this may be messy and traumatic for everyone involved. he's got 2 more hours.
ATLANTA (CBS/AP) A federal judge has refused to block tonight's scheduled execution of a Georgia death row inmate who attempted to commit suicide on Tuesday, the day he was originally to be put to death.
According to court filings, 31-year-old Brandon Joseph Rhode used a razor to slash his elbows and his neck, which caused him to go into shock. Authorities say Rhodes may have also suffered brain damage as a result of immense blood loss.
Rhode was stabilized after his attempt and he's since been put in a restraining chair to prevent him from pulling out the sutures on his neck or doing any other harm to himself, a state attorney said.
nice. maybe now CA will use it. i'd like to see richard allen davis go first. it's better than he deserves. (murderer and rapist of Polly Klaas). hey, fuck YOU davis.
San Quentin unveils new lethal injection chamberThe spacious $853,000 center has three brightly lit witness viewing rooms
By Kevin Fagan
The San Francisco Chronicle
SAN QUENTIN, Calif. — Execution is going to be a much more visible and sterile experience at San Quentin State Prison from now on.
Prison officials offered the first glimpse of their new lethal injection center Tuesday — one week ahead of a planned execution few think will actually be carried out — and the differences between this stark-white place and the old apple-green gas chamber are marked.
The spacious $853,000 center has three brightly lit witness viewing rooms, and each gives a considerably better view than the cramped gas chamber's lone, poorly illuminated viewing room.
In particular, the main observation room for 12 state officials and 17 media witnesses offers four wide, flat windows looking straight into a roomy, open chamber where the lethal injection gurney sits. This makes every angle of the execution visible — unlike the truncated, partially blocked sightlines of the old center.
On the north side of this main witness room is a smaller, seven-seat room for survivors and friends of the condemned inmate's victims. On the south side is an identical room with seven chairs for relatives and friends of the prisoner. Each of those rooms has two wide windows providing unimpeded views.
Execution in doubt
But it is unclear whether there will be any witnesses at 12:01 a.m. next Wednesday to see rapist-murderer Albert Greenwood Brown, 56, put to death as planned. That's because the execution itself is in doubt.
Capital punishment in California has been blocked since 2006 by two state lawsuits contending improper procedures in planning injections and one federal suit contending that lethal injection is a cruel and unusual punishment. Though an injunction was lifted in one of the state suits Monday and U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose said Tuesday he will issue a ruling in the federal suit on Friday, there remain several avenues for appeal before an execution can take place.
When he halted all executions in February 2006, Fogel ruled that the state's procedures were so badly flawed, with poorly trained staff working with unclear instructions and little monitoring in a dimly lit chamber, they posed a risk of leaving the dying inmate conscious and in pain at levels that violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
In response, state officials revised the procedures and built the new death chamber in 2008.
"I don't know how they could simply dismiss the current legal challenges," said Lance Lindsey, executive director of Death Penalty Focus, which opposes capital punishment. "There is no reason to rush."
Proceeding as planned
Nonetheless, the state attorney general's office issued a death warrant for Brown's execution last month, and the prison has been making plans ever since for its first execution in four years. Brown raped and strangled a 15-year-old Riverside girl in 1980.
"We are fully prepared to carry out an execution on Sept. 29," acting Warden Vincent Cullen said Tuesday. "This facility is fully operational."
Unlike the 1937-vintage gas chamber that was tucked behind an ominous-looking iron door, from the outside the squarish new injection center looks as benign as a storage warehouse. It has no outside-looking windows, is painted beige, and is tucked beneath a fortresslike wall, 100 yards to the south of the gas chamber.
Inside the 23-by-10-foot, rectangular chamber where the prisoner will be injected with deadly chemicals, there is room for dozens of people — unlike the 7 1/2-foot-wide gas chamber where six guards had to squeeze by one another, with difficulty. The injection gurney - a converted, lime-green dentist chair onto which the prisoner is strapped down, flat on his back — sits in the middle with plenty of maneuvering room on three sides.
