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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…

Death penalty call for accused Australian child sex predator Peter Scully in Philippines

Peter Scully is facing child sex abuse and human trafficking charges.
Peter Scully (center) is facing child sex abuse and human trafficking charges.
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines: Prosecutors in the Philippines have revealed they will call for the death penalty to be re-introduced in the case of alleged Australian child sex predator and 'dark web' mastermind Peter Scully.

Chief prosecutor Jaime Umpa told Fairfax Media that the 52 year-old Scully's deeds were the most shocking cases of child abuse and trafficking officials had seen.

Prosecutors allege that Scully directed a video involving torture and horrific injuries to an 18-month-old baby and participated in many debased acts against children. Prosecutors said he was for several years the mastermind of a worldwide syndicate selling extreme videos of child sex and torture.

On Tuesday, Scully was led handcuffed into a court in the southern Philippines to face the first six of 75 charges that could see him become the first person to received the death penalty in the Philippines in more than a decade. During the hearing he laughed and joked with his co-accused.

While naked and masked, one of Scully's two Philippine girlfriends is alleged to have inflicted the pain on the baby girl in a video called "Daisy's Destruction" that Scully is alleged to have sold to internet clients for up to $10,000.

Prosecutors will allege another 11-year-old girl whose body was found in a shallow grave under a house rented by Scully was repeatedly sexually abused by him and then strangled.

Eight other girl victims aged up to 13 at the time of the alleged offences are being held in witness protection while Scully pleads not guilty in court hearings that are expected to take years to be completed in the Philippines' log-jammed judicial system.

Scully has decided to contest the charges - putting his alleged victims through the ordeal of testifying in court - despite repeatedly telling Philippine media last year he was "remorseful" for what he had done to children.

Wearing a yellow prison T-shirt and runners, Scully looked tense and ignored questions from Fairfax Media as he was led into a special court set up in Cagayan de Oro's city hall on Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege that Scully was the white male person, whose face was pixilated or hidden, captured in videos forcing children to commit depraved acts. Many of the investigators, journalists and officials who have watched the videos have been brought to tears.

On the eve of Tuesday's hearing Mr Umpa, the chief prosecutor of northern Mindanao region, called for the reintroduction of the death penalty in the Philippines so that Scully, a Melbourne businessman, could be executed.

"If I had my choice it would be death for Scully. I want it to happen," Mr Umpa told Fairfax Media in Cagayan de Oro, a city of one million people where Scully allegedly lured impoverished children from shopping malls.

Click here to read the full article

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Lindsay Murdoch, September 20, 2016

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