Category Archives: capital punishment

Florida Seeking Death Penalty in Casey Anthony Case

Florida is seeking the death penalty in the case of Casey Anthony for the murder of her young daughter Caylee Marie. The trial is set to begin this fall.
The notice for the death penalty was filed Monday afternoon. The filing states that “sufficient aggravating circumstances exist to justify the imposition of the Death Penalty.”

Marti Mackenzie, spokeswoman for Anthony’s defense lawyer, just told the Orlando Sentinel: “This is not a death penalty case. We will do whatever is necessary to defend Casey Anthony from the state trying to take her life. We already have death qualified defense lawyers on our team and are prepared for a vigorous defense.”

It’s a risky move, in Florida juries rarely convict when a woman is on trial with the death penalty as the sentence.

Only two women have been executed in Florida, Judias Goodyear Buenoano and Aileen C. Wuornos. There is only one woman who sits on death row in the state, Tiffany Cole. She was convicted of the double murder of a Jacksonville couple.


In China Capital Punishment Comes In A Van

Last year 1,715 people were put to death by execution in China last year. This year estimates put the death count at nearly 10,000. What happens after a person is killed could be considered criminal. Organs are harvested and sold to the highest bidder.
When Jiang Yong, a corrupt city planner is put to death this year it will not be behind bars. He can expect to die in a white van while lethal drugs course through his veins. It is possible to be sentenced to death for anyone of 68 crimes in China.

Jiang Yong is one of those who will soon have organs used by others if he doesn’t win an appeal.

See Yong, a large man with glasses, had a mistress who he enjoyed showering with gifts. Madame Tang must have been given quite a few nice baubles since Yong took more than £1 million in brides from shady entrepreneurs who wanted protected land to build on.

Yong got caught with his hand in the cookie jar by the Chinese authorities last year. He confessed his crimes and was given a death sentence. He was one of the many that face the same fate.

It’s not hard to be sentenced to death in China. Crimes ranging from fraud to tax evasion can be enough to put a needle in a person’s arm.

Jinguan Auto, a Chinese automaker, produced the white vans that on the outside look like standard police vans. The vans cost £60,000. The insides of the vans though differ vastly from the other law enforcement vehicles. They are speed from one site to another at 80 mph. The vans save money for the government. No building is needed to carry out the organ harvests. The van is able to whip on over to local jails to execute locally in the very community that criminals broke the laws.

All of the deaths are videotaped so that they comply to the strict rules that the government has laid out.

The Daily Mail reports:

‘We have not sold our execution cars to foreign countries yet,’ beamed a proud spokesman. But if they need one, they could contact our company directly.’

When it is time for a prisoner to walk the long green mile they are placed on a automated stretcher and moves into the inside of the van already set up as a sterile operating chamber. Inside the doctors administer drugs that will quickly kill their ‘patient’ and then harvest the prisoner’s eyes, kidney, liver, pancreas and lungs. The heart though can not be used as it has been damaged by the drugs that killed the prisoners.

The vans are being compared to the gas wagons that Nazis used to kill millions.

The program started three years ago and then quieted down last summer as not to offend the human rights groups during the Olympic Games held in Beijing.

The games are over and the vans are back in business.

All of the deaths are videotaped so that they comply to the strict rules that the government has laid out.

Chinese hospitals perform up to 20,000 organ transplants a year. A typical kidney transplant costs £5,000 but that price can rapidly increase if the patient has the money to request an organ quickly.

China used to kill their prisoners by firing squad and then dig out the lethal bullet to charge the family with. It seems that day when family members were asked to pay for the bullet that killed their loved one is gone in China. The organ train is a high payer and those who are in the wrong get to fund the money wagon.


A Mistake Costs 22 North Koreans Their Lives

North Korea shot to death 22 fishermen that had strayed out of the country’s waterways into South Korea as they returned home. North Korea has a “no tolerance” stance when it comes to anyone trying to leave the country.

