FEATURED POST

Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

Image
In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Florida: Convicted killer represents himself in courtroom where he faces death sentence

Jury box
Against the advice of the defense lawyers he fired and the judge who repeatedly gave him the opportunity to change his mind, convicted killer Peter Avsenew sat in front of a Broward jury Wednesday to defend himself against a prosecution team seeking to have him executed.

Avsenew, 33, was found guilty in November of the 2010 murders of Kevin Powell and Stephen Adams, a Wilton Manors couple who took him in after he posted a sexually suggestive ad on Craigslist.

The same jury that found him guilty listened to testimony Wednesday and will hear closing arguments Thursday to decide whether Avsenew deserves to be sentenced to death. An execution can be ordered only if the jury recommends it unanimously. Otherwise, Avsenew will be sentenced to life behind bars.

Prosecutor Shari Tate opened Wednesday's proceedings by reminding jurors that they already know most of what they need in order to find that the aggravating circumstances justify the death penalty.

Avsenew began staying with Adams and Powell in late 2010 and, after gaining their confidence, killed them, stole their money, credit cards and car, went shopping for outdoor supplies and fled to North Florida, where his mother eventually turned him in, according to trial testimony and court records.

"We now move on to something you all swore to consider - could you be open to the death penalty?" Tate said. "That's the decision you're here for now."

When it was his turn to speak, Avsenew punted, waiving an opening statement and declining to question prosecution witnesses, including Adams' sister.

Avsenew had been represented during the trial by Assistant Public Defender Gabe Ermine, whose colleague Phyllis Cook was prepared to handle the penalty phase after the conviction. But 2 weeks after the jury returned its guilty verdict, Avsenew fired his lawyers and told Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes he wanted to represent himself.

In court Wednesday, Holmes asked Avsenew at every opportunity to reconsider - during breaks, after each conversation outside the jury's presence, and after lunch. Each time, he politely declined.

Ermine and Cook sat in the gallery with the rest of the public, standing by to take over if Avsenew should change his mind. He never did.

Avsenew presented no witnesses on his behalf, and Holmes scheduled closing arguments for Thursday, warning Avsenew that he will not be permitted to discuss any aspects of the case that were not presented during the November trial or Wednesday's penalty phase.

Source: Sun Sentinel, Rafael Olmeda, January 10, 2018


Man Who Killed Wilton Manors Gay Couple Receives Death Sentence


Peter Avsenew
A Fort Lauderdale man who shot a couple to death in 2010 was sentenced to death Thursday afternoon.

Peter Avsenew, 33, faced either a life sentence or the death penalty. 

During closing arguments, prosecutors showed the Broward jury photos of 52-year-old Stephen Adams and 47-year-old Kevin Powell shot dead inside their Wilton Manors home.

“I have no regrets in my life and I am proud of the decisions I've made. No one really knows what happened that day. Everyone can speculate what ifs and maybes until they're blue in the face, which they'll never really know,” Avsenew said.

The Sun Sentinel reports that prosecutors argued Avsenew killed both men then stole their money and car after responding to a sex ad on Craigslist. 

The defendant disagrees with that telling and stated in court that he found the men dead, but did not call police because he'd been working for the couple as an escort.  

Avsenew then rushed to his mother’s house, but she became suspicious and turned him in to the police.

Peter Avsenew was found guilty in November. Against advice from a judge and his former lawyers, the convicted killer represented himself at the sentencing hearing.

Source: Instinct, Adam Dupuis, January 11, 2018

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Singapore executes Michael Garing

Alabama: Tuscaloosa County jury recommends death penalty in capital murder case

Eyewitness to execution: The Sacramento Bee’s coverage of 1992 gas chamber execution

Colorado’s death penalty repeal in holding pattern. Vote margin appears close.

“Texas 7” Member Contests “Law of Parties”

Singapore: Harvesting organs from death row "donors"

Assemblymember Levine Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Abolish California’s Death Penalty

Brunei to pass law that will punish gay sex with death by stoning

A Letter from Sister Helen Prejean to Governor Gavin Newsom

Despite Possible Innocence and Intellectual Disability, Alabama Intends to Execute Rocky Myers