Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Nebraska death row inmate Michael Ryan dies in prison

Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan
Cult killer and death-row inmate Michael Ryan died of natural causes Sunday.

Ryan, 66, died at 7:45 p.m. at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, where he'd been since the prison opened in 2001 and death row inmates were moved there from the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

The sister of victim James Thimm, Miriam Thimm Kelle, told state lawmakers in March that Ryan had a medical condition that would kill him soon. 

She was testifying in favor of abolishing the death penalty. At that same hearing, Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers said Ryan had terminal brain cancer.

“He had a long-term medical condition,” Tecumseh spokeswoman Jessica Houseman said Monday.

Officials found no sign of trauma but will do an autopsy, Houseman said. 

As is required by state law, a grand jury will investigate the death because it happened while Ryan was in custody.

Ryan was sentenced to death in one of the state’s most infamous and brutal murder cases: the 1985 cult-related torture and killings of Thimm, 26, and Luke Stice, 5, near Rulo. Ryan led the cult, which believed the end of the world was coming.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, Jonathan Edwards, May 25, 2015

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