Iran: Annual report on the death penalty 2017

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 13, 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
This number is comparable with the execution figures in 2016 and confirms the relative reduction in the use of the death penalty compared to the period between 2010 and 2015. 
Nevertheless, with an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per one million inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
2017 Annual Report at a Glance:
At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges - 98 more than in 2016.At le…

Alabama: Arthur's execution set for Thursday

Tommy Arthur
Tommy Arthur
Douglas Arthur and his sister, Sherrie Stone, have been on an emotional rollercoaster for 40 years, and now they are preparing for what they believe could be their last ride.

Their father, Tommy Arthur, is scheduled to be executed Nov. 3, for his involvement in the 1982 murder-for-hire death of Muscle Shoals resident Troy Wicker.

"I was 15 when my father went to prison (for the 1st time). I am now 55, and been through 40 years of appeals and scheduled executions," said Stone. "This is my father's 7th scheduled execution. I'm not sure if he will be executed. The 6 previous scheduled executions, a few right up to just hours before, were stayed."

Douglas Arthur, Stone's younger brother, believes his father's execution will happen this time.

Like his sister, Arthur has endured 6 occasions when it appeared his father would be executed.

Arthur, now 54, said he has visited his father numerous times in prison and still keeps in contact through telephone calls. In a recent call, his father said he would be moved to a holding cell early this week for inmates who are about to be executed.

"I've been down there to see him a lot, but haven't lately," Arthur said. "I haven't seen him in about 8 years."

Stone has never taken a stance "one way or the other" on the death penalty. But this week she said the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 should be amended if the death penalty is going to be continued to be used.

"My stance now is the death penalty is cruel and inhumane. It should be abolished," Stone said. "Not because it is cruel and inhumane to death row inmates, because it is cruel and inhumane to the families of the victims and the families of the convicted."

Speaking from experience, she said every time a death row inmate is scheduled to die, families pack up and go to death row, get ready for the execution, relive the crimes and trauma all over again.

"I still have the same suit I bought for the 1st (execution)," she said. "I've made funeral arrangements 6 times; 40 years of this is not justice."

The Alabama Supreme Court set execution dates for Stone's father in 2011, twice in 2007, in 2008, in 2012 and in 2015. Earlier this month the Nov. 3 date was set.

Stone described the emotions of a death row experience as a combination of a "poison and a terminal illness."

"It's like a slow poison robbing you of life and the ability to put it behind you," she said. "At least life in prison without the possibility of parole eliminates so many appeals and the scheduled executions.

"For the death penalty to be called justice is a lie to the American people," she said. "I wonder how many families feel closure after decades of this - the answer may surprise all of us."

Arthur, who now lives in Florida, said he opposes any form of execution.

"I think it's unethical to kill anybody at 74 years old, whether it's my dad or not," he said. "I just don't think it's ethical for anybody to kill anybody. In the Bible, that's one of the commandments is thou shall not kill. I don't believe Christ would want anybody to kill anybody."

The crime

Tommy Arthur was accused of having a relationship with Judy Wicker, and then being paid $10,000 by her to kill her husband, Troy Wicker.

Reports indicate Arthur was on state work release when he shot and killed Wicker while the victim was asleep in his bed in Muscle Shoals.

In October 1982, Judy Wicker was found guilty of murder in connection with her husband's death. She was sentenced to life and received parole after serving 10 years in prison.

"I feel very strongly that our judicial system has serious flaws, especially in death sentences," Stone said. "With that being said, I used that to justify many of my actions when fighting for justice for my father, when deep down I really felt he deserved being where he is.

"I spent so many years, decades, in a cycle of trying to free myself, thinking if I could just prove he was innocent, or guilty for that matter, it would free me of the cycle and set me free. Words cannot describe the emotional turmoil and struggles within myself throughout most of my life. The relationship issues, food struggles, excessive behavior to name a few."

She said she saw a few therapists, but that didn't help.

"They did not have a clue what to do, except try and prescribe drugs," she said. "A few suggested support groups. There were not too many groups out there where your father is on death row. I can tell you all the groups I tried. My stories were very different than all the others."

