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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Georgia: Execution date set for man convicted in 1998 triple murders

Daniel Lucas
Daniel Lucas
Authorities say an April 27 execution date has been scheduled for a man convicted in the 1998 triple murders of a trucking company owner and his 2 children in Georgia

A late April execution date has been set for man convicted in the 1998 triple murders of a central Georgia trucking company owner and his 2 children, authorities said Thursday.

Daniel Anthony Lucas is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. on April 27 at the state prison in Jackson, said a statement from Commissioner Homer Bryson of the Department of Corrections. Georgia executes inmates using an injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital.

Lucas, 37, received the death sentence in 1999 for the killings of Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin, who interrupted a burglary at their home near Macon in central Georgia.

Another man convicted in the murders, Brandon Joseph Rhode, was put to death in September 2010. His execution was delayed by about a week after Rhode tried to kill himself by slashing his arms and throat just hours before he was initially set to be executed.

Lucas and Rhode were searching the Moss home for valuables in April 1998 when Bryan Moss saw them through a front window, and entered through a back door armed with a baseball bat, prosecutors have said. They say the two then wrestled Bryan to a chair and Lucas shot him in the shoulder.

Lucas then led the boy to a bedroom and shot him multiple times, prosecutors have said.

Rhodes met Kristin as she got home from school and forced her to sit on a chair and shot her twice with a pistol, according to court records. Rhode then ambushed Steven Moss when he arrived home, shooting him 4 times with the same pistol. Lucas later shot the 2 children again to make sure they were dead, according to the records.

Moss' wife, Gerri Ann, discovered the bodies when she returned home from work.

Several witnesses saw Rhode's vehicle as the pair fled the house and one of them identified Lucas as the passenger, prosecutors have said. Damage to the vehicle's front and rear bumpers matched damage to a propane tank and a cinder block at the Moss home.

Georgia has already executed 3 inmates this year and a 4th is scheduled to die Tuesday.

Source: Associated Press, April 8, 2016

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