Thursday, September 19, 2002

Jesse Joe Patrick
September 17, 2002


The skinny: Patrick, was sentenced to death for the 1989 rape and murder of a neighbor. Patrick was found guilty of brutally killing 80-year-old Nina Rutherford on the night of July 8, 1989.

OJ REDUX: Police obtained a search warrant and searched Patrick's house the next day, finding a sock caked in dried blood, an amount of toilet paper with dried blood on it, and a pair of denim jeans also covered in blood. Testing showed the blood on the sock and toilet paper to be a genetic match with Redd's; Patrick's girlfriend identified the butcher knife as her's and a partial palm print from Redd's bathroom window sill matched Patrick's.

ANGER WOMAN: Wearing a red shirt, Patrick made no final statement. After a few moments, Patrick made one long sputter and lost consciousness. His wife began to sob and emitted a loud wail. After a few moments, she turned away and began to address Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees in the room with her, calling them "bastards." "I hope you are satisfied now," she said. "You ought to do something about your justice system. This is a disgrace and you should be ashamed of yourselves."

Ron Shamburger
September 18, 2002

LAST MEAL: Nachos with chili and cheese, one bowl of sliced jalapenos, one bowl of picante sauce, two large onions (sliced and grilled), tacos (with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese), and toasted corn tortilla shells.

Texas Man Executed for Murder of College Student

The skinny: Shamburger killed a fellow student at Texas A&M University while burglarizing her home in 1994. He was condemned for murdering Lori Baker, 20, after he broke into her College Station, Texas, home on Sept. 30, 1994, to steal money. Baker, who months before had gone dancing with Shamburger, awoke to find him in her bedroom, so he shot her in the head. He then used a knife to try to remove the bullet from her head and when he could not find it, poured gasoline over her body and set it on fire. Shortly after the murder, Shamburger went to the College Station Police Department to turn himself in, emptying the bullets from his gun on the floor while he did so.

Last moments: In a final statement while strapped to a gurney in the Texas death chamber, Shamburger quoted extensively from the Bible and apologized to Baker's family, several members of whom witnessed the execution.

Factoids: Shamburger was the second person in two days and the 26th person this year put to death in Texas. Shamburger was the 282nd person put to death in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982, six years after a U.S. Supreme Court decision lifted a national death penalty ban.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002


Six Sentenced to Death for Gang Rape in Pakistan

A Pakistani court on Sunday sentenced six men to death for the gang rape of a woman on the orders of a traditional village jury.

Four men were sentenced to death for committing the rape and two others for serving on the village jury that authorized the crime.

"The four rapists and two jurors have been given the death penalty and a fine of 40,000 rupees ($675) each.

The victim said she was raped by four men after approaching the traditional jury, or panchayat, in Meerawali to settle a dispute with the rival Mastoi clan. Mai said she went to the jury after her 12-year-old brother Abdul Shakoor was kidnapped and sodomized by members of Mastoi family as a punishment for having an illicit affair with one of their relatives.

Gang rapes and "honor" killings are not uncommon in rural Pakistan, the case caused an outcry when it was publicized in national newspapers to highlight the plight of women in rural areas, where feudal behavior codes still rule.

Village councils are often convened to settle local disputes and women often end up as pawns of village elders.

Dozens of gang rapes and "honor" killings were recorded in Punjab this year alone. The latter involves the murder of women by fathers or brothers for "crimes" such as marrying without the consent of male family members.


'Dead Man Walking' Premieres in N.Y.

NEW YORK (AP) - Jake Heggie's "Dead Man Walking" is the most compelling new American opera in decades, and it's easy to see why companies have rushed to stage it.

The three-hour, two-act work, given its world premiere at the San Francisco Opera in October 2000, made its New York debut Friday night to a prolonged ovation for the cast, the composer, librettist Terrence McNally and Sisten Helen Prejean, who wrote the book on which it is based.

Heggie's music is lush and the story gripping — a death-row convict struggling to come to terms with his crime and upcoming execution.

There are influences of Gershwin and Britten in the music, which comes together with greater dramatic success than many other new works. While there is only one real "tune" — the spiritual "He will gather us around" — the music conveys the deep and often-conflicting emotions experienced by Sister Helen and Joseph De Rocher, convicted of rape and murder, and awaiting death by lethal injection.

While the subject matter is heavy, McNally also infuses light touches, such as the convict and the nun finding common emotional ground with their love of Elvis Presley. That provides a stark contrast to the brutal story being portrayed, which includes nudity and profane language.

Other new American operas have their premieres, then disappear after a revival or two. But there is a lot of interest in "Dead Man Walking" — the new staging is a coproduction that includes the Cincinnati Opera, Opera Pacific, the Austin Lyric Opera, the Michigan Opera Theater, the Pittsburgh Opera and the Baltimore Opera. This is a work that appears to have the legs to stick around.