of Asir Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdul Aziz.
Under Islamic law, which is strictly enforced in Saudi Arabia, a convicted killed can avert execution and walk free if pardoned by the victim’s relatives in return for diya.
Source: emirates24/7, December 19, 2013

India: Serial killer Cyanide Mohan sentenced to death

A court in Mangalore ruled the death penalty to Mohan Kumar also know as Cyanide Mohan for the murder of more than 20 women. Mohan, arrested in 2009, allegedly administered cyanide and after forcing women into sex, robbed of their possessions.
Mangalore, Dec 21: Most awaited judgements in this part of the country, the fourth additional district and session’s court Of Mangalore on Saturday December 21 sentenced to Serial killer Mohan Kumar (Cyanide Mohan) to death in the three cases he was convicted in.
Earlier this week, Mohan was convicted in three cases related to murders of Anitha of Barimar, Leelavathi of Vamadapadav and Sunanda of Peruvaje, Sullia. He is charged with killing another 17 women, all in the same way, by administering cyanide.
The death sentence will be carried out after confirmation from the high court.
Pronouncing the verdict, judge B K Nair said that these were the 'rarest of the rare cases' and the convict can be shown no mercy and deserves nothing less th…

Judge: Heat on Louisiana Death Row Unsafe for Inmates

Louisiana's death row gets so hot that it violates U.S. constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson sided with three condemned inmates who filed a lawsuit that said death row conditions during summer months were unsafe.
Jackson ordered the state corrections department and the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola to give him a plan by Feb. 17 that will cool the cells so the heat index never goes above 88 degrees.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Pam Laborde said the agency expects to appeal the judge's ruling.
The civil rights lawsuit was filed in June by the Promise of Justice Initiative, a New Orleans-based nonprofit group, on behalf of condemned killers Elzie Ball, Nathaniel Code and James Magee.
All three men have high blood pressure, along with other health conditions that their lawyers say the heat could make worse.
The lawsuit claimed heat conditions on were "extreme and u…

Florida Supreme Court approves state's new lethal injection procedure

The Florida Supreme Court approved the state's new lethal injection procedure Thursday, signaling that the stayed execution of an inmate on death row who challenged the procedure can take place.
The inmate, Askari Abdullah Muhammad, formerly known as Thomas Knight, filed an appeal to his execution on Dec. 3, on a claim that the drug to be used, midazolam hydrochloride, may not prevent pain.
The Supreme Court denied the claim, supporting the district court's ruling in late November.
The district court in Bradford County ruled that there was no evidence that the drug causes or is “very likely to cause serious illness and needless suffering,” and gives rise to “sufficiently imminent dangers.”
That opinion was based on testimony from an anesthesiologist, pharmacy professor and state inspector who witnessed an execution in which the drug was used — on William Happ on Oct. 15.
The Happ execution raised concerns after journalists' testimonies said that Happ moved several minutes…

Two executed in Iran for drug trafficking

Iran Human Rights, December 20: Two prisoners were hanged in the prison of Semnan (central Iran) today, reported the state-run Iranian news agency Aftab.
The prisoners who were not identified by name were convicted of possession and trafficking of more than 392 grams of Crystal and more than three kilograms of crack, respectively.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 20, 2013

Uganda Passes Law Punishing Homosexuality With Life in Prison; removal of the death penalty is a concession

Uganda’s parliament passed a bill that seeks to punish homosexuality by giving sentences to offenders of as long as life imprisonment.
The bill was passed today after a voice vote and will become law when President Yoweri Museveni gives assent, Mohammed Katamba, a spokesman for the Parliament, said by phone from the capital, Kampala.
Lawmaker Fox Odoi will challenge the bill in court, according to the Parliament’s Twitter feed.
“Two members on the committee which drafted the bill opposed it and wrote a minority report,” Katamba said, without naming the people.
The bill initially sought a death penalty for offenders with minors, which was dropped for a life sentence because of the East African nation’s plans to ratify the United Nations convention against capital punishment, Simon Lokodo, the minister of state for ethics and integrity, said in December last year.
“The removal of the death penalty is a concession, but life imprisonment and a raft of other alarming provisions remain,” M…

In Death Penalty’s Steady Decline, Some Experts See a Societal Shift

The death penalty in the United States continued its pattern of broad decline in 2013, with experts attributing the low numbers to a critical shortage of drugs used for lethal injection, increasing public concern over judicial mistakes and the expense of capital cases, and a growing preference for life without parole.
Eighty death sentences were imposed by American courts this year, compared with a peak of 315 in 1994, and 39 executions took place, compared with 98 in 1999, according to an annual accounting released on Thursday by the Death Penalty Information Center, a private group in Washington.
“A societal shift is underway,” said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the information center, which opposes capital punishment.
Click here to read the full article
Source: The New York Times, December 19, 2013

