“River of Fire”: In New Memoir, Sister Helen Prejean Reflects on Decades of Fighting Executions

The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to resume the death penalty after a more than 15-year moratorium. This week Attorney General William Barr proposed fast-tracking executions in mass murder cases, and last month ordered the execution of five death row prisoners beginning in December. The federal government has executed just three people since 1963 — the last being in 2003. The death penalty is widely condemned by national governments, international bodies and human rights groups across the world. Experts say capital punishment does not help deter homicides and that errors and racism in the criminal justice system extend to those sentenced to death. We speak with Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known anti-death-penalty activist who began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. …

Japan: Death sentence to be finalized for Yamaguchi man for killing 5

Kosei Homi
The death sentence for a 69-year-old man convicted of killing five neighbors in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan in 2013 is set to be finalized after the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected his appeal against a lower court ruling.

The decision against Kosei Homi, who was also found guilty of setting fire to two of the victims' homes in a remote community, was handed down by the top court's No. 1 Petty Bench.

According to the lower court ruling, Homi killed a woman and a couple, all in their 70s, by bludgeoning them in the head with a wooden pole before setting fire to their homes in the mountainous community of Shunan, in July 2013. 

He was also convicted of murdering two more elderly people.

During his appeal at the Hiroshima High Court, Homi's lawyers pleaded his innocence, claiming that he could not be held criminally responsible by reason of insanity or diminished mental capacity.

But the court upheld in 2016 a lower court ruling that judged Homi was fully competent to be held legally responsible. 

It did, however, acknowledge that he suffered from a type of delusional disorder.

Source: Kyodo News, Staff, July 11, 2019

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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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