Friday, March 07, 2003

300...the benchmark of a good hitter...

Texas prepares for 300th execution since revival of death penalty

LIVINGSTON -- Convicted killer Delma Banks could become a historical footnote Wednesday night when he's scheduled to die by injection.

He's in line to become the 300th Texas prisoner executed since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.

Banks has been on death row since 1980 for killing 16-year-old Wayne Whitehead of Texarkana area and then stealing the victim's car.

Michael Dewayne Johnson had been scheduled to be No. 300 until he and another death row inmate got temporary reprieves last month.

In the first two months of this year, Texas put nine men to death and is on pace to break its record of 40 executions carried out in 2000.

The 300 Texas executions account for more than one-third of all the executions in the nation since 1976.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Morbid Monday....

A visit to's list of botched executions...

34 times when the best-laid plans did go awry....though trying to find a vein for injections hardly seems like a botch.

A few to ponder, a Pogo the Clown Alert!

April 22, 1983. Alabama. John Evans. Electrocution. After the first jolt of electricity, sparks and flames erupted from the electrode attached to Evans's leg. The electrode burst from the strap holding it in place and caught on fire. Smoke and sparks also came out from under the hood in the vicinity of Evans's left temple. Two physicians entered the chamber and found a heartbeat. The electrode was reattached to his leg, and another jolt of electricity was applied. This resulted in more smoke and burning flesh. Again the doctors found a heartbeat. Ignoring the pleas of Evans's lawyer, a third jolt of electricity was applied. The execution took 14 minutes and left Evans's body charred and smoldering.

May 10, 1994. Illinois. John Wayne Gacy. Lethal Injection. After the execution began, the lethal chemicals unexpectedly solidified, clogging the IV tube that lead into Gacy's arm, and prohibiting any further passage. Blinds covering the window through which witnesses observed the execution were drawn, and the execution team replaced the clogged tube with a new one. Ten minutes later, the blinds were then reopened and the execution process resumed. It took 18 minutes to complete. Anesthesiologists blamed the problem on the inexperience of prison officials who were conducting the execution, saying that proper procedures taught in "IV 101" would have prevented the error.

After killing at least 33 boys, does it bother anyone that Pogo had a "botch."

Sunday, March 02, 2003


Death Row is now open for business...

the deets...

Inmates greet killer with chants of 'death row'

By Dave Fopay Charleston Times-Courier

CHARLESTON, Ill. - A guard who took Anthony B. Mertz to prison said Friday the convicted killer was like a "wilting flower" when inmates began chanting "death row" upon his arrival.

Coles County Courthouse security chief Oren Lockhart was one of four officers who took Mertz, convicted of the 2001 killing of Rolling Meadows native Shannon McNamara, to Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet on Thursday for processing - just one day after a downstate Coles County jury had sentenced him to death.

Lockhart said he was surprised other inmates being processed there were able to recognize Mertz as the first inmate on Illinois recently emptied death row.

"For a short period of time, those prisoners started chanting 'death row,'" Lockhart said. "He was definitely disturbed."

He said Mertz, 26, showed no emotion on the trip to the prison, but slumped over in fear apparent when he heard inmates' chants.

"If he wasn't afraid, he's crazier than I thought he was," Lockhart said.

Guards at the prison also knew Mertz was headed for death row, he added, and made comments like, "You guys are famous" upon Mertz's arrival to Stateville.