It appears that stance holds up even if an error was made.

The two boats used for oyster and clam fishing had 14 women and eight men on board. Straying off course, they entered South Korean waters near Yeonpyeong Island. South Korean officials questioned the group that included three teenagers. Officials thought perhaps they were attempting to defect from the communistic North but quickly understood that this was an accident.

The fishing boats were taken and the South Koreans gave the 22 passage back to their country on an overland route.

As the Daily Mail reports:

Last night, a source with the South Korean national intelligence agency said: “We found the group were neither asylum seekers nor spies.

“They didn’t want to stay in South Korea, so we sent them back.

“We have heard that they were shot, but we had no idea that would happen.”

A source with North Korean contacts added: “They weren’t even given the option of going to a prison camp. They were simply executed.”

North Korea is saying that the group didn’t have authorisation to be on a maritime expedition. For that mistake they were shot to death when they returned back to the North.


Execution Approved For ‘Chemical Ali’

Saddam Hussein’s cousin Hassan al-Majid, better known as Chemical Ali will be going to the gallows within 30 days. Appeals have not saved the man charged with 100,000 Kurd deaths that resulted from the Anfal campaign in northern Iraq in 1988.

During the campaign that took countless lives al-Majid ultilized poison gas earning him the nickname ‘Chemical Ali’.

Majid
remained defiant throughout his trial not once showing any remorse for the carnage he was in charge of.

He said at one hearing: “I am the one who gave orders to the army to demolish villages and relocate the villagers. I am not apologising. I did not make a mistake.”

Hussein Rashid Mohammed, an ex-deputy director of operations for the Iraqi armed forces, and former defense minister Sultan Hashim al-Taie did not have approval from the three member presidental council that approves death sentences. The two that were tried with al-Majid are in United States custody.

The council though did approve for ‘Chemical Ali’ to be executed by hanging. He will be the fifth former regime leader to be hanged for the war crimes associated with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Kurds.


Six Detainees to be Charged For Involvement in 9/11

The Pentagon is planning to charge six detainees at Gitmo for the 9/11 attacks. The Pentagon also wants capital punishment to be the end result. It’s been more than six years since the attack that took more than 3,000 lives.

Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said the charges could come as early as Monday.

The men that are alleged to be involved are:

Khalid Sheik Mohammed
He is suspected to be the mastermind behind the attacks.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh
He is said to be the main intermediary between the hijackers and al-Qaida.

Mohammed al-Qahtani
He is said to have been the 20th hijacker.

Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali
He is said to be Mohammed’s lieutenant for the 2001 operation. He is also the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi
Walid bin Attash
Both of these men are alleged to have selected and trained some of the hijackers.

“The department has been working diligently to prepare cases and bring charges against a number of individuals who have been involved in some of the most grievous acts of violence and terror against the United States and our allies,” Whitman said.

This is a developing story that will undoubtedly fill in the missing pieces in the weeks and months ahead.


Reporter Sentenced To Death For Reading About Women’s Rights On The Web

Pervez Kambaksh has been sentenced to death for reading about women’s rights
Journalist Pervez Kambaksh has been sentenced to death. The 23 year old downloaded information about women’s rights in Afghanistan. That act pegged him for death under the laws of blasphemy.

Kambaksh was accused of the crime after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website. The report stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claim that the Koran justifies the oppression of women misrepresent the views of the prophet Mohamed.

Yesterday the Afghan house supported the death sentence against the young reporter even with international outcry of the harsh sentence. Kambaksh has not had legal counsel throughout his ordeal. Now the Afghan government is saying maybe the sentence is not so final and that they will handle this case “very carefully.”

Yacoub Kambaksh, brother of Perves said his sibling is very concerned about his future. His brother states that he hasn’t had a fair trial nor a lawyer to defend him.

Kambaksh is a student at Balkh University and a journalist for Jahan-e Naw. The arrest took place in 2007.


