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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Japan: Man serving life for murder gets death sentence for another slaying

Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
A man sentenced to life over a high-profile yami saito (darkness website) murder case in 2007 has now been sentenced to death for a different slaying committed 9 years earlier.

Judge Taro Kageyama of the Nagoya District Court sentenced Yoshitomo Hori, 40, to death on Tuesday in a lay judge trial for the murder of Ichio Magoori, 45, and his wife, Satomi, 36, in Aichi Prefecture in 1998.

In the 2007 murder case, Hori was initially sentenced to death in 2009 for kidnapping, robbing and killing Rie Isogai, 31, in Nagoya with 2 men Hori met through a so-called yami saito for seeking "crime mates."

The sentence was reduced to life in prison in 2011 by a higher court, which acknowledged the possibility of his rehabilitation. The sentence was finalized by the Supreme Court in 2012.

"It is rare that a death penalty is handed down to a defendant after his life imprisonment was finalized for a different case," said Hiroki Nakajima, a criminal law professor at Heisei International University.

According to the indictment, Hori conspired with 2 different men and killed the Magoori couple in an apartment in Hekinan and stole Y60,000 from them in June 1998.

Hori is also suspected of assaulting a woman in her 70s in an apartment in Nagoya and robbing her in 2006.M

One of Hori's accomplices in the Isogai murder, Kenji Kawagishi, was sentenced to life in prison, while the other, Tsukasa Kanda, was sentenced to death. He was hanged this past June.

Source: Japan Times, December 15, 2015

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