Department of Corrections

Missouri – Richard Strong Execution – June 9, 2015


June 10,2015

Missouri murderer Richard Strong was executed by lethal injection Tuesday night after authorities turned aside a last-minute plea from his daughter, who was only months old when Strong killed her mother and 2-year-old half-sister.

Strong, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:58 p.m. at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri, according to the state Department of Corrections.

He ate a last meal of fried chicken, a cheeseburger and donuts, and asked forgiveness, according to the department.

His last words were: “Jehovah-jireh, you’re my provider. Your grace is sufficient for me. Forgive me for my sin. Abba-Abba, take my soul in your hands.”

Gov. Jay Nixon focused on Strong’s victims in a statement, acknowledging “there have been many lives deeply affected by these crimes.”

Petrina Thomas, whose niece was the toddler Strong killed, witnessed the execution and said in a statement she read to reporters that her family “was so glad that it is finally over.” (Read her full statement below.)

The execution was carried out after an unsuccessful plea for clemency from his daughter, who was a baby in 2000 when Strong murdered her mother and her half-sister. Last-minute appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and to Nixon also failed.

Strong was sentenced to death in 2003 for fatally stabbing his 23-year-old girlfriend, Eva Washington, and her daughter from a previous relationship, Zandrea Thomas, in their suburban St. Louis apartment. He left Alyshia Strong, his baby with Washington, unharmed.

Alyshia Strong, now 14, said she has forgiven her father and pleaded for clemency in the days before his execution.

“I understand that my father needs to face consequences and to pay for what he did, but I do not think it is right for me to lose my father as part of the punishment,” Alyshia Strong wrote in her clemency petition.

She wrote that she frequently visits her dad in prison, and said his advice led her to behave better in school.

“My father told me that I should stay clear of the drama at school, and stay focused on the books, not the people. I listened to my father’s advice, and I can honestly say that I had less drama in my school year than I would have if I had not listened to my father,” she wrote.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 against issuing a stay that would have postponed Tuesday’s execution. Strong’s attorney, Jennifer Herndon, argued that Strong was mentally ill. She said both Strong and Washington suffered from mental illness and argued frequently, according to The Associated Press.

“He just snapped,” Herndon said. “It was just sort of a powder keg waiting to explode. It wasn’t a healthy relationship.”

Nixon declined to halt the lethal injection, saying in a statement that the fatal stabbing of the mother and daughter was “very brutal.”

Strong is the fourth person to be executed in Missouri this year, and the 16th in the U.S.

Petrina Thomas, Zandrea Thomas’ aunt, read this statement during a press briefing following the execution, according to the Department of Corrections:

On behalf of the Thomas family, we would like to thank the state of Missouri for finally providing our family with closure of the horrific death of my niece and her mom. For 14 years, we have impatiently waited for this day to come. It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree; the wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. The reality is we will grieve forever. We will not get over the loss of our loved ones, and we will learn to live with it. We will heal, and we will rebuild around the loss that we have suffered. We will never be the same again. He had a chance to watch his daughter grow up and laugh and smile with her. We never got a chance to see her first day of school, graduations, or watch her go on prom. My brother will never get a chance to walk his daughter down the aisle for her wedding day. Human life has dignity at any age. Nothing can justify the shedding of innocent blood or the taking of lives. You must take 100 percent responsibility for your choices and your actions, and pay with your own life. Revelation 21:4 reads: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We are at peace now and so glad that it is finally over. Thank you

Virginia approves new lethal injection drug


february 21, 2014

Virginia’s Department of Corrections has approved the use of a new drug as part of its lethal injection protocol, amid difficulties carrying out executions.

Midazolam is one of the two drugs used in an Ohio execution that took 24 minutes and led to a lawsuit from the family of the inmate, who allege his prolonged death amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Used in surgery to calm patients and induce sleepiness, midazolam will serve as an alternative first drug in Virginia’s three-drug protocol, according to the department. It will stand in for pentobarbital or thiopental sodium, drugs that states across the country have found difficult to acquire as manufacturers have started refusing to sell their products for use in executions.