Daryl Atkins’ Sentence Commuted To Life In Prison

Daryl Atkins’ death sentence has been commuted to life in prison. Atkins is mentally retarded. He was convicted at eighteen of the 1996 robbery and murder of Eric Nesbitt, 21, an Air Force mechanic.

Atkins is now 30. He has spent a decade sitting on death row while appeals have been ongoing. His lawyer argued that because of his mental disability he should not be executed. The case was turned over to the U.S. Supreme Court after a ruling in 2002 that it was unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded.

A jury decided in 2003 that Atkins was not retarded and upheld his original sentence. That verdict was overturned because of errors made during the time of the trial. It was revealed while Atkins was awaiting a new trial this year that prosecutors withheld evidence during his original 1998 trial.

Atkins was a drug user. Prosecutors tried to contend that his bad marks in school did not stem from his retardation but rather from a bad attitude. In Virginia mental retardation is defined as having an IQ below 70 before the age of 18 and not being able to function well in society. His stepsister stated that as a teenager Atkins was unable to prepare his own meals or “even clean out his own ears.”

Atkins has taken four IQ tests since he was charged with the murder. He scored between 59 and 76 on those tests.


Amnesty Calls For Halt Of Stonings In Iran

In Iran the price for the crime of adultery is being stoned to death as in olden days. A woman caught in the act of adultery is buried up to her breasts and then stoned until she dies of her injuries.

Amnesty International is calling for the nation of Iran to halt this cruel form of capital punishment. The agency is against any form of capital punishment but calls this particular form “grotesque and horrific”.

“Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian government to abolish immediately and totally execution by stoning and to impose a moratorium on the death penalty,” the rights group said in a 30-page report on the practice.

“Iranian law prescribes that the stones are deliberately chosen to be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately … It is a particularly grotesque and horrific practice.”

Iran enforces more capital punishment than most countries. In 2006 117 people were executed alone. Most of those were killed by hanging. The first seven months of 2007 were just as deadly with 124 people put to death.

Amnesty is also asking for the Islamic nation to decriminalize adultery. Most other countries do not consider the act illegal regardless of how it is viewed morally.


Kenneth Foster Jr. Is Scheduled To Die Today

Texas has postponed an 11th hour decision regarding the impending execution of Kenneth Foster Jr. The Texas inmate never killed anyone but that’s the crime that he’s to be executed for.

He’s been moved to Huntsville Prison, the place where the walking dead go to walk that last mile.

There are protests being carried out throughout Texas today. The prisons in Huntsville, Livingston and at the governor’s mansion. The Supreme Court has picketers on it’s front steps.

Mauriceo Brown was executed in 2006 for the murder of Michael LaHood. Foster was driving the car that Brown was in. Driving was his crime. Two others were in the car that night. they were sentenced to prison but not to death. Foster at the time was only nineteen.

Who’s on Foster’s side right now as the hours tick down before his death? Sean-Paul Kelly for one. His name isn’t that famous but who he is important. He’s the best friend of the man who died. Foster did not contact him. Kelly just thinks it’s wrong for an innocent man to die for the murder of someone, even his best friend.

My last words to Mike–two weeks before he was murdered–were a cliché for all clichés: “we’ll do it next weekend, buddy, we’ve got all the time in the world.” I couldn’t hear the clock ticking. I wish I’d listened closer.
And for that I hated Mauriceo and his gang even more, and for a long time. But the execution of a young man who didn’t even kill Mike? That’s not justice. It’s senseless vengeance, a barbarism cloaked in the black robes of justice.

There’s some big names urging Texas to reconsider too. Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu are both asking for the execution to be stopped. The former Bexar County D.A. has written to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

August 27, 2007
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P. O. Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711-3401
RE: Kenneth Foster

To the Honorable Members of the Board:

I am writing to urge you to recommend clemency in the Kenneth Foster case.
I am no wild-eyed, pointy-headed liberal. I am the former elected Bexar
County District Attorney (1983-1987); I am responsible for the prosecution of
more than a few death penalty cases, all of which produced convictions and
executions.

