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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz filmed himself revealing plans for massacre

Nikolas Cruz
A disturbing video showing Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz revealing his plans for the mass murder has been released by prosecutors. 

The teenage gunman filmed himself on his mobile phone smiling as he spoke about plans for a massacre, including making gun noises and saying: ‘You’re all going to die.’

He went on to kill 17 students and injure 17 more in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14. 

In the footage, Cruz looks into the camera and says: ‘When you see me on the news you’ll know who I am. You’re all going to die. Pew pew pew. I can’t wait.’ In another video he says: ‘Today is the day. The day that it all begins. The day of my massacre shall begin. ‘All the kids in school will run in fear and hide. From the wrath of my power they will know who I am.’

He adds: ‘I’ve had enough being told what to do and when to do. Telling me I’m an idiot and a dumbass.’ In a third video, the 19-year-old says: ‘Hello. My name is Nik and I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15. ‘Location is Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida.’ 

Investigators discovered the videos on the gunman’s phone, which was taken into evidence after the shooting. The videos are listed on the prosecution’s discovery list. Authorities have not said when they were recorded.

In another of the clips released, Cruz mentions a girl, ‘Angie’, and says he will always love her. 

Prosecutors, who are pushing for the death penalty, believe the videos boost their case that Cruz murdered in a premeditated fashion. 

Cruz confessed to the crimes after his arrest, according to police. He is expected to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty, despite a judge entering a not-guilty plea on his behalf during his arraignment. 

Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty despite the offer of a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence. 

If a jury condemns him to death, he will be the youngest death row inmate in the state. 

Florida has 347 people on death row, and has executed 96 people since 1976. So far this year, the state has executed one person.

Source: Metro, Adam Smith, May 31, 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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