European boycott of death penalty drugs lowers rate of US executions

New Death Penalty Information Center report claims there were 39 executions this year – the lowest number since 1994.
The European-led boycott of medical drugs used by US corrections departments to execute prisoners is having such an impact that it has driven the number of executions to an almost all-time low, a leading authority on the death penalty has concluded.
The year-end report for 2013 from the Death Penalty Information Center, based in Washington, records that there were 39 executions this year – only the second time since 1994 that the number has fallen below 40. The report says a major factor behind the slump in judicial killings has been the difficulty states that still practice the death penalty are encountering in finding a consistent means of ending life.
California, Arkansas and North Carolina have all had effective moratoriums for the past seven years because they have failed to settle on a workable lethal injection protocol. Several other states are turning to untest…

Tennessee Death row inmate Michael Wayne Howell dies of natural causes

A death row inmate who killed two men in the 1980s died of natural causes Wednesday in Nashville.

Michael Wayne Howell, 54, died at 10:08 a.m. at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville, according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

Howell had been on death row since 1989, when he was convicted of the 1987 murder of Memphis convenience store clerk Alvin Kennedy.

Within 24 hours of that killing, he shot and killed 23-year-old Tinker Air Force Base Sgt. Charlene Calhoun in Oklahoma, for which he was also sentenced to death. His crime spree crossed multiple states and ended in a shootout with Florida authorities.

He twice appealed the Oklahoma case, convincing a court to throw out his death sentence because deputies talked to a juror and drank with her in a hotel room before he was sentenced.

His second appeal was thrown out.

Howell also made legal waves in 2001 when one of his filings in federal court led a judge to order federal marshals to seize Ten…

Iran death penalty debated by EU delegation in Tehran

A European Parliament delegation has visited Tehran to discuss a host of issues, including human rights.
The death penalty, which is legal in Iran, was a major topic at a meeting held on human rights issues on Tuesday, December 17.
The head of the Iranian Human Rights Council Mohammed-Javal Larijani would like to see some amendments to the country's legislation on capital punishment.
Larijani explained to euronews: "I personally think that we should revise the death penalty for combating narcotic crimes - and replace that with a collective joint effort to fight narcotic trafficking."
"The European community could be part of this cooperation and collective activity," Larijani added.
Finnish MEP Tarja Cronberg, a member of the EU delegation, said: "I think the Iranians feel very much that they are judged by double standards, and that they are criticised on some things that happen in other countries too. We try to convince them that the European Parliament a…

Egypt: Mohammed Morsi faces terror charges and death penalty

Former Egypt President Mohammed Morsi, ousted in July by a military coup and subsequently jailed by the now-ruling government, faces terror charges that carry the death penalty.
He is accused of conspiring with Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, as well as with Hezbollah, the militant organization that’s tied to Lebanon and maintains a strong presence in the Gaza, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
Prosecutors say that he and his aide revealed government secrets to these groups — as well as to members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. And they’re also accusing the former president and several leading Muslim Brotherhood figures with not only sponsoring terrorism, but also carrying out combat training for supporters that were aimed at upsetting Egypt’s stability, the Belfast Telegraph said.
A trial date has yet to be set.
But Mr. Morsi already faces charges of inciting murder against his political opponents while he held the high office. That trial continues in January.
But these latest…

Bali Nine delay on sentence applications

Bali: Four of the Bali Nine are confronting months of uncertainty as Indonesian authorities delay indefinitely a decision on the drug smugglers’ applications to reduce their life sentences.
The four, all of whom are serving life terms without a release date, have applied three times to have their sentences cut to 20 years. But they have been told recently that the Indonesian corrections office may not make a decision until next August because of a “backlog of applications”.
One of the four, Martin Stephens, told Fairfax Media he would be “upset if the bad relations between Australia and Indonesia was affecting my case”.
Stephens, Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen all applied last May for the sentence reduction which, in the Indonesian system, is usually a straightforward process. Prison authorities at both the Kerobokan prison and provincial bureaucrats in Bali found in their favour, but the four were disappointed last August when they were not granted the reduction…

Texas: DNA hearing set in Skinner case

An evidentiary hearing in the Hank Skinner case has been scheduled for Feb. 3 and 4 in 31st District Court, Texas Attorney General’s Office spokesman Tom Kelley said.
The hearing concerns DNA evidence that Skinner told the Texas Tribune will show someone else likely committed a 1993 triple murder.
Kelley declined to comment further on the case, but lawyers with the AG’s office previously told the Texas Tribune that the results reinforce Skinner’s guilt.
A Tarrant County jury in 1995 convicted Skinner of capital murder in the 1993 murders of Twila Busby, 40, and her sons, Elwin “Scooter” Caler, 22, and Randy Busby, 20, at their Pampa home. They were strangled, beaten or stabbed, prosecutors said.
In November 2011, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted Skinner’s execution for the third time since 1995 to consider how changes to the state’s post-conviction DNA law would affect his requests for testing. Prosecutors agreed to allow the testing in June 2012, and lawyers received tests…

