death penalty news----ARK., MO., NEV., CALIF., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-11-02 15:38:27 UTC
Nov. 2

ARKANSAS----impending execution

Death Row Inmate Scheduled To Be Executed Next Week

An inmate on death row is set to die next Thursday (Nov. 9), but the American
Bar Association and the killer's lawyers are trying to stop it.

It will be Arkansas' 1st execution since it put 4 men to death at the end of
April. Just before those executions, Jack Greene's former girlfriend broke her
silence to 5NEWS in her 1st on-camera interview.

Donna Johnson said Greene abused and tortured her for years.

"I'm always on edge," she said. "I myself cannot be at peace until I know 100 %
that he's dead."

Johnson and Greene met in 1984 in North Carolina. They eventually moved to
Springdale and had a daughter. Johnson said that soon after, she realized
Greene had a dark side. Johnson said Greene told her if she ever left him, he
would kill her and her entire family. During July of 1991, she decided to leave

Records show Greene went back to North Carolina, kidnapped his niece and killed
his brother. His niece, 16 at the time, survived. A week later, he went back to
Arkansas, which Johnson believes to look for her, but police had surveillance
watching the house where she was staying. Greene went to Sidney Burnett's
house, a pastor in Johnson County and someone Donna Johnson confided in.

"He beat that old man, tied him to a chair, beat that old man with a hominy
can, slit him from ear to ear, stabbed him," Johnson explained back in April.

During October 1992, a jury sentenced Greene to death for the slaying of the
pastor. Greene's attorney said Greene is delusional and that the death penalty
is not the appropriate punishment.

"It's not constitutional to execute someone who is suffering from a mental
illness that prevents him from rationally understanding his execution," John
Williams, Greene's federal public defender, said.

In the meantime, Greene waits on death row at the Varner Unit in Eastern

The American Bar Association wrote a letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson asking for
Greene's clemency because of his mental illness, but the governor has yet to
make a decision.

(source: KFSM news)


Hearing scheduled regarding death row inmate's mental state

A motion hearing for an Arkansas death row inmate scheduled to be put to death
in November has been set for this week.

Attorneys for inmate Jack Greene filed a civil suit against Wendy Kelley, the
director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, saying Greene is incompetent
to be executed due to his mental state. They argue holding his execution would
be unconstitutional.

ADC attorneys filed to dismiss the complaint.

The case goes before Jefferson County Circuit Court at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Jack Greene is set to die on November 9 after he was convicted in the 1991
death of Sidney Burnett.

(source: KATV news)


2 men arrested in Deerfield Township in deaths of elderly Missouri couple

A southern Missouri prosecutor will seek the death penalty against 2 men
accused of killing an elderly couple during a robbery, he said Monday.

Timothy Callahan, 44, of Farmington, Missouri, and David Young, 67, of Ironton,
Missouri, were arrested Saturday without incident at a motel in Deerfield
Township, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Both were charged with 2 counts each of
1st-degree murder.

Reynolds County, Missouri, prosecutor Michael Randazzo said in an interview
with The Associated Press that he will file additional charges of armed
criminal action, robbery and assault against both men, who are jailed without
bond in Ohio awaiting extradition.

Randazzo said there was evidence the crime was premeditated and he planned to
pursue the death penalty.

The men are accused in the shootings of 86-year-old James Nance, his
72-year-old wife, Janet, and a 73-year-old friend of the family on Oct. 18 at
the Nance home near Ellington, Missouri, about 125 miles southwest of St.
Louis. The third victim was shot twice in the head but survived.

Young was on probation after pleading guilty in 2016 to financial exploitation
of the elderly or disabled in Pulaski County, according to Missouri Case Net,
the state's online court reporting system. He was arrested again in September
and charged with scamming an elderly couple out of thousands of dollars by
convincing them to write multiple checks for the same job - painting their

"He would drive around looking for decent-looking homes, elderly couples, and
try to do work for them," Randazzo said.

