FEATURED POST

Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

California: Father admits killing son in court, escapes death penalty

Aramazd Andressian Sr.
Aramazd Andressian Sr.
ALHAMBRA, Calif. (AP) — A father acknowledged he killed his 5-year-old son after a bitter custody battle with his estranged wife, who gripped an urn with the boy's ashes and sobbed uncontrollably Tuesday in the front row of a California courtroom.

Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, had his hands shackled at the waist and spoke softly when a prosecutor asked him if he willfully killed his son, Aramazd Jr. Andressian simply replied, "Yes."

He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the April death of the boy after a family trip to Disneyland. Authorities said Andressian wanted to get back at his estranged wife, and the slaying set off a two-month search.

Investigators believe the young boy was killed on April 21. His father was found passed out in a park the next day, sparking an intensive search for the boy. Andressian had taken prescription pills and was found in a car in the park doused in gasoline in an apparent suicide attempt, sheriff's officials have said.

Andressian's attorney declined to comment when asked why Andressian killed his son but said the slaying was "not planned" and his client told investigators where to find the boy's body.

The boy's body was found on June 30 near Lake Cachuma outside Santa Barbara — about 145 miles (233 kilometers) away from Anaheim, where Disneyland is located.

Andressian told investigators that he drove to the lake the day his son was killed. Investigators had searched the lake several times before the boy's remains were found.

Prosecutors called the evidence in the case overwhelming but have refused to say how Aramazd Jr. died.

"This is a tragedy. Cases like this really tug at your heartstrings," Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum said outside Los Angeles County Superior Court in suburban Alhambra.

Andressian's attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, said his client pleaded guilty partly to avoid the possibility of prosecutors adding a charge that could result in the death penalty.

"He is beyond words, in regretting having committed such an act," Rodriguez said.

Andressian faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 23.

Source: The News and Advance, Michael Balsamo, August 1, 2017

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