It's the same gurney that has been used in 11 lethal injections since 1996, when the method replaced gas executions in California.
In the much smaller, octagonal gas chamber, the six execution team members who had to strap the prisoner down and insert intravenous lines into his veins could barely move around one another. There's no chance of that happening in the new execution room, even with new procedures calling for a minimum of 20 execution team members inside and out of the death chamber.
The old gas chamber also had just five small windows separated by thick steel girders. Witnesses were gathered, all together, in a circle around the chamber. In the hazy light and with support pillars in the witness area blocking views, it was difficult to see more than a snippet of what was happening to the condemned man.
Seeing inmate, not viewers
The new injection chamber's views leave little unseen. The main difference is that unlike in the gas chamber, reporters won't be able to directly watch or hear the reactions of witnesses from the victim and inmate rooms to either side.
One major improvement in the new facility is that it has been wired with speakers. The condemned prisoner will be able to broadcast his last words by a wireless microphone held to his lips by one of the executioners.
The old gas chamber is still ready for use if needed, the warden said. But with the official method of execution in California being lethal injection, a prisoner would have to make a special request for gas instead.
Like the new injection room, the old gas chamber was entirely built by inmates.
7 PM today. they can't sedate him heavily, so i think it's going to be a struggle. hard on everyone.
ATLANTA (AP) -- Attorneys for a condemned Georgia man who authorities are trying to put to death for the third time in a week after he attempted suicide say that he is "no longer competent to be executed."
Brandon Joseph Rhode's attorney said "the threat of execution has pushed Mr. Rhode's limited coping skills to the breaking point" in a court filing Monday to the Georgia Supreme Court.
The inmate's legs are shackled and his hands are handcuffed and tied in a bag that is closed with a zip tie to prevent him from tearing out his sutures, Kammer said. The lights of Rhode's prison cell are kept on at all times and he's watched day and night by two prison guards posted on either end of his bunk, he said.
"This week of torturous treatment, both in prison and the court, along with a life without parole sentence, would serve as sufficient punishment," he said in a plea to commute his sentence.
The 31-year-old was convicted in 2000 of killing a father and two children during a burglary in their central Georgia home.
Rhode slashed his throat and arms hours before his Tuesday execution date, requiring hospitalization. The execution was then pushed back to Friday night amid ongoing appeals, but the state court postponed it again until Monday at 7 p.m.
edit at 8:40 PM. strange. he may be putting up a great deal of resistance.
As of about 8 p.m., a state Department of Corrections spokeswoman says the execution process has not started yet for convicted triple murderer Brandon Joseph Rhode.
Peggy Chapman says, "It seems to have been delayed. [The execution] has not started."
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Rhode around 8 p.m.
The execution process begins when the warden reads the order of execution. Everyone must be seated in the chamber at that time. The Warden will read the order of execution, then check to make sure there is no "stay." Afterwards, Rhode will be given two minutes to speak; can opt to receive a prayer by a clergyman and then he will receive the lethal injection drugs, said Chapman. The lethal injection drugs typically take several minutes to take effect.
A state board late Monday afternoon issued two more rulings against convicted triple murder Brandon Joseph Rhode.
The execution process was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The only inmate in modern history to survive an execution attempt must stay on death row, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today in a decision that leaves the man's fate up to the federal courts.
In a separate ruling, the court also determined that Ohio law doesn't allow a constitutional challenge of lethal injection.
Romell Broom's execution last year was stopped by Gov. Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours to find a suitable vein. Broom has said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense that he cried and screamed.
i wonder if the little girl cried and screamed.
He was sentenced to die for the 1984 rape and slaying of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton after abducting her in Cleveland as she walked home from a Friday night football game with two friends.
The court's decision on the constitutionality of lethal injection answered a question about state law that had been posed by a federal judge. The federal courts have already settled the constitutionality of lethal injection in Ohio in their own rulings on the state's new execution method, which involved one dose of a fatal drug and a backup procedure if needed.
