FEATURED POST

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

Image
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 reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Texas man on death row for decapitating 3 kids loses appeal

Death-row cell, Polunsky Unit, Livingston, Texas
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected an appeal Wednesday from a 37-year-old Rio Grande Valley man on death row for stabbing and beheading his common-law wife's 3 children 15 years ago.

John Allen Rubio's appeals lawyer argued unsuccessfully that Rubio's attorneys at his 2010 trial in Cameron County were deficient, that the trial court failed to sufficiently pay for his appellate investigation of the case and that the Texas death penalty sentencing procedure was unconstitutional.

The state's highest criminal court also refused a second supplemental appeal from Rubio as legally improper and declined to consider the merits of the arguments in that appeal.

"I have to say overall I am not surprised by the court's actions." Rubio's attorney, David Schulman, said. "I'm very, very disappointed."

He said he would ask the appeals court for a rehearing, saying he was "shocked" the judges refused the supplemental appeal that included arguments that prosecutors refused to discuss a plea bargain, that mitigating evidence that could have changed the outcome wasn't presented to jurors, and that the trial defense team was hampered by insufficient money from the trial court.

If the request failed, Schulman said other attorneys were prepared to take Rubio's case into the federal courts.

Rubio was convicted twice of the March 11, 2003, slayings of 3-year-old Julissa Quesada, 14-month-old John E. Rubio and 2-month-old Mary Jane Rubio in a squalid Brownsville apartment. The appeals court in 2007 overturned his 1st conviction, ruling that statements from the children's mother, Angela Camacho, were wrongly allowed as evidence during the 1st trial. Camacho pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence for her role in the slayings.

Records show Rubio's brother and his girlfriend stopped by the apartment, spotted the slain infant, ran outside screaming and flagged down a police officer. The officer testified that after he saw decapitated body of a child in a back bedroom, Rubio held his wrists out and said, "arrest me."

At his 2nd trial, Rubio pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, a defense rejected by a jury.

Defense experts testified his childhood - filled with violence at home, "toxic" parents, drug use and prostitution - damaged him developmentally.

Rubio told authorities the children were possessed. Defense experts diagnosed him as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, a determination disputed by prosecution experts.

Source: The Associated Press, May 24, 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)

Death penalty in Tennessee: What I saw when I watched David Earl Miller die in the electric chair

Alvin Braziel Jr. scheduled to be last inmate executed by Texas in 2018

Tennessee executes David Earl Miller

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

Iranian Juvenile Offender Milad Azimi Saved from Execution

Mississippi justices reject challenges over execution drug

Texas: Border Patrol agent charged with capital murder, prosecutors will seek death penalty

Inside the Supreme Court’s latest case on cruelty and the death penalty

Hours before execution, Tennessee governor rejects killer’s plea for mercy

Tennessee: David Earl Miller moved to death watch as his execution approaches