Friday, September 26, 2003


Dinner is served.

Barbara B. of parts unknown...
No way could I even think of eating for weeks before my execution. Forget it, it's not going to do anything anyway.


Vanessa of parts unknown....who is surprised and dismayed at all the Dominoes Pizza.

That is NO last meal. mine would be a gallon of tequila followed by MY homemade lasagne (because there is none better, ANYWHERE). then 2 steamed artichokes with hollandaise and a large piece of strawberry cheesecake. don't wanna be too full when i die! (oh, no alcohol??????????? make that 4 artichokes)


Ben M. of parts unknown (parts unknown must be a very crowded place)...

3 chopped bar-b-que sandwiches with pickles and extra sauce, 1 gallon cole slaw, 1 gallon Bushes baked beans, 1 large chicken fried steak with white gravy, English peas, mashed potatoes. 1 loaf garlic French bread, 1 large pepperoni thin crust dominoes pizza, 1 gallon of marinara sauce with a dozen cheese bread sticks. 1 keg of Ice House and a bottle of Tarantula Tequila, and a carton of Camel Lights...


Joe D. of the Columbus, Ohio area...

16 oz prime rib with horseradish from a local steak house in Columbus, Ohio, followed by two or three dozen breaded shrimp. Wasabi-garlic mashed potatoes with butter, candied sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and asparagus with lemon butter sauce. I’d need four diet Pepsi’s with lots of ice to wash that all down. In my second course I’d want a thick slice of meaty, deep-dish lasagna with garlic toast. The meal would be capped off with the apple bread pudding from Gordon Biersh, another diet Pepsi, and a cup of the darkest, richest espresso anyone can find. It’s sort of sad that such a perfect meal will probably just come right back up at zero hour, but c’est la vie.

Yes indeed, Joe, yes indeed...

UH, MAKE THAT 12....

Dateline: Singapore

Singapore Hangs Two Convicted Drug Dealers

SINGAPORE - Singapore executed two convicted Malaysian drug traffickers Friday, despite appeals for clemency from lawyers and a human rights group.

Vasu Mourthi, the father of one of the men, confirmed at the gates of Changi Prison that both men were hanged Friday morning.

His son, Vignes Mourthi, 23, was found guilty of drug trafficking last year after his arrest in September 2001 for smuggling 27 grams (0.98 ounces) of heroin. The other man, Moorthi Angappan, was convicted of helping him.

Anyone caught in possession of more than 15 grams (0.53 ounces) of heroin in Singapore faces the death penalty.

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International has slammed Singapore, a country of 4 million people, for having one of the world's highest per capita execution rates. It launched a letter writing campaign last week to request a retrial for Mourthi.

Mourthi's lawyers spent late Thursday and early Friday poring over Singapore's constitution and drafting letters to President S.R. Nathan, who has the final authority to overturn a death sentence.

In a last-ditch effort, they presented their case before the Court of Appeals. But Chief Judge Yong Pung How said he had no jurisdiction to overturn Mourthi's conviction.

"You have to say goodbye to him, that's all you can do," Yong said. "He's going to be hanged anyhow."

Friday's executions bring the number of people hanged in Singapore so far this year to 12. Over the past four years, 88 people have been hanged, mostly for drug offenses. The government says the death penalty effectively deters drug addiction.

In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. aired Tuesday, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong defended the tough anti-drugs stance, saying "if you don't punish them and they manage to get their drugs through to Singapore, more people would be punished by their acts."

Vasu Mourthi went to the prison late Thursday hoping to say a last goodbye to his only son, but was turned away. Hangings usually take place before dawn on Fridays.

Dateline: Singapore


No 'dramatic escalation' in death penalty; only 10 executions so far this year

There has not been a "dramatic escalation" in the use of the death penalty in Singapore.

As of Thursday, there were just 10 people who had been executed this year, said the Press Secretary to Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, in a statement released on Thursday.

"We had pointed out earlier that the figure was 28 in 2002, 27 in 2001 and 21 in 2000. There has not been a "dramatic escalation" in the use of the death penalty in Singapore, as reported by some media organisations," the statement said.

Media interest on the issue arose after Mr Goh said in a television interview on Tuesday that up to 80 people had been executed in the first nine months of this year.

Clarifying on this remark which was made on BBC's HARDtalk programme, the Press Secretary said: "When the Prime Minister used the figure "70-80" in the BBC interview with Mr Tim Sebastian, broadcast on 23 September 2003, he had said that he did not know the precise number and that the figure needed to be checked and corrected."

Singapore carries out the death penalty by hanging.


the rest of the story...

