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Showing posts from August, 2022

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USA | Parkland Case Challenges Us All to Figure Out What a Mass Murderer Deserves

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The ongoing sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old Florida man who in 2018 murdered fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, will test whether the seven men and five women on the jury hearing his case can hate the sin but muster the courage to spare the life of the sinner. That is exactly what his defense team is asking them to do as they sit in judgment of the person who perpetrated one of this country’s most brutal mass murders. Like many death penalty defense lawyers before them, Cruz’s lawyers, to their credit, have not downplayed the gravity of the horrors their client inflicted in Parkland, Florida. Instead, during the sentencing trial, or what the journalist Dahlia Lithwick once called a “trial of the heart,” they have focused their attention on who Cruz is and the factors that shaped his life. As the Supreme Court said more than fifty years ago, in capital cases those who impose the sentence must consider “

Vatican | The death penalty is an affront to human dignity, pope Francis says

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The death penalty is an affront to human dignity that offers no solace to victims and denies the possibility for conversion of those who commit serious crimes, Pope Francis said. The growing calls around the world for an end to capital punishment are “a sign of hope” for the church, the pope said in a video message released by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network Aug. 31. “Capital punishment offers no justice to victims, but rather encourages revenge. And it prevents any possibility of undoing a possible miscarriage of justice,” he said. “From a legal point of view, it is not necessary,” the pope added. At the start of each month, the network posts a short video of the pope offering his specific prayer intention. For the month of September, the pope dedicated his prayer intention for the abolition of the death penalty. In his video message, the pope said the death penalty was unnecessary because society “can effectively repress crime” without denying those who offend “the possibility of

Iran | Baluch Man and Afghan-National Mojtaba Khademinejad Executed for Drug Offences in Shiraz, Baluch Man Executed for Drug Offences in Bandar Abbas

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); August 30, 2022: Rahim Ghanbarzehi, a Baluch man and Mojtaba Khademinejad, an Afghan national, both sentenced to death for drug-related offences, were executed in Shiraz Central Prison. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a Baluch man was executed in Shiraz Central Prison on August 28. His identity has been established as 40-year-old Rahim Ghanbarzehi, who was better known as Ghani Roudini. He was arrested for drug-related offences around five years ago. According to Hal Vash, Rahim's family had been unable to afford a lawyer for him during his trial. Despite arriving for the last visit hours prior to his execution after a long journey, prison officials prevented them from saying goodbye to their son.  Hal Vash an Afghan man was also executed at the prison on that date. His identity has been reported as 37-year-old Mojtaba Khademinejad who was also arrested for drug-related offences around five years ago. At the time of writing, neith

Indiana | Eight men languish on death row as state struggles to obtain execution drugs

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INDIANAPOLIS — Eight men languish on Indiana’s death row as the state struggles to obtain the drugs needed to conduct an execution. Its longest resident has lived 29 years awaiting execution; its most recent addition has waited eight. The de-facto moratorium on executions in Indiana has some prosecutors doubting that even a successful sentencing will be carried out, and defenders concerned for the convicted who live years under threat of death. Meanwhile, other states such as Texas and Oklahoma have moved forward with executions this year. Four of the men on Indiana’s death row have exhausted all their appeals and have no other recourse, according to the Indiana Public Defender Council’s website. But Indiana’s Department of Correction has no orders for executions and no dates set, according to spokeswoman Annie Goeller. Indiana hasn’t put a man to death since December 2009, when it executed Matthew Eric Wrinkles. All the men reside in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. That’s b

Egypt Executes 2 Men for Killing Woman in Maadi

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After 20 months since the court ruling, the death sentence was carried out on Thursday, August 11, for 2 men who were found guilty of the killing of a 24-year-old woman, Maryam Mohamed, in Cairo’s Maadi. The death sentence was carried out after the rejection of the appeal submitted to the Court of Cassation, a source revealed to local media. In October 2020, Maryam Mohamed was killed while crossing the street after the 2 defendants in a traveling car attempted to steal her handbag, dragging her body along the road as they drove past. A firearm and another weapon were also found in the possession of the defendants when they were arrested. A statement released by the Egyptian Public Prosecution revealed that a 3rd man was charged with assisting the 2 defendants by providing them with his vehicle for the purposes of carrying out the crime. The news comes 2 days after another case of femicide. 20-year-old Salma Bahgat was deliberately stabbed to death on Tuesday by suspect Islam Mohamed in

Florida man who 'wanted to be a serial killer' gets fourth murder conviction, faces death penalty

