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The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

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With the execution of Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy. 
On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and a series of other atrocities. None of the seven of the executed men were directly involved in releasing the gas on that tragic day; four of those who did remain under a death sentence, and their executions may be imminent.
The seven executed were involved in planning and organizing the various crimes committed by Aum. Asahara Shoko (born Matsumoto Chizuo), was the founder and leader of the movement, having developed the doctrinal system instrumental to Aum’s violence and its concept of a final cosmic war of good (Aum) against evil (the corrupt material world and everyone — from the Japanese government to the general public — who lived in it). Asahara is believed to have given …

Washington death-row inmate Dwayne A. Woods dies of cardiac arrest

Dwayne A. Woods
Dwayne A. Woods
Dwayne A. Woods was convicted in 1997 of killing two women in Spokane Valley.

One of the nine people on Washington state’s death row has died of cardiac arrest, while in a medical facility for a chronic illness, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Dwayne A. Woods, 46, sentenced to death nearly 20 years ago, died Sunday night at the Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, according to the Department of Corrections, which noted that he had been under observation for a chronic illness. The department news release gave no other details about his medical condition.

An autopsy will be performed, the news release said.

Woods, who was in the state prison in Walla Walla, was convicted in June 1997 on two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the killings of Telisha Shaver, 22, and Jade Moore, 18.

Shaver and Moore were raped and beaten on the head with a baseball bat in a Spokane Valley mobile home in April 1996, according to The Spokesman-Review.

The two women knew Woods, then 25, because he had been dating Shaver’s sister.

Gov. Jay Inslee in 2014 announced a moratorium on state executions, saying the way the death penalty is applied is too flawed to let more go forward.

Inslee last week signed a reprieve for Clark Richard Elmore, who had been convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, Kristy Ohnstad, in Bellingham in 1995. Elmore will remain in prison for life. With his legal appeals exhausted, Elmore’s execution had been scheduled for Jan. 19.

Despite Inslee’s moratorium, executions are still part of state law, so any reprieves require that Inslee exercise his authority as governor.

No execution date had been set for Woods.

Source: Seattle Times, Seattle Times staff, January 2, 2017

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