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

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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…

Chinese court sentences man to death over school stabbings

Zhao Zewei
A Chinese court sentenced a man to death Tuesday for a knife attack that killed 9 children and wounded another 11 as they returned home from school in northern China.

Zhao Zewei, 28, was arrested in April following the killings that he said were in response to a long-held grudge against the school.

The attack was "premeditated murder," the Yulin Intermediate Court said in a statement, adding that the circumstances warranted the death penalty.

"The goal of the crime was clear, the murderer's methods were despicable, and the consequences were extremely grave," it said on a statement on its website.

After his arrest, Zhao said he had been bullied when he attended the school, "hated" his classmates and decided to use a "dagger" to kill people, the court said in its verdict.

In preparation for the crime, he purchased 5 knives online. He carried 3 of them to the school, where he waited outside the gate for classes to finish before "rushing headlong into the stream of students and ... stabbing wildly," the court said.

9 students died, another 4 were seriously wounded and 7 others received light injuries from the assault, it said.

Zhao was subdued by teachers, security guards and students and then handed over to the police.

Photos from the trial show an emaciated Zhao being held by 2 police officers in the dock as he received his sentence.

Knife attacks are not uncommon in the country.

2 boys were stabbed to death outside a Shanghai elementary school in June.

In February, a knife-wielding man with a personal grudge killed a woman and injured 12 others in a busy Beijing shopping mall - a rare act of violence in the heavily policed capital.

In the southern city of Shenzhen, a man armed with a kitchen knife killed 2 people and wounded 9 others in a supermarket last July.

Source: Agence France-Presse, July 11, 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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