No death penalty, Travaglini promises
By Raphael Lewis, Globe Staff, 9/26/2003

State Senate President Robert E. Travaglini yesterday vowed to defeat any new effort by Governor Mitt Romney to reestablish the death penalty, predicting the measure's swift failure in the Legislature.

"I do not believe you're ever going to see a death penalty in Massachusetts," Travaglini, a Democrat with a decadelong record of opposition to capital punishment, said in an interview with the Globe. "I am not going to allow this issue to take away the focus of this party from issues that I perceive to be of greater significance."

Still, Romney's creation this week of a council of scientists and lawyers to find an "airtight" way to guarantee the guilt of capital defendants has intrigued House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, who has stood against the death penalty for 15 years.

Finneran, speaking to reporters yesterday, said he is not morally opposed to the death penalty and thus could envision supporting such punishment if there were a foolproof, science-based way of proving guilt.

"I know some people are encouraged by DNA, for example, and what it has allowed us to do in terms of releasing people who have been improperly convicted," Finneran told reporters. "The reverse might be true of that."

But Finneran maintained that because human error could not be ruled out, it would be impossible to create a flawless system for determining the guilt of death penalty defendants. As a result, he said, he doubts Romney's efforts will lead anywhere in the House or Senate.

"I'm not sure there is such a thing as an airtight system with regard to human beings," Finneran said.

Dateline: Massachusetts...

Mass. Governor Seeks Death Penalty Bill

The highlights:

Gov. Mitt Romney launched his bid to bring the death penalty back to Massachusetts on Tuesday, saying he wants to craft a law that will make it "virtually certain" that only those guilty of the worst crimes would be executed.

He named an 11-member panel of scientists, prosecutors and legal experts to write a bill that relies heavily on science to determine guilt or innocence.

During his campaign for governor last year, Romney said he supports reinstatement of the death penalty for certain crimes, including the murder of a police officer, terrorist acts, the killing of a witness or murders committed with "extreme atrocity."

The Republican governor faces an uphill fight in the Legislature, where support for the death penalty, which peaked after the 1997 murder of 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley, has declined in recent years. The past four Republican governors have tried unsuccessfully to reinstate the death penalty, which was banned in the state in 1984.

Romney said the burden of proof used to sentence someone to death would likely need to be even tougher than the "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" level needed to convict someone of a crime.

"We want a standard of proof that is incontrovertible," Romney said at a news conference. "This is a new kind of death penalty. ... Just as science can free the innocent, it can identify the guilty."

...In the case of Jeffrey Curley, two men are serving life sentences for luring the boy into a car, then smothered with a gasoline-soaked rag when he resisted their sexual advances. His corpse was found encased in a concrete-filled tub in a river in Maine.

September 26, 2003

A blow to the "Give a friend a lift" movement....

Last Meal: Bates ordered a last meal of fried pork chops, French fries, hush puppies, apple pie, a Pepsi and a Dr Pepper.

The skinny: Bates was executed for the murder of a man he agreed to give him a ride home from a bar.

Upset and trying to discover who had fired shots into his house two weeks earlier, Bates agreed to give an acquaintance a ride home from a bar. During the ride, the car was stopped and Bates struck the man three times on the back of the head with a shovel, appearing to knock him unconscious. When the man began to moan, Bates struck him again, hog-tied him, and then placed him in the vehicle. On the way back to his campsite, Bates stopped at another friend's house and said, "I’ve got one of the guys that’s been messing with me. Do you want to watch or help?" All his friends declined and Bates drove to a campsite, and tied Jenkins to a tree, continuing to beat and threaten him for information. Bates then untied Jenkins, took him to the back of the truck, and shot him in the neck. Upon questioning, Bates gave a complete confession to police.

Lotsa Legal Machinations: Bates was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping in 1991 but his conviction and death sentence were overturned because he didn't receive funds for a mental health expert.

The expert in his second trial in 1994 didn't know about his brain injury. He was convicted and resentenced to death for the 1990 slaying.

A federal appeal said Bates was poorly represented by appeals lawyers after he was convicted. The petition said one lawyer spent very little time on the case, billing only 12 minutes in 1998, and the other was ineffective because he was depressed.

Bates' lawyers asked the governor this week to convert Bates' sentence to life in prison because they said brain damage from a car wreck contributed to the murder, which happened three years later.

Final words and such: "I haven't really give it any thought," Bates said when asked by prison warden Marvin Polk for last words before being wheeled into the steel-walled execution chamber. "Let's see. Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verse 6, they can read it."

The verse says: "So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

Memorable quote: "It's just an ending of the case," said Yadkin County Sheriff Michael Cain. "Certain crimes are going to be met with certain penalties."


Bates was the....

56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
876th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in North Carolina in 2003
26th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976