Saturday, November 16, 2002


From October...better late than never...

Supreme Court Won't Review Juvenile Death Penalty

Despite a dissent by the court's four liberal justices who called the juvenile death penalty a shameful practice, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Monday an appeal challenging as unconstitutional executions of people who were younger than 18 when they committed their crimes.

Stevens wrote in dissent..."The practice of executing such offenders is a relic of the past and is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency in a civilized society. We should put an end to this shameful practice."

In 1988, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the executions of offenders age 15 or younger at the time of their crimes. But the high court in 1989 ruled that executions of those who commit their crimes at age 16 or 17 do not violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Stevens said that in the past 13 years, a national consensus (Ed. Note: Huh? Where? This was, of course, pre-Malvo) has emerged that juvenile offenders should not be executed, and said the Supreme Court should revisit the issue.

Currently, 38 states and the federal government have the death penalty. Sixteen states and the federal government have an age minimum of at least 18 for capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Five states have set age 17 as the minimum while the other 17 states use age 16 as the minimum age.

Seven Years on Death Row Gets You $100 G's?

A man who was exonerated after spending seven years on death row for the rape and murder of a little girl has asked for a formal pardon.

Rolando Cruz was twice convicted of abducting, raping and killing 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. At a third trial, though, he was acquitted after a police officer changed his story about an incriminating statement Cruz supposedly made.

DNA evidence later pointed to someone else as the rapist.

Cruz was freed after spending 11 years in prison — seven of them on death row. On Friday, he formally asked the Prisoner Review Board to clear his name, a step that would let him seek about $100,000 in compensation from the state.

Mir Aimal Kasi
November 14, 2002


Last Meal: fried rice, bananas, boiled eggs and wheat bread.

The skinny: Kasi, a Pakistani Muslim militant, was executed for the 1993 shooting deaths of two CIA workers. He killed the two and wounded three others as they sat in their cars outside agency headquarters in a Virginia suburb of Washington. Kasi walked along a row of stopped cars, shooting into them with a semiautomatic AK-47 rifle. He then fled to southern Afghanistan and later to Pakistan, where U.S. agents arrested him in 1997. Kasi confessed to the slayings during the return flight, saying he was angry over CIA meddling in Muslim nations.

Last words: Kasi softly chanted "There is no god but Allah," in his native tongue until he kicked.

Machinations denied: Governor Warner said Kasi admitted to the murders and had showed no remorse. He said the death penalty is the appropriate punishment in this case.

PEEVED PAKIS: Tribal leaders in Quetta, Kasi's hometown, called for a strike Friday.

Pakistani politicians pleaded with American officials to spare Kasi's life, saying commutation could "win the hearts of millions" and help the United States in its war on terrorism. Hundreds of religious students protested in Pakistan this week, warning Americans there that they will not be safe if Kasi was executed.

Last week, the State Department warned that Kasi's execution could lead to acts of vengeance against Americans everywhere. Two days after his conviction, assailants shot and killed four American oil company workers in Karachi, Pakistan.

87 Killers, How Many Victims? About 80 death penalty opponents held a candlelight vigil in a field near the prison. Bundled against the cold, they read the names of the 87 people Virginia has executed since capital punishment was reinstated in 1982, along with their victims. A Muslim cleric read a prayer in English and Arabic.

Kudos to the Post: For an fascinating article on the search for Kasi, visit The Washington Post.

A Highlight:

Kasi, who carried 150 rounds of ammunition that day, was aiming only at men -- he believed killing women, who did not have any power in his country, would be wrong. He stopped firing only because there was no one left to shoot.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Aimal Khan Kasi, the Pakistani man convicted of killing two CIA employees and wounding three in 1993.

Pakistani officials have pleaded for United States to spare Kasi's life. Some have said a commutation of the death sentence could "win the hearts of millions" and help the United States in the war on terror. Hundreds of religious students protested Tuesday in Pakistan, calling the United States the biggest terrorist of all and warning Americans in that country that they won't be safe if Kasi dies.

Kasi was convicted in 1997 of killing two CIA employees and wounding three others as they sat in their cars at a stoplight outside the agency's headquarters in McLean on Jan. 25, 1993. He walked along the row of cars fired into them with an AK-47 assault-style rifle.

William Putnam
November 13, 2002

3 victims, 3 eggs. Oooookay.