Lawyers for death row inmates say the state still has problems accessing inmates' veins, which can cause severe pain. They also say the state doesn't adequately train its executioners. so train them to do a routine cut-down which is done when a vein can't be found for an IV in hospital.
In Broom's case, his attorneys argued that no attempt to execute him could be done without violating his constitutional rights prohibiting double jeopardy.
"His death sentence may no longer be carried out by any means or methods without violating the constitutional rights identified herein and he must be removed from death row and placed in the Ohio prison system's general population," his attorneys said in a September court filing.
The argument, rejected by the state Supreme Court on Thursday without comment, is similar to Broom's case pending in federal courts.
In August, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost ruled that Broom can continue to argue that a second execution try would be an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. Frost also said Broom could continue to argue he should have access to attorneys during any future execution attempt that might go awry.
In the injection ruling, justices in support of the decision said there was no reason to create a new avenue for appealing the procedure given the number of already existing state and federal appeals.
There "are more than adequate protections for those given the ultimate sentence," said Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton.
But outgoing Chief Justice Eric Brown, who lost election last month, said it was crucial to establish such a method of appeal.
"It is unthinkable that there could be no judicial forum in Ohio within which to explore the legal ambit of humane execution," Brown said.
Duty was convicted of the December 2001 slaying of 22-year-old Curtis Wise. At the time, Duty was serving three life sentences for rape, robbery and shooting with intent to kill, all dating to 1978.
According to court records, Duty convinced Wise that he could get some cigarettes if Wise pretended to be his hostage so that Duty could be transferred into administrative segregation. Wise agreed to let Duty bind his hands behind his back. Duty then strangled him with a sheet, court records state.
Investigators said Duty penned a letter to Wise's mother, Mary Wise, writing, "Well by the time you get this letter you will already know that your son is dead. I know now because I just killed him an hour ago. Gee you'd think I'd be feeling some remorse but I'm not."
(CNN) -- An Oklahoma death row inmate will receive a drug commonly used to euthanize animals Thursday because of a nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental, the drug usually used as the sedative in its three-drug execution cocktail.
John David Duty's execution will be the last in the United States in 2010 and is believed to be the first in the country to use pentobarbital in a lethal injection.
Duty was convicted and sentenced to die for strangling his 22-year-old cellmate, Curtis Wise, with shoe laces while serving three life sentences for rape, robbery and shooting with intent to kill from a 1978 conviction.
Duty wrote a letter to Wise's mother in December 2001, admitting to killing Wise and saying, "It's not like the movies, it took a while."
Sodium thiopental is a rapid-onset, short-acting barbiturate that causes unconsciousness. Duty's attorneys argued that pentobarbital was risky and unsafe. But an Oklahoma judge disagreed and last month approved its use in place of sodium thiopental.
The sedative is the first drug in Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol. It is followed by vecuronium bromide, a drug that causes paralysis and stops breathing. The third drug, potassium chloride, stops the heart.
Pentobarbital is used in a similar manner for animal euthanizations.
Duty's execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. For his last meal, Duty has requested a double cheeseburger with mayonnaise, a foot-long cheese Coney dog with mustard and extra onions, cherry limeade and a banana shake from Sonic.
Although the history of this tradition is difficult to trace, most modern governments that execute prisoners subscribe to it.
The ancient Greeks, Chinese, and Romans all traditionally gave the condemned man a final meal. The Aztecs fed their human sacrifices for up to a year before killing them.
In pre-modern Europe, granting the condemned a last meal has roots in superstition: a meal was a highly symbolic social act. Accepting freely offered food symbolized making peace with the host. The guest agreed tacitly to take an oath of truce and symbolically abjured all vengeance. Consequentially, in accepting the last meal the condemned was believed to forgive the executioner, the judge, and witnesses. The ritual was supposed to prevent the condemned from returning as a ghost or revenant to haunt those responsible for their killing. As a superstitious precaution, the better the food and drink, the safer the condemned's oath of truce. Last meals were often public, and all parties involved in the penal process took part.