FEATURED POST

Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Image
The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Roof's mental state emerging as key issue in Charleston church killings

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
State of mind would come into play when jurors weight death penalty or life in prison without parole

The mental state of Dylann Roof of Columbia, an avowed white supremacist, has emerged as a key issue in his upcoming federal death penalty trial for killing 9 African-American church members.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers discussed procedural issues connected to Roof's state of mind at a hearing Monday before U.S. Judge Richard Gergel without revealing details about what conditions he might have.

Roof, 22, is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 7 for the hate crime killings at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston.

Before the June 2015 church shootings, Roof published a manifesto on the Internet in which he said he was going to start a race war.

His state of mind would come into play when jurors deliberate whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

His lead attorney, David Bruck, has repeatedly said Roof will plead guilty in return for a sentence of life without parole.

That offer came after Roof confessed to law enforcement to killing the 9 parishioners during a Bible study meeting, with evidence against him also appearing to be overwhelming. The gun that Roof is said to have used has been recovered.

Much of the hearing was devoted to discussing when and how much of the results of separate pre-trial mental tests of Roof conducted by the prosecutors and defense lawyers would be divulged to each other in advance of the death penalty phase of the trial.

Evidence offered by defense lawyers against the death penalty is called "mitigation" evidence. Much of that, according to the discussion and filings, will revolve around results of current and future mental health tests of Roof.

Bruck agreed when Gergel asked "Am I right to say they (Roof's mitigation defenses) would fall under the broad umbrella of mental health issues?"

It is unknown what type of mental health issues will be presented at trial.

As part of the pre-trial jockeying by opposing lawyers, the timing of when to give mental health test results to the other side is a key issue.

Gergel ordered mental health examinations to be videotaped, but said he will decide later whether to delete some sections of video - as opposed to the audio - if thought to infringe on Roof's right to a fair trial.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Nov. 7. The trial is expected to go through Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

Roof, who waived his right to appear in court Monday, is scheduled to go to trial in state court in mid-January. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is also seeking the death penalty on murder charges.

Gergel ordered Monday that the jury pool in the upcoming federal trial will be drawn from an area roughly south of a line from Georgetown County on the coast to Aiken County.

More than 20 relatives of those killed were at the hearing.

Source: thestate.com, July 19, 2016


⚑ | Report an error, an omission; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; send a submission; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running!


"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Nevada law says chief medical officer must advise on executions despite ethical clash

Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Iran: Woman Asylum Seeker Lashed 80 Times After Being Deported From Norway

Poorly executed - Indiana inmate challenges state's lethal cocktail change

Arkansas death-row inmate tries to drop appeal blocking execution; request denied

20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France

Iran: Prisoners Hanged in Public While Crowd Watched

Iran: More Public Executions, Prisoner Hanged While Crowd Watched

Patrick Henry, French child murderer in famous case, to be released

"I cannot execute convicted murderers," Tanzania's president declares