Records show that Virginia’s Department of Corrections purchased several doses last fall of both drugs used in the Ohio execution, midazolam and hydromorphone. Use of the second drug has not yet been approved in the state, nor has the department announced a switch from a three-drug to a two-drug protocol.

“There are no plans to move to the two-drug protocol used in Ohio,” said Lisa E. Kinney, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.

Officials in Virginia have told lawmakers that they cannot find reliable supplies of the drugs they need to carry out executions — leading to an aborted attempt in the state legislature this year to use the electric chair as a backup when lethal injection is unavailable.

The state’s supply of all the drugs currently authorized for use in executions will expire in the spring of 2015.

Virginia has executed 110 inmates since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s and is second only to Texas in overall executions. There are currently eight inmates currently on death row in the state.

Florida Supreme Court Orders Review of Lethal Injection Cocktail Ahead of Feb. 26 Execution


february 7,2014

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a review of the new drug used in the state’s lethal injection cocktail in the case of Paul Augustus Howell, a Death Row inmate scheduled for execution Feb. 26.

 

Justices ordered a circuit court to hold an evidentiary hearing on whether substitution of the drug midazolam violates the constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment by the government.

 

Howell’s lawyers argued in briefs filed Tuesday that midazolam, the first of the three drug-cocktail that induces unconsciousness, paralysis and cardiac arrest, is problematic because it will not anesthetize him and would leave him “unable to communicate his agony” when the other drugs are administered.

 

The justices rejected an appeal about the new drug in a previous case, but in a four-page order issued Thursday said that an expert’s report submitted by Howell “has raised a factual dispute, not conclusively refuted, as to whether the use of midazolam, in conjunction with his medical history and mental conditions, will subject him to a ‘substantial risk of serious harm.’ ”

 

The court also ordered the Department of Corrections to produce correspondence and documents from the manufacturer of midazolam concerning the drug’s use in executions, “including those addressing any safety and efficacy issues.”

 

The high court ordered the 2nd Judicial Circuit in Jefferson County, where Howell was originally tried and convicted of the murder of a highway patrol trooper in 1992, to hold a hearing and enter an order on the issue by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

 

In September, the Florida Department of Corrections substituted midazolam for the barbiturate pentobarbital as the first of the three-drug lethal injection “protocol.” Florida and other states switched to the new drug because the manufacturer of pentobarbital stopped selling it for use in executions.

 

The second drug, vecuronium bromide, renders muscle, including the diaphragm, unable to contract, making it impossible to breathe.

If not completely anesthetized when that drug is administered, the condemned would “experience the physical and psychological agony of suffocation,” Howell’s lawyers argued in briefs filed Tuesday.

The new drug protocol has been used four times since its adoption in September, but Howell’s lawyers argued that three of those executed were not fully anesthetized before the other drugs were administered.

The Supreme Court on Thursday also ordered the court to consider testimony from University of Miami anesthesiologist David Lubarsky regarding problems with the state’s protocol for making sure that inmates are unconscious. According to Lubarsky, the state is not waiting long enough between injections for the anesthetic to take effect. Lubarsky also testified the drug poses a significant risk for “paradoxical reactions” for Howell because he has mental health disorders and possible brain injuries.

Howell was scheduled to be executed last year but a federal appeals court issued a stay the day before he was slated to die. The stay was lifted in November, and Gov. Rick Scott rescheduled his execution for Feb. 26.

Arizona death-row inmate found dead in apparent suicide


01.29.2014

An Arizona death-row inmate died Monday in an apparent suicide, state Department of Corrections officials said.

Gregory Dickens, 48, was pronounced dead after lifesaving measures failed, according to a news release.

Dickens was sentenced to death for his part in a double murder near Yuma in 1991. But, last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that, under a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he was entitled to a new hearing in U.S. District Court to determine whether his first appeals attorney had been ineffective.

He was also the lead plaintiff in a 2009 federal lawsuit that challenged the state’s methods of carrying out executions by lethal injection.

(Source: AZCentral)

 

Alabama executes Andrew Lacke


ATMORE, Alabama – Andrew Lackey was executed by lethal injection at Holman Correctional Facility Thursday evening for the 2005 murder of an 80-year-old World War II veteran he was trying to rob.

