As Trial in South Carolina Execution-Method Challenge Begins, Review of State’s Death Penalty Reveals System that is Biased, Arbitrary, and Error-Prone

As the trial challenging South Carolina’s execution methods began on August 1, 2022, a review of the state’s death penalty by the Greenville News revealed a pattern of discrimination, geographic arbitrariness, and high error rates in the implementation of the punishment.  In a two-part examination, reporter Kathryn Casteel analyzed racial and county demographics on death row, reversal rates in capital cases, and the timing of death sentences to provide context for the state’s efforts to institute the electric chair and firing squad as its primary execution methods. RELATED |  Future of South Carolina death penalty now rests with judge Four of South Carolina’s 35 death-row prisoners are suing the state to block a law that would force them to choose between electrocution and firing squad as methods of execution. One of the men, Richard Moore, wrote in an April legal filing, “I believe this election is forcing me to choose between two unconstitutional methods of execution.” Executions ar

Florida | Man serving life sentence for murder of 6 people given death penalty for killing 7th

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Billy Wells, who earned the nickname “Monster of Mayport” after five bodies in varying states of decomposition were found in his Mayport mobile home in May 2003, was serving a life sentence at Florida State Prison when he killed again.

Wells killed his wife and four other family members in a Mayport doublewide and lived there for another week with his 4-year-old son before he was arrested.

Wells pleaded guilty to the five murders in 2003 in exchange for the state waiving the death penalty. 

Melissa Nelson, who was an assistant state attorney at the time and assigned to prosecute the case, said at the time that the victims’ family had asked for a life sentence instead of death.

Before that plea deal, prosecutors expressed concern about his mental health and ability to understand the criminality of those killings.

Wells was given another life sentence for killing an inmate in 2011. 

But after his conviction on a seventh murder -- killing fellow Florida State Prison inmate William Chapman in 2019 -- a judge on Tuesday has sentenced Wells to death.

In sentencing Wells in Bradford County, Circuit Judge Mark Moseley wrote: “The aggravating circumstances far outweigh the mitigating circumstances which the court has heard and considered.”

All death penalty sentences are automatically appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

Wells, now 45 years old, has repeatedly told prosecutors he wants to be executed.

Source: news4jax.com, Steve Patrick, May 25, 2021

🚩 | 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)

Iran | Two Men and a Woman at Imminent Risk of Eye Gouging in Tehran

Singapore carries out 10 executions in four months

As Trial in South Carolina Execution-Method Challenge Begins, Review of State’s Death Penalty Reveals System that is Biased, Arbitrary, and Error-Prone

Oklahoma prisons director who oversaw executions retiring

Alabama’s Latest Botched State Killing Once Again Shows Cruelty of Lethal Injection

Singapore | Malaysian prisoner hugs Quran to chest in final 'photo shoot' ahead of execution

Chad raises legal marriage age to 18, abolishes death penalty, punishes homosexuality by a fine

USA | Sister Calls for Investigation Into Alabama’s Botched Execution of Joe James

Oklahoma: Death row inmate in Tulsa bank teller's murder found dead at state penitentiary

World jurist commission warns Singapore over death penalty, punishment of lawyers