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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

Death sentence upheld for killer of 5 in rural Japan

Execution chamber at Tokyo Detention Center
Execution chamber at Tokyo Detention Center
The Hiroshima High Court on Tuesday upheld the death penalty for a 66-year-old man convicted of killing 5 neighbors and setting fire to 2 of their homes in a remote community in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 2013.

In July last year, the Yamaguchi District Court found Kosei Homi guilty of killing a woman and a couple, all in their 70s, by hitting their heads with a wooden staff before setting fire to their homes in the mountainous community of Shunan in July 2013. 

He was also convicted of murdering 2 other elderly people.

In the appellate trial, Homi's lawyers pleaded his innocence, arguing he shouldn't be held criminally responsible due to insanity or diminished mental capability.

Although the lower court acknowledged that Homi suffered from delusional disorder, it determined that Homi was fully competent to be held legally responsible.

According to the lower court ruling, Homi was diagnosed with delusional disorder in a psychiatric test and committed the crimes in anger under the delusion that other residents were whispering about him.

The lower court verdict said Homi was aware that he was committing a crime and thus deserved the death penalty.

The lower court also said Homi's fingerprints were found on the wooden staff.

Source: Japan Times, September 13, 2016

Death penalty upheld over two murders in Osaka in 2011


The Osaka High Court upheld the death penalty Wednesday (09/13) for a man convicted of murdering a former corporate executive and a housewife in separate cases in western Japan in late 2011.

The court dismissed an appeal against capital punishment by Munehiro Nishiguchi, 55, whose defense counsel had said he could have been suffering diminished capacity, citing cerebral atrophy the counsel said was recognized in an imaging scan.

The high court said the man was not suffering from an impairment that could have affected his actions.

The defense appealed the high court decision.

According to the high court ruling, Nishiguchi killed Takeko Tamura, a 67-year-old housewife, in November 2011 at a parking lot of a shopping mall in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, and then stole her money.

In the following month, he choked to death Soshu Ozaki, an 84-year-old former vice president of cooking device maker Zojirushi Corp, at the victim's home in the same city and stole about 800,000 yen.

Source: Japan Today, September 14, 2016

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