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2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

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With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from the previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the t…

Texas: Judge sets execution date for man who had family killed for $1 million inheritance

Thomas Whitaker
A Sugar Land man convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme to off his own family in hopes of snagging a plump $1 million inheritance is now slated for execution early next year, according to court papers filed this month. 

A Fort Bend County judge on Wednesday signed the papers that could send Thomas Whitaker, who used the cover of a faked burglary to mask the murder of his mother and brother, to the Huntsville death chamber on Feb. 22.

"This is a case in which retributive justice plays no part," attorney James Rytting said late Monday. "The victim in this case is a father who does not want his child to die. It seems that this case shows that the only victim's right that counts is the right of vengeance - you don't have a right to mercy."

Just after a 2003 celebratory dinner marking his supposed graduation from Sam Houston State University - a milestone that never happened - Whitaker arranged for two friends to wait at the family home for a burglary set-up.

When the family of four returned home from the restaurant, a gunman opened fire as they walked through the door, killing 51-year-old Patricia Whitaker and 19-year-old Kevin. Only Whitaker's father survived the attack. 

Afterward, as police probed the killings, Whitaker stole $10,000 from his father and fled to Mexico.

When authorities picked him up 15 months later, his father hired an attorney to argue against the capital case. 

The pair of slayings came after three years of planning and at least one previous murder attempt, according to court papers. 

Triggerman Chris Brashear pleaded guilty to murder a decade ago and took a life sentence, while the getaway driver - Steve Champagne - agreed to a 15-year plea deal.

But a Fort Bend jury settled on a death sentence for the mastermind behind the plot, and after more than a decade of legal battles, the condemned man lost out in the Supreme Court last month. 

He does not have any pending appeals, Rytting said. 

Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey declined to comment. 

Source: chron.com, Keri Blakinger, November 6, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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