Saturday, March 22, 2003

March 20, 2003


Last Meal: four pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, two pints of ice cream, bacon cheeseburger and two vanilla cokes

The skinny: Clay was executed for the killing of store clerk during a $2,000 robbery of a convenience store. The victim had come to the United States from India a year earlier.

Bad guy: Clay acknowledged being a drug dealer but he denied participating in the killing. Prosecutors also linked Clay to the fatal shootings of three people, including two children, on Christmas Eve in 1993. He denied any role in the killings and was not tried, but a companion was sent to death row for the crime.

Last words and such: Clay asked God to "forgive me of every single solitary sin I have committed." He also asked for forgiveness from three members of his victim's family, who watched through a nearby window. "I am truly sorry, and there is not a day that I have not prayed for you," he said. Turning to his mother, he said, "Let everyone know that I love them." She flashed him two thumbs up just before the drugs took effect.

Picking up steam: It took nearly 13 years for Texas to reach 100 executions, four years to get to No. 200 and now, as the appeals process has become more streamlined, just over three years to reach the 300th.

Factoids: Clay's injection keeps Texas on a pace to surpass the record 40 lethal injections carried out in 2000.

Texas accounts for more than one-third of the 839 executions in the United States since 1976 when the death penalty resumed under a Supreme Court ruling.

Texas easily leads the nation in executions since the historic ruling, followed by Virginia with 87; Missouri, 60; Oklahoma, 58; Florida, 55; Georgia, 31; South Carolina, 28; Louisiana, 27; Alabama, 26; and Arkansas, 24.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

March 18, 2003

Twofer Tuesday....

Last Meal:
cucumber salad, beef sausage pizza, a chocolate fudge sundae with nuts and a small jar of dill pickle halves. Robinson had a back-up request of five pieces of crispy chicken with french fries and corn on the cob. A medium cucumber salad, a large pecan or sweet potato pie and an eight ounce glass of grape or 12 ounce glass of apple juice.

The Skinny: Robinson was executed for the killing of a rival Oklahoma City drug dealer who was shot three times in the street. Robinson and the victim were arguing over who could sell cocaine on a northeast Oklahoma City street corner when Robinson pulled out a handgun and shot the victim in the back as he tried to run away, then shot him twice more as he lay in the street asking someone to call an ambulance.

Reverse Tom Joad: Robinson came to Oklahoma City from Los Angeles. Police officers in Los Angeles testified at his trial that he was a member of the Van-Ness Gangster Bloods, a violent street gang active in the crack cocaine trade. Los Angeles police arrested Robinson four months after the slaying.

This and this and that: Robinson had alleged that racial bias led the jury to give him the death sentence and that the evidence used to convict him was circumstantial and filled with discrepancy. Robinson's appeal said a lone black juror switched her vote in favor of death only after some white jurors intimidated her and referred to her with racial slurs, like "Little Miss Slave Trader." (Ed. Note: I don't get this. How is this a slur to a black woman? It sounds like a slur to a white person.) The juror did not testify during the clemency hearing, leaving Robinson to rely on second-hand accounts of her allegations. Other jurors' testimony that they heard no such abuse during the deliberations.

Factoids: Robinson is the third inmate put to death this year in Oklahoma and the 141st in the state's history. Execution dates are also set for four other inmates.

FEDERAL LAST MEAL (near Terre Haute, IN)
March 18, 2003

Feds make it three...

LAST MEAL: whole fruit: nectarines, peaches and plums.

The skinny: Jones, a Gulf War veteran, was executed for raping and killing an Air Force recruit. Jones kidnapped the victim at gunpoint. Two soldiers witnessed the kidnapping and tried to follow them, but Jones assaulted one of the men, knocking him unconscious. Jones raped the victim in his home before driving her to a bridge, where he bludgeoned her to death with a tire iron. Jones had claimed that exposure to nerve gas during the 1991 Gulf War may have damaged his brain and sparked uncontrollable violence.

POWERFUL ALLIES...NO HELP: Jones had powerful people working to spare his life. Former presidential candidate Ross Perot, who has helped fund research into the illnesses plaguing many Gulf War veterans, tried to get Jones' sentence commuted to life without parole. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a Texas Republican, said last month the execution should be delayed while experts determine whether Jones suffers from Gulf War syndrome, a term used to describe a variety of illnesses suffered by Gulf War veterans.

Last words and such: In Jones’ final moments, he looked toward the room where the witnesses he had selected were watching and mouthed the words, “I love you.” Jones did not acknowledge the family members, and expressed no remorse for the killing. Asked by prison officials whether he had a last statement, Jones said: “The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.” He then began singing a refrain -- “In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever ’til my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river” -- from the hymn "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross."

Protesters Few: About a dozen death penalty opponents held a candlelight vigil about a quarter-mile from the prison. No death penalty supporters were present.

Huh? A sign leaning against a fence in front of the group said, "The tragic irony: As we rush recklessly to war with Iraq we are killing a veteran of the first Gulf War."

Factoids: Jones is the third person executed by the federal government since 1963, after Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and drug kingpin Juan Garza. All three took place at the federal execution facility near Terre Haute.

Jones was the 17th person put to death in the United States so far this year.

The United States is the only western democracy in which the death penalty is still used. According to Amnesty International, in 2001 China carried out the most executions, 2,468, followed by Iran, 138, Saudi Arabia 79 and the United States 66.

The complete hymn...

Jesus keep me near the Cross

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
there a precious fountain
free to all, a healing stream
flows from Calvary's mountain.

In the cross, in the cross,
be my glory ever;
till my raptured soul shall find
rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
love and mercy found me;
there the bright and morning star
sheds its beams around me. Refrain

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me;
help me walk from day to day,
with its shadows over me. Refrain