Lackey was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m.

Four of Lackey’s family members, including his mother, father, brother and aunt, were in attendance.

A jury convicted Lackey, 29, of the Halloween night murder in 2005 of Charles Newman, 80, at Newman’s Limestone County home. Lackey beat, shot and stabbed Newman. Authorities say he was seeking money.

Lackey became the first inmate executed in Alabama since Christopher T. Johnson of Escambia County received a lethal injection Oct. 20, 2011.

A Limestone County jury convicted Lackey in 2008. He had dropped all appeals and asked for his execution to be scheduled.

Lackey, wearing glasses and with trim, dark hair, was already strapped to a gurney when a curtain opened at 6 p.m. to allow witnesses to see him. He looked around briefly, then laid his head on the pillow.

Holman Warden Gary Hetzell read the execution order and asked Lackey if he had anything to say.

“No sir, I don’t,” Lackey replied.

Lackey’s mother, father, brother and aunt witnessed the execution in silence, his mother and father holding hands. The four had visited Lackey earlier today, Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said.
A man and two women witnessed the execution on behalf of the victim’s family. The Department of Corrections did not have their names.

Shortly after Lackey declined to make a statement, Holman Chaplain Chris Summers approached the gurney, touched Lackey’s hand and spoke to him. Lackey nodded and Summers knelt to pray.

The drugs seemed to to take effect within a couple of minutes. Lackey’s chest and abdomen convulsed slightly for several minutes. That was followed by what appeared to be several minutes of shallow breathing. He remained still and quiet for several minutes until a corrections officer closed the curtain at 6:15 p.m.

Source: Al.com, July 25, 2013

Missouri seeks execution dates for 2 before death drug expires


July,1, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants the state Supreme Court to set execution dates for two inmates before the state’s supply of an execution drug expires.

Koster has renewed a request for execution dates to be set for Allen Nicklasson and Joseph Franklin. The state’s highest court refused to do so last August, citing a legal challenge to the state’s newly planned use of the drug propofol as its execution method.

The attorney general’s office said Monday that the Department of Corrections has a limited supply of propofol and much of it will expire next spring.

Nicklasson was convicted for the 1994 killing of a businessman traveling on Interstate 70 in Callaway County.

Franklin was convicted of killing a man outside a synagogue in Richmond Heights in 1977. He admitted killing Gerald Gordon, who was a 42-year-old father of three young daughters. (Associated Press)

