FEATURED POST

Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

Image
Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Decision day for father trying to save son from Texas death penalty

From left, Kevin, Tricia, Thomas and Kent Whitaker appear in this undated family photo.
Kent Whitaker, struggling to halt the looming execution of the son who upended his life 14 years ago, should know shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday whether his efforts have passed the first critical hurdle.

Whitaker long ago forgave his son, Thomas Whitaker, for setting up the ambush that killed his wife and only other child as they returned to their Sugar Land home in December 2013. With Thursday’s execution date approaching, Kent Whitaker begged the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend that his son’s death sentence be reduced to life in prison.

If a majority of the seven-member board favors clemency, the decision on whether to commute the death sentence would be up to Gov. Greg Abbott.

The board will vote around 1 p.m., with out-of-town members faxing their ballots in to the parole board’s Austin office. Shortly after that, Kent Whitaker and his lawyer, Keith Hampton, expect to receive a phone call to learn the results.

Thomas Whitaker, now 38, was sentenced to death for luring his family out to dinner so an armed friend could await their return home. Shot in the upper chest, Kent Whitaker barely survived the ambush, but his wife Tricia and youngest child Kevin, a college sophomore, were killed.

In an attempt to deflect blame, the gunman also shot Thomas Whitaker in the arm, but police eventually saw through the facade.

The shooter, Chris Brashear, was given a life sentence after pleading guilty to murder, while the getaway driver, Steve Champagne, agreed to a 15-year plea deal and testified against Whitaker.

Kent Whitaker said his Christian faith allowed him to forgive his son. Now he wants the parole board and Abbott to acknowledge that as the crime’s chief surviving victim, his wishes should be respected and his son’s life should be spared.

“I have seen too much killing already,” Kent Whitaker recently told the American-Statesman. “I know Tricia and Kevin would not want him to be executed. I can’t imagine seeing the last living part of my family executed by the state, especially since all the victims didn’t want that to happen in the first place.”

If his efforts fail, Kent Whitaker has promised to be on the other side of the death chamber window in Huntsville when his son is administered the fatal dose of pentobarbital.

“As he goes to sleep, I want him to be able to look at me and see that I love him. I really want him to know that I forgive him, that I love him,” he told the Statesman. “I don’t want to see this. God, I don’t want to see this. I’ve seen enough killing. But I can’t imagine letting him be in the room by himself without anyone there with him.”

Source: The Statesman, Chuck Lindell, February 20, 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)

Idaho Department Of Correction Can Keep Lethal Injection Drugs Secret, Judge Says

Double Dose: 2 executions in Texas next week

Chinese nanny Mo Huanjing executed for arson killings

Virginia: Convicted killer, already facing death penalty, admits slaying 2 girls in Illinois in 2005

Florida: Trial for man accused of throwing daughter from Pinellas County bridge delayed

Belarus: the Last Refuge for the Death Penalty in Europe

Alabama: Derrick Dearman found guilty in 5 Citronelle murders, jury recommends execution

Malaysian death sentences commuted for 3 Mexican brothers

'No Time To Sleep' to depict last day of death penalty inmate

Death penalty sought for SC man accused of ‘brutally’ molesting, killing toddler