Because you have been buried with letters from throughout the world, I will
not rehash the facts and legal problems with the case in this letter; they
are obvious. There is nothing I can say about the legal issues or evidence
that you have not already heard ad nauseam.

Fortunately, I was no longer the Bexar County District Attorney when this
horrible crime was committed. Had I been, there is every likelihood that I
would have decided to seek the death penalty against Foster–because I could
have done so–and that would have been a mistake. With the benefit of 20
additional years of life experience, I now believe that no useful purpose is
served and it is morally wrong to execute a person based on nothing more than the
law of parties.

Is there no limit to our lust in this state for retribution? How many people
must we execute for this crime before justice is served? Having already
executed the shooter, what benefit results from the execution of someone who
was simply nearby and had no idea that a murder would be committed? As the
civilized world watches in amazement that a single American state has executed
400 people in the last 25 years, what does it say about us if we are willing
to execute someone who was in the car when this horrible crime was committed?

Surely, there is a limit to what we are capable of in this state.

There are tough cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case. If we
can’t say no to execution in a case like the Kenneth Foster case, there is
no practical limit to our thirst for vengeance. I urge you to recommend that
the Governor grant clemency in this case.

Sincerely yours,
Sam D. Millsap, Jr.

His eleven year old daughter doesn’t understand this either.

NYDESHA FOSTER: When somebody is a big part of your heart, like my father is — I mean, my father is more than half of my heart. I mean, I love him so much. And if the State of Texas kills him just for driving a car, it’s like you’re killing my heart. It’s like you’re killing half of me. It’s like if you execute him, you might as well execute me, because of the type of things and the could-have-should-have-known stuff, and it’s just how the Texas Law of Parties, they just really need to take the time to listen, and my dad probably would not be in the predicament that he is in, if the Law of Parties would take the time to listen to us.

Today’s planned protests are:


Austin, Thursday, August 30, 5:00 PM, Governor’s Mansion (Lavaca at 11th)?EXECUTION PROTEST AND VIGIL?Even in the eleventh hour things could turn for Kenneth. If you can’t make it to Huntsville, come out to stand with others against the execution.

Thursday, August 30:
3pm-7pm: Protest the execution of Kenneth Foster Jr outside the Ellis Unit in Huntsville Texas. Groups from all over the state will converge to stand against this injustice and demand until the very end that the State of Texas do the right thing and stop this execution.


Op-Ed: Will Texas Redeem Itself Before It’s Too Late

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I have been writing about the fate of Kenneth Foster Jr. He’s innocent of murder and yet tonight he will die unless Texas changes the course it is on.

It did.

Just in. Gov. Rick Perry spared the life of Foster at the last minute.

He is a number. #999232. He lives on death row. Today. Tomorrow he would have been dead.

“After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster’s sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment,” Perry said in a statement.

“I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine.”

The seven-member parole board had voted 6-1 to recommend the commutation.

I am putting the letter Kenneth Foster, Jr. sent to the governor of Texas in full. His case had to be heard. The case highlights why capital punishment is opposed by so many nations. Innocent people die. In this case a man the state knows is innocent was waiting to walk the long green mile until the last second. On the day that would have been his last the Governor came through and commuted his sentence to life.

A lot of people backed the young Foster in the end. The world saw an injustice about to be done and screamed out that it was wrong.

Foster wasn’t an innocent. He committed crimes. He made bad choices. He did not however murder someone. In the end that is what spared him.

And now for the letter he wrote.

Kenneth E. Foster, Jr.
#999232
Polunsky Unit (Death Row)
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

Texas Governor Rick Perry
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711

Dear Governor Perry,

Unaware of what I could possibly say that could make a difference, I decided to grasp this opportunity to write to you from my heart, because I believe that God declares for us to live each day to the fullest. While I know that you will be bombarded with letters from people, spoken to by legal representatives and addressed by the media, this is written on a personal basis.

