In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many r…

Nebraska death row inmate asks court to stay execution, vacate sentence

Convicted Norfolk bank robber Erick Vela this week filed a petition asking a federal judge to stay his execution and vacate his sentence, saying his death sentence is unconstitutional.

The 211-page petition filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday argues in part that Vela is intellectually disabled and that executing him would violate his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Vela's petition for habeas corpus, which was filed by his attorneys, marks his latest appeal following unsuccessful efforts in state court to overturn his death sentence.

"Mr. Vela accepted responsibility for his role in the murders when he (pleaded) guilty," the petition said. "Central issues in his case are whether he is ineligible for the death penalty ... because he is intellectually disabled, and whether mitigating circumstances existed so that his life should be spared."

Vela, 37, has been incarcerated on Nebraska's death row at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution since January 2007.

Vela, Jorge Galindo and Jose Sandoval were sentenced to die after being convicted in the botched robbery at the U.S. Bank branch in Norfolk in September 2002, that killed Lisa Bryant, Lola Elwood, Samuel Sun, Jo Mausbach and Evonne Tuttle.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services has already notified Sandoval, 38, that they intend to seek his execution.

A death warrant setting his execution has not been issued, and lawsuits fighting the execution in Sandoval's case are pending.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, Riley Johnston, March 27, 2018

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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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