Friday, May 13, 2005

George James Miller Jr. - Oklahoma

The State of Oklahoma executed George James Miller Jr. yesterday evening for the murder of Kent Dodd. Miller was convicted of killing Miller based on circumstantial evidence. He has continually claimed innocence of the crime. Nonetheless, his appeals were denied and Miller was executed for a crime with only circumstantial evidence to prove his guilt.

Seems to me that its one thing to convict a man based on circumstantial evidence (it happens all the time), and entirely another to condemn him to his own murder. Miller may very well have been guilty, but circumstantial evidence shows only that, circumstances. Even a small chance that the only thing the evidence truly shows is that Miller was in the wrong place at the wrong time, should be enough to allow him to live.

Man Executed for Killing in Okla. City

Michael Ross - Connecticut

The Ross circus is over. In the dead of night, the State of Connecticut executed Michael Ross by lethal injection. The execution was the first in New England in over forty-five years.

Michael Ross had admitted to killing eight women in both Connecticut and New York. Ross had served 21 years on death row and had waived all of his appeals. Several of his family members had filed numerous appeals on Ross' behalf (against his wishes), and the last of those appeals was denied by the United States Supreme Court late last night. Ross's relatives argued that Ross suffered from "death row syndrome" and that his mental state had degraded to the point where he felt it would be better to die.

Michael Ross got his wish. The State of Connecticut performed his suicide for him. Michael Ross waived his appeals for himself and not for his victims, but I hope that his death can now bring some sense of peace to the families of his victims. At least now, the media circus should end and the extended legal fight is over.

I admit, its hard for me to have sympathy for Michael Ross. His crimes were indeed some of the worst of the worst. That doesn't change the fact that I do not think he should have been killed. It also doesn't change the fact that I think the death penalty is flawed public policy.

For more information on Michael Ross and the fight to save his life, see the NCADP blog where David has posted a couple of commentaries, including a dissent from the CT Supreme Court.

Connecticut serial killer put to death

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Michael Ross

The Michael Ross circus has begun again. Connecticut is scheduled to execute Michael Ross early Friday morning. If it proceeds, it will be the first execution in New England in 45 years.

So far, the Connecticut Supreme Court has denied a request to stay Ross' execution. The battle is undoubtedly not over yet though. Ross has stated he wants to drop all appeals and be put to death. However, his family is fighting his competency to waive his appeals and I expect its likely his family will appeal this ruling to the Federal Courts or to the U.S. Supreme Court directly and will also file a clemency request with the governor.

Stay tuned...

Connecticut Supreme Court won't block Ross execution

Friday, May 06, 2005

Earl Richmond Jr. - North Carolina

Earl Richmond Jr. died at 2:19 a.m. this morning after the State of North Carolina administered a lethal injection. The article below states correctly that Richmond arrived in the execution chamber strapped to a gurney with "bags of poison hanging at his side." That's exactly what it is - poison.

Richmond killed a number of people, including the ex-wife and two children of Wayne Hayes. After his death, Richmond's attorneys read a statement of apology. According to his attorneys, Richmond did not want anyone to think that his statements of remorse were a ploy to seek clemency.

Earl Richmond expressed his hope that the families of his victims could find peace through his death. I hope for the same.

N.C. executes man convicted in deaths of four people

Thursday, May 05, 2005

An Anniversary

Well gang. I missed the official date, but as of this week, the Lonely Abolitionist has been on the e-waves for one full year. My first post was on May 2, 2004. In that time, I've posted obits on almost all of those executed (54 in total). The first execution after the blog started was of Kelsey Patterson, a mentally ill man in Texas who's lawyers unsuccessfully attempted to save his life with last minute clemency requests and appeals. We've also seen several changes in the law through state legislation and Court intervention (including the U.S. Supreme Court's decision regarding execution of juveniles).

During this year, there have been over 5000 visits to the blog. People find it through links to other anti-death penalty websites or via searches or particular topics or individuals (John Lotter is a common search, and a lot of people found the blog during the first round of Michael Ross appeals). In the meantime, several other anti-death penalty blogs have sprung up. At the time I started this venture, I couldn't find any blogs dedicated to death penalty work.

Thanks for helping this be a terrific year. Its been a great ride so far.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lonnie Wayne Pursley - Texas

The State of Texas executed its sixth man of 2005 tonight. Lonnie Wayne Pursley, 43, died from a lethal injection shortly after 6:00 p.m. According to reports, Pursley seemed at peace about his death because he had found Christianity and believed he was "going home." He also received word that the family of his victim, Robert Earl Cook, had offered their forgiveness.

Three-Time Parolee Executed in Texas