A state prison inmate who wanted to build a fire in the prison to practice an ancient polytheistic Nordic religion was turned down by an appeals court Tuesday
An inmate serving life in prison for a torture murder that sent two co-defendants to death row wants a federal judge to approve a toy sword and other items and privileges for the practice of an ancient European religion.
STAUNTON, Va. – The six inmates gathered around a makeshift altar to pay homage to the Norse gods they worshipped as part of their dedication to Asatru, a pagan religion. But tension was brewing among the Ironwood Kindred, as the men were known in the Augusta Correctional Center. Inmate Michael Lenz thought Brent Parker had committed blasphemy. And for that, Lenz believed, his fellow inmate must pay. The peaceful ceremony exploded into a bloody melee that left Parker dead and landed Lenz on Virginia’s death row. His execution is slated for Thursday. Asatru has been growing in popularity among the
Asatru brethren teach openness John Powell gripped the hammer of Thor in both hands and began the short ceremony, facing north. “In the name of Thor, god of thunder, I ward this stead against all evil and unholy beings,” said Powell, 53, an ordained ghodi, or priest, of the Asatru religion. “Make it a place of goodness this day.” Stepping to each of the four cardinal corners, Powell repeated a version of the prayer. “By the power of Mjollnir” (pronounced “MILL-ner”) “hammer of Thor, I ward this stead against all evil and unholy ettins, wights, jodins and trolls,” Powell said.
Stay Issued After Supreme Court Rejects Separate Appeal RICHMOND, Va. — A federal judge today halted the execution of a state prison inmate scheduled to die tomorrow night for stabbing to death a fellow inmate. U.S. District Judge Samuel Wilson of Charlottesville issued a stay so lawyers for Michael W. Lenz, 40, can pursue a habeas appeal through the federal courts. Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a separate appeal from Lenz. A habeas filing, routine in most death cases, enables a court to determine whether a person is being detained unjustly. Lenz was sentenced to death for stabbing
The U.S. Supreme Court refused Wednesday to halt the execution of a self-described high priest of a pagan religion who was to receive a lethal injection for fatally stabbing a fellow inmate. But it was unlikely that Michael W. Lenz, 40, would be put to death Thursday night as scheduled. Lenz’s lawyer, Jenny Givens, said she planned to file a request for a stay with U.S. District Court in Richmond so Lenz could begin a new round of appeals. “He’s entitled to a stay pending his federal appeals,” said Givens. “He will not be executed Thursday night.” Tim Murtaugh, spokesman
RICHMOND, Va. — Barring intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, a self-described high priest of a pagan religion will be executed Thursday for fatally stabbing a fellow inmate. Michael W. Lenz, 40, was sentenced to die for plunging a homemade knife into Brent Parker 68 times four years ago at the Augusta Correctional Center. He was scheduled to be put to death by injection at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. Condemned inmates are given a choice of lethal injection or electrocution. Lenz did not make a choice, meaning the default method of injection as prescribed
STAUNTON — A July 1 execution date has been set for a self-professed Nordic high priest who killed a fellow inmate at the Augusta Correctional Center. Michael W. Lenz, 40, was sentenced to die for plunging a homemade knife into Brent Parker 68 times four years ago. Lenz lost his latest round of appeals with the Virginia Supreme Court in early March. An Augusta County judge set the execution date Tuesday. Lenz argued at his July 2000 trial that he feared Parker and killed him in self-defense. Lenz, then serving a seven-year sentence for a string of burglaries in Prince
A Virginia death row inmate who was to be executed for the 2000 fatal stabbing of another prisoner committed suicide in his cell, state officials said yesterday. Jeffery A. Remington, 39, was found dead in his single cell at Sussex I prison near Waverly early Monday, Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said. A spokeswoman with the state medical examiner’s office said Remington hanged himself. No execution date had been set for Remington, who was convicted of capital murder in the Jan. 16, 2000, stabbing death of Brent H. Parker, a fellow inmate at Augusta Correctional Center, Traylor said. Another
Napa Valley Register, June 21, 2003 http://www.napanews.com/ By VIVI STENBERG-WILLIAMS, Register Staff Writer A Napa couple is tapping into an ancient Nordic religion to lead a growing number of prison inmates toward a spiritual awakening. Guided by Norse gods and goddesses, John and Monica Post are leading the rapidly growing National Prison Kindred Alliance (NPKA). At their last count, the Posts said they sent out more than 11,000 newsletters to imprisoned followers of a religion called Asatru. They also run Himminbjorg Publishing, which offers books and material on Asatru, and John founded a church called The Temple of Wotan to