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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Dylann Roof Calls No Witness, Offers No Evidence in Death Penalty Hearings

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Federal prosecutors rested their case on Monday that convicted killer and self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof should be executed for gunning down nine worshipers at a South Carolina church in 2015.

So did Roof, who is representing himself during the penalty phase of his federal trial.

Over four days of testimony, Roof, 22, didn't make much of an argument that he should be spared. He didn't challenge any of the government's witnesses — some 38 victims of the attack on Emanuel AME Church were expected to testify — nor did he call any of his own witnesses.

Roof did, however, seek to limit how many victims government prosecutors could present. (In a motion, he described their testimony as "excessive".) And in his opening statement last Wednesday — his first public statement since the June 17 attack — he explained the highly unusual choice to act as his own lawyer.

"I chose to represent myself to prevent my lawyers from presenting [my] mental health evaluation," Roof said, adding: "There is nothing wrong with me psychologically."

Meanwhile, the government called witness after witness to offer a window into the emotionally raw aftermath of the June 17 attack.

Denise Quarles, for instance, described in blunt terms how it felt to hear that her mother, Myra Thompson, had been killed at a place that her family had considered a sanctuary.

On Monday, Roof filed a motion that seeks to prevent government lawyers from using "unfair and constitutional" words and references in its closing argument on Tuesday. Among them are "evil," "hate" and a reference to Hitler from his personal writings.

Roof is also expected to deliver a closing argument, though it is unclear what he will say.

Source: NBC News, January 9, 2017

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