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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 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…

Death penalty sought for SC man accused of ‘brutally’ molesting, killing toddler

William Ryan Looper
LAURENS COUNTY, SC - Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the South Carolina man accused of molesting his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son and beating the toddler to death.

Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo and Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds announced Tuesday that the state will seek a death sentence for William Ryan Looper, who is charged with murder in the death of 2-year-old Brantley Justin Smith, according to a release from the solicitor’s office.

Brantley was found dead in a Clinton home in June, McClatchy reported previously. 

The boy had been “brutally beaten” and was “brutally sexually assaulted before his death,” the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

The death penalty notice was filed Monday, according to Laurens County online court records. 

Looper faces charges of murder, criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years of age and two counts of unlawful neglect of a child.

South Carolina law provides several aggravating circumstances under which prosecutors can seek a death sentence, including killing a person during the commission of criminal sexual conduct or killing a child age 11 or younger. 

The release from the solicitor’s office said prosecutors will provide at a later date the “multiple aggravating circumstances” upon which the state will seek the death sentence.

Looper’s girlfriend and Brantley’s mother, Jessica Blake Smith, also faces charges of unlawful neglect of a child and homicide by child abuse in Brantley’s death.

Source: thestate.com, Teddy Kulmala, September 18, 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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