USA | States Continue to Oppose DNA Testing in Death Penalty Appeals, Attorneys Ask Why Don’t They Want to Learn the Truth?

The last 3 men scheduled for execution in Georgia said they did not commit the killing and that DNA testing that was not available at the time of trial could prove it. In 2 of the cases, victim family members supported the request for testing. Prosecutors opposed the requests, and the courts refused to allow the testing. 2 of the 3 men were executed, with doubts still swirling as to their guilt.
Shawn Nolan, a federal defender who represented Georgia prisoner Ray “Jeff” Cromartie, summed up the sentiments of the prisoners, families, and defense attorneys in these cases. “I’d like to know what the state is so scared of,” he said. “Why are they afraid of the truth? This is sad and so disturbing.”
“We have the capability of testing a wide range of forensic evidence that we couldn’t test in the past,” said Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham. “It is a powerful tool to get to the truth and to get important answers as to whether the criminal legal system has b…

Haitian-American sentenced to death in Florida

Florida's death chamber
Friday in Florida, Haitian-American Mesac Damas (41) was sentenced to death by Collier County Judge Christine Greider for killing his wife and five children in September 2009. 

He was sentenced after pleading guilty to 6 counts of 1st degree murder, waived his right to a jury and also waived his right to have his lawyers present mitigating evidence in his favor. 

Judge Greider told the court, "Because death is a unique punishment in its finality, its application is reserved only for those cases where only the most aggravating and least mitigating circumstances exist." Note that the Mesac Damascus affair had been dragging on for almost 8 years, marked by numerous appeals by his lawyers to avoid the death penalty.

"I love my people, my wife and children. But this thing happened [...] I wish I had an answer for it, but I don't," said Damascus in court "From now on, I'm just going to put my trust in him, and say sorry to the whole world."

Let's recall that in September 2009 Damascus savagely killed in North Naples, in the family home, his wife, Guerline Dieu Damas, 32, and his five children: Michzach, 9, Marven, 6, Maven, 5, Megan , 3 years and Morgan 11 months, cutting their throats. 

At the time, Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk described the killings as "the most horrible and violent event in the county's history."

After the murder Mesac Damascus had fled to Haiti where he was arrested 3 days later by the National Police of Haiti (PNH) and extradited and handed over to US justice. 

Damascus said at the time that he did not run away but that he went to Haiti to say goodbye to his family and that he then intended to go to court.

After acknowledging killing his family at a "Naples News" reporter on his return to the United States, he said he wanted the jury to immediately send him to death before adding that his children and his wife were innocent... 

At the reporter's question "Then why, why would you kill them ?" he would have answered "The devil exists... When I did it my eyes was closed, right now my eyes are open [...]"

A statement that had contributed, among other things, to the delay in his trial, his lawyers having claimed that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury and had a long history of mental illness that had begun during his childhood in Haiti. 

A defense rejected by the court, the public prosecutor having brought elements of premeditation including the purchase of the knife a few days before the tragedy, and proved that the accused was perfectly able to distinguish what is good from what is wrong and were therefore responsible for his actions at the time of the murder.

Source: haitilibre.com, October 29, 2017

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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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