STAYS OF EXECUTIONS 2012


UPDATE October 19, 2012

STAYS OF EXECUTIONS 2012

Date of  Scheduled Execution  State  Inmate Reason for Stay
January      
17 PA Ralph Birdsong Stayed to allow time for appeals.
18 PA Kenneth Hairston Stayed to allow time for appeals.
 18 OH Charles Lorraine U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost delayed the execution due to the Department of Corrections failing to “follow its own rules for executions.”  Frost said the state failed to document the drugs used in its last execution in November and failed to review the medical chart of the inmate who was put to death.
19 KY Michael St. Clair Stayed due to a pending case on the fairness of the death penalty protocol in Kentucky.
20 DE Robert Gattis Gov. Jack Markell cited the “unusual and perhaps historic” recommendation of the Delaware Board of Pardons, in a 4-1 vote, to commute Gattis’ sentence after considering disturbing accounts of physical and sexual abuse that Gattis claims to have suffered as a child and which his attorneys argued have never been properly considered by the courts.
31 GA Nicholas Tate Stayed to allow time for appeals.
February      
1 TX Donald Newbury Stayed by U.S. Supreme Court to consider an Arizona case that questions whether death row inmates are entitled to better legal help during initial appeals.
8 MS Edwin Turner U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves stayed the execution to allow Turner to be seen by a psychiatrist of his choosing.
16 OK Garry Allen Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin granted a 30-day stay of execution so that state attorneys could study whether he should be granted clemency.
22 OH Michael Webb Stayed by U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost, through an agreement with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, to allow time for Ohio to revise their execution protocols.
28 TX Anthony Bartee Stayed by State District Judge Mary Roman to allow time for DNA testing.
March      
6 NE Michael Ryan Stayed by the Nebraska Supreme Court to allow time for a lower court to consider a request to have Ryan’s sentence commuted to life in prison.
8 PA Dustin Briggs Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
16 OK Garry Allen Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued an additional 26-day stay.
18 SD Briley Piper Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
29 AL Tommy Arthur Stayed by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals due to Alabama’s decision to use pentobarbital as part of a three-drug execution combination.
April      
5 UT Michael Archuleta Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
12 AL Carey Grayson Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
12 OK Garry Allen Granted stay by a federal District Court judge to give adequate opportunity to litigate claims regarding competency.
19 GA Daniel Greene Stayed for up to 90 days by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to allow for additional time to examine the substance of claims offered by Greene’s representatives. Update – Greene’s sentence was commuted to a sentence of life without parole by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.
20 DE Shannon Johnson Stayed by a federal judge to allow time to hear mental incompetence claims. 
Update – Johnson has been executed.
26 TX Buenka Adams Stayed by U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider to allow time to review the quality of legal help that Adams had in early stages of his appeal.  Update – Adams has been executed.
May      
2 TX Anthony Bartee Stayed to consider a request for additional DNA testing.
9 LA Todd Wessinger Stayed by U.S. District Judge James Brady to allow time to review arguments presented by Wessinger’s attorneys.
13-19 SD Eric Robert Stayed by the South Dakota Supreme Court so the court can fully review the case.
16 TX Steven Staley Stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals due to mental health issues raised in his appeal.
16 AZ Samuel Lopez Stayed by the Arizona Supreme Court to allow time for issues raised by recent clemency-board appointments to be worked out.
June      
6 TX Bobby Hines Stayed at the request of the district attorney’s office to allow further DNA testing.
6 OH Abdul Awkal Stayed for 2 weeks by Gov. John Kasich to allow a judge to hold a hearing on his mental competency.  Update – Cuyahoga County Judge Stuart Friedman has issued a decision that Awkal may not be executed unless and until he has been restored to competency.
July      
18/23 GA Warren Hill July 18 execution stayed until July 23 to allow time for the state to switch to a single-drug execution protocol.  Update- July 23 execution stayed by unanimous vote of Georgia Supreme Court to consider state’s change of lethal injection protocol.
26 OH John Eley Governor John R. Kasich commuted the death sentence of John Jeffrey Eley to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Kasich stated that Eley, who is of limited mental capacity, acted under the direction of another man who was later acquitted. Without those factors it is doubtful that Eley would have committed this crime. Additionally, the former Mahoning County prosecutor who tried Eley’s case regretted the way the case was handled and its outcome, and had called for clemency.
August      
1 TX Marcus Druery Stayed by TX Court of Criminal Appeals to consider whether a hearing is needed to determine his mental competency.
3 MO Michael Tisius Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
15 LA Jason Reeves Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
22 TX John Balentine Stayed by U.S. Supreme Court to allow time for further review.
September      
9-15 SD Rodney Berget Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
13 PA Michael Travaglia Stayed to allow more time to prepare a federal appeal.
October      
3 PA Terrance Williams Trial level judge found prosecutors withheld evidence.  New sentencing ordered.
9 PA Terry Chamberlain Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
10 PA Andre Staton Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
10 TX Jonathan Green Stayed by U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas to allow review of Green’s mental competency. Update – stay has been overturned by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Update – Green has been executed.
11 PA David Ramtahal Stayed to allow more time for appeals.
16 FL John Ferguson Stayed by Gov. Scott to allow time for psychiatric testing.  Execution could go forward if Ferguson found mentally competent.  Update – The Florida Supreme Court granted a 2-day stay of execution so the justices can hear another appeal, the stay will expire 10/18. Update – prior stay required setting of a new execution date.  Update – Execution date has been set for 10/23.
18 TX Anthony Haynes Stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court (7-2) to consider claims of inadequate representation at trial and appeal.

ARIZONA – Arizona prison system sees high number of deaths


June 2, 2012 Source : http://tucsoncitizen.com

Arizona’s prison system has two death rows.