Mississippi death penalty case before U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Jan. 10 whether to hear an appeal from a woman on Mississippi's death row who is seeking a new trial in the slaying of her husband based on claims that she was abused.
Court officials say a decision could be announced shortly after the court conference.
Michelle Byrom says she deserves a new trial because her original lawyer failed to present what could have been evidence of physical and sexual abuse by her husband.
Prosecutors argue the abuse issue was raised at her trial and rejected by the sentencing judge.
Byrom was convicted of capital murder in 2000. She was sentenced to death.
Court records show Edward Byrom Sr., an electrician, was shot June 4, 1999, at the couple's home in Iuka.
Source: Associated Press, December 18, 2013

Man’s hand cut off for theft on Saudi court orders

A Yemeni man had his hand cut off by Saudi police after he was convicted by a local court of carrying out many thefts in the conservative Muslim Gulf country.
The official Saudi press agency said Ahmed Mohammed Afandi was found guilty by a criminal court in the southern province of Jazan near the border with Yemen.
It said the sentenced by an initial court was upheld by the supreme court and ratified by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, adding that his right hand was cut off at the wrist.
Saudi Arabia strictly is one the most conservative Moslem nations and strictly enforces Sharia (Islamic law), under which convicted thieves have their right hand cut off by the sword in certain cases.
Source: Emirates 24/7, December 18, 2013

Oklahoma executes Johnny Dale Black

OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Oklahoma executed by lethal injection on Tuesday a 48-year-old man convicted of stabbing and beating a horse trainer to death in a case of mistaken identity.
Johnny Dale Black was pronounced dead at 6:08 p.m. Central Time at a state prison in McAlester, Oklahoma, state Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massey said.
At a hearing before the state Pardon and Parole Board last month, Black begged forgiveness for his actions. But he insisted that he was merely trying to defend his brother, Jimmy Black, from Pogue. The brothers had approached Pogue and Lewis after mistaking their car for that of someone else they had been searching for.
"I deserve to be punished for what I did, but not for defending my family," Johnny Black told the board in November.
About 15 minutes before the execution, fellow death row inmates began banging the doors of their cells in a tribute to the condemned man.
Witnesses to the execution included Black'…

Vietnam: Inmate executed by lethal injection for the 1st time in Ho Chi Minh City

December 16, 2013: For the very first time, a prisoner in Ho Chi Minh City was executed by lethal injection.
Tran Quoc Tuan, 36, from District 8 of Ho Chi Minh City, who was charged for robbery and the murder of Nguyen Thanh Duy, a motorbike taxi driver, was put to death by lethal injection on December 16 after the verdict was pronounced by the People’s Court and subsequent appeal in the Supreme Court.
Tuan is the first prisoner to be executed by lethal injection in Ho Chi Minh City.
Source: saigon-gpdaily, December 16, 2013

Ten Death Penalty Stories from 2013 Not to Have Missed

In 2013, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and our many allies and supporters in the death penalty abolition movement celebrated triumphs and learned from our setbacks. This list of important stories from 2013 emphasizes the successes but provides critical reminders of the challenges we still need to overcome.
Texas Executes 500th Person - Kimberly McCarthy, a former occupational therapist, was executed in June for the murder of her neighbor, Dorothy Booth, a former professor, and became the 500th person executed in Texas since 1976. Texas leads the nation in executions, but in recent years the number of death sentences issued has fallen. By December, Texas had executed eight additional people bringing its total executions since 1976 to 508.
Virginia Electrocutes Robert Gleason –In January, Robert Gleason was executed by electrocution in Virginia for the murder of Harvey Watson, a 63-year-old fellow prisoner.  Gleason was the first person since 2010 to cho…

Oklahoma to execute man convicted of killing horse trainer

(Reuters) - Oklahoma is scheduled to execute on Tuesday a man convicted of stabbing and beating a horse trainer to death in a case of mistaken identity.
Johnny Dale Black, 48, is scheduled to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. Central Time (0000 GMT) at a state prison in Oklahoma. He would be the sixth person executed in Oklahoma this year.
Black was convicted of first-degree murder and battery in the 1998 killing of Bill Pogue, 54, a horse trainer from Ringling, Oklahoma. He had been looking for someone else, according to court documents.
Black was one of five men who went out hunting for a man who had threatened one of the five because he had been having an affair with the man's soon to be ex-wife, according to court documents.
The group was looking for the man's black sport-utility vehicle and instead encountered Pogue, who had gone to a convenience store with his son-in-law, Richard Lewis, to buy chewing tobacco and was driving home in a black SUV.
The group of five men…