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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Missouri: Prosecutors seek death penalty in killing of transgender teen

Ally Lee Steinfeld
HOUSTON, Mo. — Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for one of the suspects in the slaying of a transgender teenager in rural southern Missouri.

Court records show plans requesting the sentence for Andrew Vrba were filed Monday. Vrba, 18, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld. Vrba's attorney hasn't responded to an email seeking comment.

Some of Ally Lee Steinfeld's burned remains were found in September 2017 in a bag in a Cabool chicken coop. Investigators say both of the transgender teen's eyes had been gouged out, and she had been stabbed in the genitals.

Steinfeld's roommate, Isis Schauer, 18, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder. Briana Calderas, 24, faces charges of first degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Her trial is set for Oct. 9-12, according to the Houston Herald.

James Grigsby, 25, has pleaded not guilty to abandonment of a corpse, reports the Herald.

Steinfeld's mother, Amber Steinfeld, still refers to her child as Joey, but said the teen identified as female to family and to friends on social media. She said her child was "loving and kind-hearted."

Steinfeld was engaged to a woman until they broke up in August, Amber Steinfeld said, and soon after began dating Calderas. She said Steinfeld and the two 18-year-old suspects were all living at Calderas' mobile home. She said that Steinfeld was upbeat before she disappeared, telling relatives that she loved them and was happy. 

Vrba told investigators he initially tried to poison Steinfeld, then described how he stabbed Steinfeld in the living room of Calderas' mobile home, Texas County police wrote in a probable cause statement. The female suspects said Vrba bragged to them about how he gouged Steinfeld's eyes and stabbed Steinfeld in the genitals. The probable cause statement does not offer any motive.

Authorities say the three suspects burned Steinfeld's body, placed some of the bones into a garbage bag and put the bag in the chicken coop. Calderas admitted helping burn the body and led authorities to the knife used in the killing, according to the statement.

Steinfeld was reportedly the 21st transgender person killed in the U.S. in 2017.

Source: CBS News, April 3, 2018


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