One is made up of the 126 inmates officially sentenced to death — 123 men at the Eyman state prison in Florence and three women at Perryville. Seven convicted killers from that group have been executed over the last two years.

slideshow Arizona prison inmate deaths

The other death row, the unofficial one, reaches into every prison in Arizona’s sprawling correctional system. No judge or jury condemned anyone in this group to death. They die as victims of prison violence, neglect and mistreatment.

Over the past two years, this death row has claimed the lives of at least 37 inmates, more than five times the number executed from the official death row. Among them are mentally ill prisoners locked in solitary confinement who committed suicide, inmates who overdosed on drugs smuggled into prison, those with untreated medical conditions and inmates murdered by other inmates.

Unlike state executions, these deaths rarely draw much notice. Each receives a terse announcement by the Department of Corrections and then is largely forgotten.

But correctional officers and other staff who work with inmates say many of these deaths are needless and preventable.

Arizona will spend $1.1 billion this year to lock up its 40,000 prisoners.

But there is another cost, one measured not in dollars but in human lives.

Over four days, an Arizona Republic investigation will reveal a prison system that houses inmates under brutal conditions that can foster self-harm, allows deadly drugs to flow in from the outside, leaves inmates to die from treatable medical conditions and fails to protect inmates from prison predators.

Today, The Republic focuses on suicides in the prison system, where there have been at least 19 in the past two years. Arizona’s official prison-suicide rate during that period was 60 percent higher than the national average. But suicides in prison are likely underreported, according to critics.

More than half of the suicides involved inmates in solitary confinement, including some with serious mental illnesses.

State pays for inmate bypass surgery, then executes him


May 15, source  : http://www.kpho.com

Watch the video : click here

Robert Henry Moorman received bypass surgery three months before he was executed.

Robert Henry Moorman received bypass surgery three months before he was executed.

 

 

 

 

Lynette Barrett’s eyes well up with tears when she talks about her husband, Murray, and his struggle to survive.

“Nine years ago last December,” Barrett said is when she discovered Murray had liver failure. “He needs a new liver,” she said.

Unable to work and with no health insurance, the Barretts found themselves under a mountain of debt and with an even larger bill on the horizon.

“He’s had three hospital stays in the last year and each of them has been over $50,000. Without insurance, we had to have $100,000 up front before they’d even consider a transplant,” said Barrett.

To raise money, the Barretts and other families in similar situations have had to become creative. They’ve heldpancake breakfasts, auctions, car washes and accept donations on their blog.

Since 2010, the state indigent healthcare system has purged more than 100,000 people from its rolls. Families like the Barretts no longer qualify for state aid.

State leaders say helping them is a luxury they just can’t afford. But a CBS 5 investigation found cases where state dollars have gone to lifesaving operations in one of the unlikeliest places.

That place is death row. 

Every inmate here is awaiting execution and in a strange quirk of the law, some of these condemned inmates are receiving the kind of state-funded medical care being denied to law-abiding citizens who don’t have health insurance.

In 1984, Robert Moorman murdered his adoptive mother and chopped her up into pieces. But in November of last year, Moorman received a quintuple heart bypass surgery at the taxpayers’ expense. He was executed three months later.

Why does the state pay for healthcare for prison inmates?

“Because there’s no choice,” said Daniel Pachoda, who is the legal director for the Phoenix office of the ACLU.

He said he can’t explain what happened to Robert Moorman, but the requirements of the death penalty may help explain it.

“That is a quirk in the law that people have to be medically and physically competent before they’re allowed to be executed,” said Pachoda.

But according to Pachoda, it would be a mistake to think that all inmates get the same treatment.

The ACLU recently sued the state, citing dozens of cases where basic medical treatment or antibiotics would have saved the lives of inmates or spared them from serious illness.

Lynette Barrett says the Moorman case does not make any sense to her. 

“It’s really hard to see somebody they’re going to execute in three months…what was the point of the bypass?” she asked.

Department of Corrections officials could not discuss any specific inmate medical questions, but they did say medical professionals are the ones who make the decisions about healthcare for inmates. And they insist that all inmates receive the same constitutionally required medical care.