Last meal: three eggs over light, toast, bacon, hash browns, vanilla ice cream and two soft drinks.

The skinny: Putman was executed Wednesday for the deaths of a couple sleeping at a south Georgia rest stop 22 years ago. Putman approached a family sleeping at a rest area on July 10, 1980. The family was traveling home to Kentucky from a vacation at Daytona Beach, Fla. Putman shot the car's driver. Then Putman demanded that his wife leave with him. She refused and screamed for David as he lay dying. Then she was shot in the head. He also was serving a life sentence for killing a school teacher at a truck stop the day before.

MCI day: Putman had instructed his attorney on Tuesday to drop his final appeals, and spent his last two days meeting with 29 family members and friends.

Hell No! on that prayer Putman declined to make a final statement.When asked, he said, "No, thank you." Asked if he wanted a prayer, he said, "No, No." Putman did not close his eyes as the chemicals used for execution went through his system. He looked straight ahead and muttered something unintelligible.

Factoids: It was the state's eighth execution by injection.

The execution was witnessed by Shannon Blincoe, daughter of the slain couple, who was in the front seat of the car when her parents were shot. She was eight months old at the time. Three older children also were in the car when the shootings took place.

There were about a dozen anti-death penalty demonstrators outside the prison during the execution.

Huh? "Every time we execute somebody it's repeating the violence we're supposed to be against," said Laura Moye, one of the protesters. "The state shouldn't have the power to take human life because it can't give life back when it makes mistakes."

Tuesday, November 12, 2002


Execution scheduled Nov. 13 for William Putnam

ADEL - A Nov. 13 execution date has been set for a Cook County man convicted of killing two people at a rest area and another man at a truck stop in 1980.

William Howard Putnam, 59, would be the eighth man put to death since Georgia adopted lethal injection as its method of execution.

Putnam was sentenced to die for the July 10, 1980, killing of David and Katie Beck, who were murdered as they slept at a rest area in Lenox while returning from a Florida vacation.

Earlier that evening, Putnam had murdered William Hodges at a truck stop in Lowndes County.


The SF Gate details the battle...


Advocates for executed inmate still seeking DNA testing

A scientist holding frozen DNA evidence in the case of an executed Virginia inmate said he will fight any effort by the state to get the evidence back.

Edward T. Blake, of Forensic Science Associates in Richmond, Calif., said he will go to court in California to block any Virginia court order to turn over evidence he has held for 12 years. Blake fears Virginia authorities will destroy it.

Blake said the public has a right to know whether Roger Keith Coleman raped and murdered Wanda Faye McCoy in Buchanan County in 1981. Coleman, who always said he was innocent, was executed in 1992.

In 1990, Virginia authorities had Blake examine a vaginal swab taken from the victim. The genetic tests showed Coleman fell within only 2 percent of the Caucasian population that could have committed the crime.

That test, coupled with other blood tests, found Coleman was within 0.2 percent of the population that could have been the perpetrator.

Coleman also failed a lie-detector test shortly before he was executed.

Coleman supporters and capital punishment foes contend that the earlier DNA test was misinterpreted and the results were based on flawed assumptions. They say advances in DNA testing now might enable a conclusive determination of whether Coleman was guilty.

Paul Ferrara, director of the state division of forensic science, said he could test the evidence only if ordered to do so by a court or the governor.


Death From Around the Globe
Dateline: China

Amnesty: China Executed 46 People Ahead of Congress

BEIJING (Reuters) - China executed 46 people in just two days last week following calls to intensify the fight against crime ahead of a pivotal Communist Party Congress, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Twenty-nine people were executed in the southwest city of Chongqing and on southern island of Hainan last Wednesday while 17 were executed in the town of Pingdingshan (Bless you!) in the central province of Henan two days later, Amnesty said in statement.

No immediate comment was available from Chinese officials. The executions followed recent calls by the authorities to intensify a national "Strike Hard" anti-crime campaign that began in April 2001.

Amnesty appealed to the Chinese government to end the death penalty in the world's most populous country, where it said 2,468 people were executed last year.

China has executed more people than the rest of the world combined in recent years, mostly with a bullet to the back of the head, human rights groups say.

State media have reported plans to spread the use of lethal injection to execute people as a "civilized way of law enforcement."