FEATURED POST

Texas: With a man's execution days away, his victims react with fury or forgiveness

Image
For the past 3 months, Christopher Anthony Young has awoken in his 10-by-6 foot concrete cell on death row and had to remind himself: He's scheduled to die soon.
As the day crept closer, the thought became more constant for Young, who's sentenced to die for killing Hasmukh "Hash" Patel in 2004.
"What will it feel like to lay on the gurney?" he asks himself. "To feel the needle pierce my vein?"
Mitesh Patel, who was 22 when Young murdered his father, has anxiously anticipated those moments, as well. He wonders how he will feel when he files into the room adjacent to the death chamber and sees Young just feet away through a glass wall.
For years, Patel felt a deep hatred for Young. He wanted to see him die. Patel knew it wouldn't bring his father back. But it was part of the process that started 14 years ago when Young, then 21, gunned down Hash Patel during a robbery at Patel's convenience store on the Southeast Side of San Antonio.
3 mont…

New Mexico: Bid to reinstate death penalty likely to stall in Legislature

A push to reinstate New Mexico's death penalty for certain violent crimes could end up stuck in neutral in the coming 60-day legislative session, after Democrats reclaimed the state House in last week's election and expanded their majority in the Senate.

Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, who sponsored the 2009 legislation that abolished New Mexico's death penalty and replaced it with life in prison without the possibility of parole, said she believes the effort to bring it back will get a cool reception from Democrats, after some Republicans used the issue as campaign fodder during the election.

"We wouldn't really have an appetite for it," Chasey said this week, adding it's unlikely the legislation would be passed out of its first assigned committee. "To me, it makes no sense from a policy standpoint."

However, Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, who co-sponsored a death penalty reimposition bill during last month's special legislative session - it passed the House but was not voted on in the Senate - said she still plans to try, despite the election results that included the defeat of 1 of the bill's other co-sponsors.

"I do still intend to carry (the bill)," Youngblood told the Journal . "I think the people of New Mexico - and specifically, my constituents - want it."

She also said she's been looking at other states' death penalty laws and is open to making changes to the special session legislation.

Gov. Susana Martinez called in August for the death penalty to be brought back - at least for those convicted of killing children or law enforcements officers - after a spate of high-profile crimes sent shock waves through the state.

The crimes included the death of 10-year-old Victoria Martens of Albuquerque, who police say was drugged, raped and killed by 3 adults, including her mother, and the killing of police officers in Hatch and Alamogordo earlier this year.

Martinez, the state's 2-term Republican governor, expressed optimism the death penalty proposal and other criminal penalty bills could find traction in the Legislature, which will have some new faces in leadership positions, because Democrats won the House and longtime Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, was defeated in his re-election bid.

"The governor is going to continue to pursue legislation that cracks down on violent repeat criminals with tougher penalties, and that includes reinstating the death penalty for the most heinous crimes," Martinez spokesman Michael Lonergan said. "The governor believes legislators will listen to victims' families and the general public who want to see these bills pass."

But it appears several legislators would have to change their minds before the death penalty could be reinstated.

During the special session, which ended Oct. 6, the House voted 36-30 in favor of the bill to reinstate the death penalty, with all House Republicans present voting in favor and all House Democrats voting in opposition.

Since then, Democrats picked up likely 5 and possibly 6 seats in last week's election, apparently giving them a 38-32 majority in the House. Of the newly elected Democrats, at least t3 said in response to a Journal questionnaire that they would oppose bringing back capital punishment. Only one, Candie Sweetser of Deming, said she would support the proposal, and several others were noncommittal.

The questionnaire responses would appear to suggest defeat for the death penalty proposal in the House, unless minds are changed. And that's not even considering the Senate, where Democrats picked up a net of 2 seats and will apparently enter the 2017 session with a 26-16 advantage over Republicans.

House Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, who is expected to be elected House speaker on the opening day of the 2017 session, suggested death penalty bills will not be a top focus once Democrats assume control of the House.

"If a member wants to introduce legislation reintroducing the death penalty, they would certainly have that option," Egolf said in a recent interview. "But I think it's fair to say it will not be a priority that takes precedence over putting people back to work."

Nationally, there's been a movement away from the death penalty in recent years. 19 states, including New Mexico, currently do not have death penalty laws on their books, and 3 of those states - Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland - have abolished capital punishment in the past 5 years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

However, last week's election gave hope to capital punishment supporters, as voters in Nebraska voted overwhelmingly to restore the death penalty and voters in California narrowly rejected a proposed repeal of capital punishment.

Before abolishing the death penalty, New Mexico had executed just one inmate since 1960. That happened in 2001, when Terry Clark received a lethal injection after being convicted of raping and killing Dena Lynn Gore, a 9-year-old Artesia girl.

The 1st day to start filing legislation for the 2017 session is Dec. 15.

Source: Albuquerque Journal, November 17, 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)

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejects clemency for Chris Young

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

Alabama: 8 death row inmates request execution by nitrogen gas

Scott Dozier case: Hours before execution, judge in pharma company suit halts use of drug

Utah to seek death penalty for parents charged with killing daughter, covering her in makeup

Indonesia: Gay couple publicly whipped after vigilante mob drags them out of beauty salon

Fentanyl And The Death Penalty

Sale of guillotine divides France

Chinese court sentences man to death over school stabbings

The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?