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

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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

Texas | Ex-nurse sentenced to death for killing patients

TYLER, Texas (AP) — A jury sentenced a former Texas nurse to death Wednesday for killing four patients by injecting air into their arteries after heart surgery.

The Smith County jury deliberated about two hours before condemning William George Davis to death.

The 37-year-old Hallsville man’s sentence will be automatically appealed.

The sentence came a week after the same jury found Davis guilty of capital murder.


Jurors agreed with prosecutors that Davis killed four patients at a Tyler hospital in 2017 and 2018. 

John Lafferty, Ronald Clark, Christopher Greenway and Joseph Kalina suffered unexplained neurological problems and died while recovering from their heart surgeries at Christus Mother Frances Hospital.

During the trial’s sentencing phase, prosecutors played for the jury recordings of telephone calls Davis made from jail shortly after the Oct. 19 guilty verdict. 

In a call to his ex-wife, Davis — a nurse in the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit — said he would find ways to prolong patients’ ICU stays so he could wore mork overtime and make more money.

Prosecution experts testified that all four victims showed signs of air in their brains that caused irreversible damage. 

After the fourth death, security video showed Davis was the last person to see the victim before the man’s condition deteriorated.

Source: The Associated Press, Staff, October 27, 2021


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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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