Authorities believe the men may have originally planned a similar scam on the
Nances. Randazzo said it appeared they had contacted the couple about doing
work at their home, but ultimately decided instead to rob James Nance.

Randazzo said the robbery was in progress when Janet Nance and her friend
returned home from a shopping trip and encountered the gunmen.

(source: Associated Press)

NEVADA----impending volunteer execution

Nevada official responsible for planned execution has resigned

Questions arose about the upcoming execution of a Nevada death row inmate who
wants to die, with a disclosure in court that the state official who signed off
on the untried 3-drug protocol has resigned.

Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti responded with surprise
Tuesday when she was told that Dr. John DiMuro quit Monday as chief state
medical officer.

DiMuro says in a sworn document submitted by the state attorney general's
office that his resignation was "completely unrelated" to the planned Nov. 14
execution of Scott Raymond Dozier.

Attorneys from the federal public defender's office have been challenging the
newly drawn-up protocol for Dozier's lethal injection.

They said outside court they needed time to gauge what effect DiMuro's
resignation will have.

Another hearing is set Friday afternoon.

(source: Associated Press)


Death penalty foe expects 'wave' of California executions

California has not executed a prisoner since 2006, but a legal scholar who
opposes the death penalty says a recent state ballot measure and U.S. Supreme
Court rulings could doom as many as 20 inmates who have run out of appeals.

With the passage last year of Proposition 66, which eliminated regulatory
review of the state's new 1-drug execution procedures, "I think there's going
to be a wave of executions," Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley Law
School, said Tuesday in a meeting with The Chronicle's editorial board.

Out of 746 condemned inmates in California - the largest death row in the
country - at least 20 have lost all legal challenges and now are contesting
only the state's method of execution. Their case is before U.S. District Judge
Richard Seeborg of San Francisco, who must decide whether the state's
procedures and proposed drugs, some of them untested in executions, pose an
undue risk of a prolonged and agonizing death.

Another federal judge halted California executions in 2006, finding flaws in
lethal injection procedures and staff training. The state has rewritten its
rules several times since then, switching from a 3-drug combination to a fatal
dose of a single barbiturate after manufacturers withdrew other lethal drugs
from the market, but has not yet won court approval.

State courts ordered prison officials to seek public input on their latest
proposal, and thousands of comments arrived, most of them critical. But Prop.
66, approved by 51 % of voters in November 2016, allows officials to ignore
those objections and put the rules into effect. The state Supreme Court upheld
that provision and most other sections of Prop. 66 in a ruling that became
final last week.

Gov. Jerry Brown could commute some or all of the death sentences to life
without parole. But Brown, who personally opposes capital punishment, promised
during his 2014 re-election campaign that he would not issue any blanket
commutations for death row inmates.

Seeborg has granted stays of execution for all the inmates with cases in his
court, and prosecutors have not yet sought to set any execution dates. When
they do, however, the judge will be governed by U.S. Supreme Court rulings that
have given states considerable leeway in execution methods.

In particular, the court allowed Oklahoma in 2015 to use a drug that had
appeared to cause prolonged suffering at a previous execution. Justice Samuel
Alito, in the 5-4 ruling, said inmates had no right to challenge a particular
execution method unless they proposed a less-painful lethal procedure.

Based on that ruling, Chemerinsky said Tuesday, "it's just a matter of time
until challenges to methods of execution play themselves out."

Asked about Chemerinsky's prediction, attorney Aundre Herron, a board member at
the anti-capital punishment group Death Penalty Focus in San Francisco, said
she thought it was premature.

Although Prop. 66 "does raise some concerns about what options are available,"
Herron said, "each case is individual" and it's too soon to draw any

(source: San Francisco Chronicle)



Support for death penalty at lowest level in 45 years

A new Gallup poll shows 55 % of Americans are in favor of the death penalty,
the lowest % since 1972.

