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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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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…

Death Penalty Opponents Deliver Over 250,000 Petition Signatures To Gov. Fallin

Richard Glossip
Richard Glossip
Death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean delivered over 250,000 online petition signatures to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday morning, requesting a 60-day stay of execution for Richard Glossip.

Glossip is scheduled to be executed on September 16.

Glossip was found guilty in the murder-for-hire scheme of Barry Van Treese in 1997. Prejean said Glossip's defense was ineffective and she believes he is innocent. She said Glossip will die based on the testimony of Justin Sneed, the maintenance worker who killed Van Treese. Sneed said Glossip hired him to do it.

"There's not a fingerprint of Richard Glossip on the money," Prejean said. "There's no forensic evidence to corroborate what Justin Sneed said. Solely on his word, Richard is going to his death."

Glossip's execution gained international attention after Prejean and actress Susan Sarandon called on Fallin to halt his death. Sarandon portrayed Prejean in the 1995 film "Dead Man Walking."

Prejean called Gov. Fallin "a wonderful person" and appealed to her to review Glossip's case.

"When there is a question, even though it's been through the court system, all these questions that enough people are concerned," Prejean said. "You do not want the shadow of the doubt. The Supreme Court has said death is different. You have to make sure it is beyond the shadow of the doubt."

Fallin spokesperson Alex Weintz said the execution will go forward. He said 2 juries found Glossip guilty and both sentenced him to death. Fallin won't 2nd-guess them.

"He was given multiple appeals in state and federal court, including the Supreme Court of the United States," Wentz said. "He made his argument before the Pardon and Parole Board. And those were the arguments we heard today from Sister Prejean and others."

Weintz said the governor's powers are limited in this situation. The most she can do is issue a 60-day stay. She cannot call off the execution, and she cannot grant clemency without a recommendation from the Pardon and Parole Board.

Richard Glossip's daughter, Christina Glossip-Hodge, said she last saw her father on Wednesday and described his mental state as "positive."

"He hasn't gotten down. He's got faith. He's got a lot of faith. He's at a peace that I haven't seen anyone at in my entire life," Glossip-Hodge said.

Glossip will be the 1st inmate to be executed in Oklahoma after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the use of midazolam in executions does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Source: KGOU news, Sept. 4, 2015

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