Lost childhoods

Douglas Arthur said he and his sister had a difficult childhood because of their father's arrests. Their mother did not keep the children, so they lived with their grandparents.

"We had a dysfunctional family for sure," he said. "Me and my sister took care of each other growing up. I had to learn how to get out and mow yards and all that to have something to eat.

"It was a hard life. We're OK now, but I have bad memories because I never got to grow up with my dad."

Stone said their father was violent, beating their mother.

"He beat and shot my first stepmother. He beat my second stepmother, and shot and killed her sister and almost killed her cousin," Stone said. "He went to prison for that, got out and killed Troy Wicker while on work release. He went to death row, got several new trials. While being held in county jail for one of those trials, he escaped, shot a police officer, robbed a bank and took a hostage.

"I was arrested (in connection to the escape) and almost went to prison. Everyone thought I helped him escape. I stood trial and was acquitted," she said.

She said her father beat her, her brother and their pets, and because of all the violence, she said she can't remember large portions of her childhood.

She does remember a time when her father was on work release and would bring Troy Wicker's wife, Judy, to her grandparents' house in Sheffield.

"Shortly after, Troy was dead," Stone said.

Stone described her father as "evil, violent and manipulative." She added his actions have negatively affected so many people's lives and "left a wake of destruction in his path."

"To most people it is hard to comprehend that one of your parents can be evil," she said. "It is unconceivable that a parent would prey on their daughter or son's deep desire to have a parent that is normal and loving, and to use that to their advantage at any cost - even to the point of risking their lives and/or freedom."

Arthur said his father's capital murder conviction in the Troy Wicker case crushed his hopes of his father's release from prison.

"All of a sudden, bam, they tried to pin this killing of Troy Wicker on him," Douglas Arthur said. "I was like, 'What? My dad was fixing to get out and now they're having a trial?'"

Things spiraled from there for Arthur, who graduated from Sheffield High School in 1981, but does not have pleasant memories of his school years.

"We just lost everything we had," he said. "When I was going to school, people disowned me. I couldn't get friends, and nobody at Sheffield would date me. I had a girlfriend from Muscle Shoals."

Trying to move on

Despite everything he has been through, Arthur said, "I love my dad and always have."

Arthur and his sister both live in Florida, trying to move on with their lives. He said he has undergone 8 knee surgeries. He married twice with both ending in divorce.

He said his sister, who works in real estate, appears to have given up on the case and is trying to move on with her life. "Sherrie's just like, there's nothing else we can do."

Stone said she is ready to end the cycle that she has been in that revolves around her father.

"I am curious how many of us have been in the vicious cycle created by his actions," she said. "I am ending the cycle. The truth is what sets me free. It is my gift to give myself, and I have the power.

"My heart goes out to the families of those he killed and to the families of those he injured in some way. I am so sorry for your loss and pain. I pray you find peace if you have not been able to. There are probably many others we do not know about.

"The truth always finds you, no matter who you are. His truth has come full circle. So has mine. One chapter closes, another chapter begins. Life for life if you will."

Arthur and Stone have been to Holman Correctional Facility previous times when they thought their father would be executed. They aren't planning on being there this time.

Arthur said some members of the church he attends said they are praying for him and will continue to on the scheduled execution day. A neighbor plans to stay with him while it takes place, and so will his sister.

"The truth always finds you and at some point you either face it or continue a vicious cycle," Stone said. "I have decided to face mine and end the cycle. I'm pretty sure my father's truth has found him as well."

Source: Times Daily, October 30, 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! DONATE!

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Missouri inmate Russell Bucklew receives reprieve before execution

Singapore: Drug trafficker hanged after last-ditch bid to reopen case fails

Saudi Arabia beheads Indonesian worker despite Jokowi’s pleas for clemency

Texas: Court findings offer hope for death row inmate in case tainted by 'Dr. Death'

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

Gov. Kasich, heed Ohio Parole Board and don't execute William Montgomery

Death sentence reinstated for Mississippi's only woman on death row

Supreme Court refuses to reconsider death penalty in Arizona case

Japan cult members could be hanged any day for subway attack

Iran: Two Brothers Hanged in Public over Armed Robbery Charges