I know that you will have detailed information about my case and the Law of Parties. However, please never forget that although I did not protest when Mauriceo Brown wanted to commit robberies, later I recognized that this was wrong to go along with, and out of respect for my grandfather, I said I had to stop. After I said I wanted to go home, Mauriceo Brown got out of the car to talk to Mary Patrick, and got into an argument with Michael LaHood, which ended with Mauriceo Brown shooting him, of which I had no foreknowledge and would never have permitted, had I known it were going to happen.

I would like to talk from another perspective. What can I say about this death row journey? It has been a curse and a blessing, because as ironic as it may be most humans fear the only thing they are promised at birth and that is death. And as the irony continues, one (here) learns to live by facing death. It’s a stunning process. Yet, for each man he experiences something different. I’ve observed some of the most complex and intricate human behavior probably on this earth – enough experience to more than likely surpass the credentials of any anthropologist or psychologist. I’ve watched the dreams and nightmares, the hope and despair. I could write a book on it and speak volumes to it. But, I will only say that I thank God for allowing me to journey through this keeping my sanity and being anointed with a gift to learn, grow, and pass on positivity.

There’s so much that the world doesn’t see – so much that politics will bar, but regardless of it all, a man still has the opportunity to tap into the beauty of humanity and experience that regardless of his outside circumstances. I just wish that you all could see it. I do realize that you feel you have a certain Justice to serve. I’ve come so far in my journey that I no longer hold spite, because I’ve been granted an Understanding that is keeping me. It was a quote that I read once that said – “To maim and destroy the body of man is no deed of recognition for valor, whether in war or in mortal conflict. But, to save a body, which is the temple of the soul, is an act and deed of the God-like.” Those words changed me, because it was just as much about me as anyone else.

Governor Perry, I don’t think that I have to detail why I feel my situation is unjust – either personally or politically. I believe that all the evidence and letters will speak so loud to you. However, I think it’s important to tell you that I have tried to use this situation as a transformation process. Everyday I have tried to be an exception to the stigmas and stereotypes. I wanted to show that a man here could be more than his error or labels. And so, as I submitted myself, I found the heart to pray for you and your family, the victim and his family, my co-defendants and their family. I’ve discovered (and hopefully others will, too,) that the pain, sorrow and compensation is not taken care of through simply saying I’m sorry or through hundreds of executions, rather giving love everyday, helping someone, speaking truth to power – showing that one man with courage can be a majority. The only Joy I have is in educating, reforming and revitalizing; and if you believe it or not I do this because of you all, not myself. Because if I did anything for me I’d be a wretch, but through you all (those that love me or not,) I’ve found humanity embracing me. I’m thankful, regardless.

You’re a history maker, Governor Perry, and I am a part of your history and I think what happens to me will be a relevant part of history. I wish I could appeal not only to your morale and conscience, but to your soul. I wish we could talk about the last 10 years and everything between. I wish we could view the way each life through this process has been touched. Often the Divine is revealed through the hardest trials and tribulations.

My only plea is that I wish I could live for the sake of my little daughter who will be so deeply wounded to not have her daddy. I do not want to be set free. I want to pay for what I did. I drove a car and let a man rob other people. That is not a capital crime. I allowed Mauriceo Brown to get back in the car. Because of my own blatant shock and disbelief at what had just occurred, I helped him leave a crime scene. That is not a capital crime. I never sought nor desired that Michael LaHood, Jr. be killed.

I wrote this letter from the heart, just trying to show you how one can transform, how beauty does persist, how change can come. I prayed different Psalms and Proverbs over this letter. I’ve passionately spoken all of my request for Forgiveness, Peace, Life, Justice, Freedom, Love, Understanding to The Creator and His Creation. I stand on the Faith knowing that all of the roles we have played in this walk of life will have a greater purpose. I’m glad to have had this opportunity to speak with you.

With God’s Love,

Kenneth Foster”

“I Like Turtles!!”