Category: Death Penalty

New evidence suggests Texas execution was case of mistaken identity

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – For many years, few questioned whether Carlos De Luna deserved to die. His execution closed the book on the fatal stabbing of Wanda Lopez, a single mother and gas station clerk whose final, desperate screams were captured on a 911 tape. Arrested just blocks from the bloody crime scene, De Luna was swiftly convicted and sentenced to death – even though the parolee proclaimed his innocence and named another man as the killer. But 16 years after he died by lethal injection, the Chicago Tribune has uncovered evidence strongly suggesting the acquaintance De Luna had named

China, Iran, Saudi, US main executioners: Amnesty

LONDON (Reuters) – More than 2,000 people were known to have been executed around the world last year, the vast majority of them in China, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States, Amnesty International said on Thursday. In its annual report on executions, the rights group said about 1,770 executions were reported to have been carried out in China in 2005, but added the real figure was undoubtedly much higher, noting a Chinese legal expert had been quoted as saying the true figure was about 8,000. More than 20,000 people were on death row around the world, said

DNA pardons raise concern about justice

DNA has the power to cut short nightmares — the horror of an innocent man behind bars for a crime someone else committed, the fear of a murderer walking free and looking to kill again. In the past 16 years, DNA testing has freed scores of prisoners found to be wrongfully convicted, resolved old mysteries including murders and rapes, and transformed the debate over the death penalty. It has shaken the foundations of the criminal justice system. DNA proved pivotal again Thursday, when an analysis confirmed that Roger Keith Coleman was indeed the man who raped, stabbed and nearly beheaded

The death penalty doesn’t pay

If the scheduled execution of Clarence Ray Allen goes forward on Jan. 16 — the day after his 76th birthday — he will be the oldest person executed in California since the death penalty was reinstated. But he will not be the first elderly, seriously ill inmate executed, nor will he be the last. Similarly, although his case received extraordinary media coverage, Stanley Tookie Williams was neither the first nor the last prisoner put to death who many believe had profoundly changed while in prison. What is extraordinary, however, about these two executions is that they will have occurred a

Governor Finds New Middle Ground in Death Penalty Debate

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 – Criminal justice was not high on Mark Warner’s to-do list when he was elected governor of Virginia in 2001. And he did not mention the subject in his farewell address to the legislature on Wednesday. But in four years as governor, Mr. Warner has incrementally and with little fanfare established groundbreaking policies on the use of DNA testing to confirm, or challenge, criminal convictions, many of them in death penalty cases. Last week, he became the first governor to order a DNA test involving a man who had already been executed. The actions of Mr. Warner,