Friday, October 07, 2005

Ronald Ray Howard - Texas

Texas executed Ronald Ray Howard last night. Thirty-two year old Howard was executed for the killing of Texas Department of Public safety Officer Bill Davidson when he was 18. Howard's case is fairly well-known. His attorneys argued that Howard killed Davidson as the result of the influence of "gangsta rap" music and its anti-police messages.

Before his death, Howard turned to Davidson's widow, daughter and brother and told them he hoped "this helps a little. I don't know how, but I hope it helps."

I guess that's all there is to say. I agree with Howard.

"Gangsta rap" killer executed for trooper's death

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Johnny Paul Penry

Great news! The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned Johnny Paul Penry's death sentence and remanded it to the trial court for a new punishment trial. The Court held that the jury in Penry's most recent retrial may not have considered his claims of mental impairment.

Penry was convicted of the 1979 murder of Pamela Carpenter to which he confessed. His IQ is reportedly below 70, although prosecutors have long argued that Penry's other social issues have prevented him from properly taking the IQ test (I wonder, did his lower IQ play a part in that confession? hmm). The United States Supreme Court already reversed Penry's sentence on two separate occasions (in 1989 and 2001) and the reasoning in those opinions has changed the way courts instruct juries in capital cases.

One has to wonder if the State of Texas will ever just give up and let Penry live his life out in a maximum security prison somewhere.

Texas court overturns death sentence