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Leo Boatman killed two college students on a camping trip in 2006, a cellmate in prison in 2010 and a second inmate in 2019. JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida man who was convicted of killing two college students and an inmate in 2010 has now been convicted of a fourth murder -- the brutal stabbing of Billy Chapman in 2019. This time, Leo Boatman could face the death penalty.  Boatman was convicted by a jury, but he has waived his right to have the jury decide his sentence. Instead, his lawyer has asked that a judge decide. Boatman has not faced the death penalty before. Boatman has said that he "wanted to be a serial killer." Chapman was a fellow inmate of Boatman's. He was set to be released in less than a year when Boatman and William Wells, a killer who carries the moniker 'The Monster of Mayport,' strangled and stabbed him. “I’ve never, never seen anything like that,” a state employee who saw the video of the attack told First Coast News at the time. “They had

Thailand | Families struggle to afford visits to pair serving life sentences for allegedly killing two British nationals on Koh Tao island

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It has been more than three years since family members visited Ko Zaw Lin Tun and Ko Win Zaw Tun (pictured) from Arakan State’s Kyaukphyu Township, who have been serving life sentences in a Thai prison for allegedly killing two British nationals in 2014. Family members say they have faced financial constraints preventing them from visiting the duo because their mothers are ill. “The last time we visited him was in 2019, before the Covid-19 outbreak,” said Ko Ye Zaw Tun, the brother of Ko Win Zaw Tun. “My mother has cataracts now, so it has become difficult for us to visit my brother. We don’t even have money to treat her cataracts. We will be able to visit him only when there are donors and those who will arrange for us to visit him.” Ko Win Zaw Tun’s mother is currently receiving treatment for her eyes in Kyaukphyu town. Ko Zaw Lin Tun’s mother is also ailing, with symptoms including headache and lumps on her neck. “My mother can barely speak now. And she misses her son. Perhaps she i

Missouri poised to execute man convicted of crime he committed at 19 years old

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Missouri is poised to execute Kevin Johnson, a man sentenced to death for a crime committed when he was only 19 years old This summer marked the 10th anniversary of the Miller v. Alabama , a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision banning mandatory sentences of life without parole for children. The decision recognized that youth are both less culpable for theirs crimes and more capable of rehabilitation than adults, because of significant differences in their brains and behavior. The court relied on science showing that youths’ brains, specifically the part responsible for executive functioning, do not fully develop until the mid-twenties, while the emotional part of the brain still runs full speed ahead. The end result: Emotions and hormones are peaking, and the brain is not capable of pumping the brakes. These differences counsel against imposing extreme prison sentences on children who commit even very serious crimes. As we mark this anniversary, Missouri is poised to execute Kevin Joh

Florida | Parkland school shooter’s teacher, family friend, speech pathologist testify

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The jurors who will be deciding the fate of the Parkland school shooter met his third-grade teacher, an expert witness, and watched a video recording of a family friend’s deposition on Monday in Broward County court. Shameka Stanford, the speech and language pathologist, said she works in the field of criminology and started to review academic records, his confession, and calls for the defense starting in 2019. Stanford said Nikolas Cruz suffers from a moderate to severe language disorder. She said prenatal exposure to alcohol can affect areas of the brain. At eight, she said, he presented a two-year delay. “Behaviorally there was a lot of overt physical behavior that was just the default,” Stanford said adding these included “pulling his hair” and “banging his head.” As of Monday afternoon, the defense had presented 14 witnesses, including Cruz’s biological half-sister and a recovering addict who was arrested with his biological mother for cocaine possession wh

Nebraska | Death row inmate Patrick Schroeder dies at Tecumseh state prison

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A 45-year-old death row inmate, who is serving sentences for two separate murders, was found dead at the Tecumseh state prison Monday, according to the Nebraska Department of Corrections. The cause of death for Patrick Schroeder remains unclear. As with all inmate deaths, a grand jury will investigate the death. Schroeder had been sentenced to life in 2006 for a first degree murder and forgery. Schroder murdered 75-year-old Kenny Albers, a Pawnee City farmer who had once given him a job. An Otoe County jury sentenced Schroeder to life in prison. In 2017, he killed his Tecumseh cellmate, which led a panel of judges to put him on death row.  After the second murder, he advocated that he deserved the death penalty. “When I knew that they were going to be charging me with the death penalty, I knew what my choices were," Schroeder told Nebraska Public Media. "I knew what I was going to do.” He’s said he would not put up a fight – and that included when the Nebraska Supreme Court r