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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…

Missouri executes Earl Forrest

Earl Forrest
Earl Forrest
A man convicted of killing 2 people in a drug dispute and a sheriff's deputy in a subsequent shootout was put to death Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre, Missouri.

The procedure started at 7:10 p.m. and time of death was declared at 7:18 p.m.


Forrest's attorney, Kent Gipson,sought a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster countered that the Supreme Court has already resolved that debate.

Early in the afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Earl Forrest.

A clemency request was turned down by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon hours before Forrest's scheduled execution.

According to court documents, Forrest had been drinking when he went to Smith's home in the southern Missouri town of Salem and demanded that she fulfill her promise to buy a lawn mower and mobile home for him in exchange for introducing her to a source for methamphetamine.

Wells was visiting Smith at the time. An argument ensued, and Forrest shot Wells in the face. He shot Smith 6 times and took a lockbox full of meth valued at $25,000.

When police converged on Forrest's home, he shot Barnes and Dent County Sheriff Bob Wofford, according to court documents. Forrest was also shot in the exchange of gunfire, along with his girlfriend, Angela Gamblin. Wofford and Gamblin survived.

Missouri has been one of the most prolific states for executions in recent years, 2nd only to Texas.

The state has executed 18 prisoners since November 2013, including 6 last year. Earl Forrest becomes the 1,436th person executed in the U.S. since 1976.

Source: The Associated Press, Twitter live feed, Rick Halperin, May 12, 2016 (local time)


Activist against death penalty detained in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY(AP) - An activist who opposes the death penalty has been temporarily detained at the Missouri Capitol after attempting to enter the governor's office.

Jeff Stack was handcuffed and detained for trespassing Wednesday when he tried to open a door leading from the public waiting area to the inner office of Gov. Jay Nixon.

Stack said he wanted to talk to Nixon about stopping Wednesday's scheduled execution of Earl Forrest. He said death penalty opponents have "been polite for decades" but that "the governor hasn't really listened."

Capitol police later removed the handcuffs, saying no charges were being pressed.

Stack is a registered lobbyist for Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Source: The Associated Press, May 11, 2016

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