While the majority of Americans still favors capital punishment, support is at
its lowest since 1972, when 50 % of people supported the death penalty for
convicted murderers.

Support for the death penalty has steadily declined since 1994, when 80 % of
Americans were in favor of it, according to Gallup.

A slim majority - 51 % - now says the death penalty is applied fairly,
reflecting a split over common criticism that capital punishment is
disproportionately applied to minority defendants.

31 states currently allow the death penalty.

In 2016, 30 convicted criminals were sentenced to death in 2016, while 20
executions were carried out. The latter was the lowest number since 1991.

Federal law outlines 16 factors juries must consider when debating whether the
death penalty is justified, including whether the victim was a "high public
official" or the accused committed the crime in a particularly cruel way.

The House, in May, passed legislation that would have made the murder of a law
enforcement officer punishable by death.

Results for the poll are based on telephone interviews conducted from Oct. 5-11
with 1,028 adults living in the U.S. The margin of error is 4 % points.

(source: thehill.com)


'Its days are numbered': Conservative group seeks to end death penalty in
states, including Utah

A group of conservative state lawmakers says momentum is building to kill the
death penalty, noting an increase in the number of Republican leaders
sponsoring legislation to abolish executions in their states, adding to the
Democrats who have been at the forefront of this issue for years.

Last year, Republican state lawmakers led a third of legislative attempts to
end the death penalty, the highest percentage yet and a far cry from the
single-digit number of GOP leaders supporting such a move before 2012,
according to a study released Wednesday by the group Concerned Conservatives
About the Death Penalty.

For some Republicans, the opposition to executions is coming from their
"pro-life" beliefs while others call it a conservative, fiscal issue.

"Government needs to be accountable for the money it spends. Fiscal
responsibility calls for the end of the death penalty," said former Utah state
Sen. Steve Urquhart, a Republican who sponsored a bill in 2016 to end
state-authorized executions. "Money spent on the death penalty is foolish,
producing the exact opposite of what is intended. Compared to life
imprisonment, money spent on the death penalty turns murderers into
celebrities, it denies closure to family victims, and it mocks basic deterrent
concepts of our criminal laws."

Urquhart joined a group of GOP state officials at the National Press Club on
Wednesday to discuss the report, which showed a sharp increase in
Republican-led efforts to abolish the death penalty from the turn of the 21st
century and that GOP sponsorship of bills to jettison executions was strongest
in red states.

Democrats make up the majority of bill sponsors to end the death penalty but
Concerned Conservatives About the Death Penalty, founded in 2013, says more
Republicans are coming on board.

"Life imprisonment saves taxpayer money, provides swift and final justice and
condemns murderers to ignominious demise outside the public's gaze and
attention," said Urquhart, whose bill in the 2016 legislative session passed
the Senate but failed to get a vote in the House. Urquhart and a group of Utah
activists say they'll revive the issue during the upcoming session that begins
in January, though they couldn't yet name its sponsor.

Montana GOP state Rep. Adam Rosendale said conservative beliefs line up with
tossing out state-sanctioned executions because Republicans want a smaller
government that delivers services for taxpayers in the most efficient way.

"We expect things out of our government," Rosendale said Wednesday. "With the
death penalty, there's really not a return. The next step of taking their
lives, there's nothing to gain from that other than a corpse."

Former Nebraska state Sen. Colby Coash noted the number of condemned murderers
whose convictions have been overturned because of new evidence or technology
since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed itself and allowed the death penalty in
1973. Coash says the government isn't perfect and you can't take back an

"We know they get it wrong, and 157 people almost lost their lives because the
government got it wrong," Coash said. "It's because we are conservative that we
can stand here today and say it's not working for us."

Marc Hyden, a coordinator with the Concerned Conservatives About the Death
Penalty, says more conservatives coming on board will hasten the efforts to
stop capital punishment.

"Its days are numbered," he said.

(source: Salt Lake Tribune)

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