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DEATH ROW--death penalty in America
this thread will focus on executions in the U.S.
today, this guy gets it.
feel free to weigh in with your opinion of the death penalty.

California has the nation's largest death row, with 708 condemned inmates. Nationally, there were 61 condemned women at the start of this year, compared with more than 3,200 men, according to the Death Penalty Information Center database.

Dad to make 3rd trip to Texas death chamber for execution of gang member who killed daughter

August 17, 2010
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Randy Ertman knows the road to the Texas death chamber too well.

He's set to make the trip again, to witness for the third time the execution of one of the gang members responsible for the rape and murder of his teenage daughter and her schoolmate.

This time, it will be the lethal injection on Tuesday of Peter Anthony Cantu, the leader of the five young men who were sentenced to die for the June 1993 murders of 14-year-old Jennifer Ertman and 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena.

It's not lost on him that Cantu has lived in prison longer than Jennifer and Elizabeth were alive.

"He should have been hung outside the courthouse," Ertman said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't mean this in a gruesome way, but if they want to make the death penalty a deterrent, up in front of (Houston) City Hall, they've got all these beautiful trees. They should have hung them. If they hung all five of them, that would be a deterrent."

The case horrified Houston. Nearly two decades after friends and relatives frantically distributed flyers offering a $10,000 reward for help finding the teenagers who failed to return home from a summer pool party, prosecutor Donna Goode still has one in her office.

"Two beautiful young girls," Goode says. "I think about them."

Their battered and decomposing bodies, left to mummify in a wooded field in the relentless heat of Houston's summer, were found four days after they disappeared.

"They become everybody's daughter," recalled Don Smyth, a retired Harris County assistant district attorney who had helped prosecute Cantu. "Parents always worry about their kids, especially their daughters."

Of the six people convicted, five were sentenced to death. Two who were 17 when the girls were killed were spared the death penalty when the U.S. Supreme Court barred execution of people who were under 18 when they committed their crimes. The person not sentenced to death, 14 at the time, got a 40-year sentence.

Two of Cantu's companions in the gang they dubbed the Black and White preceded him to the death chamber.

Ertman made the drive here four years ago for the first execution. Derrick O'Brien, belted to a gurney, looked through the death chamber window at Ertman and other relatives of the girls and called his involvement "the worst mistake that I ever made in my whole life." Seven minutes later, O'Brien was dead.

In August 2008, Ertman again climbed the steps to the red-bricked Huntsville Unit prison. Mexican-born Jose Medellin, 33, with needles in his arms, also apologized. Nine minutes later, he was dead.

Ertman rejected an invitation from Cantu's lawyer to come to his office and read a letter of apology from Cantu.

"It's a little late," Ertman said. "I told him to stick it. Hell, no."

On that June night, the girls were hoping to beat an 11:30 p.m. curfew by taking a shortcut home to Pena's northwest Houston neighborhood. They were crossing a railroad bridge when the gang, drinking beer and initiating a new member, spotted them.

One of the gang members grabbed Pena. She screamed. Ertman tried to help.

In what police later would describe as a sadistic frenzy, the girls were gang-raped for more than an hour. They were forced to perform oral sex. They were kicked, teeth knocked out and hair pulled out and ribs broken. A red nylon belt, with an attacker tugging at each end, was pulled so tightly around Ertman's neck the belt snapped. Shoelaces were used to strangle Pena.

Evidence showed Cantu kicked one of the girls in the face with his steel-toed boot.

"The victims were so sympathetic and rightly so," said Robert Morrow, one of Cantu's trial lawyers. "Just a bad, bad case."

A tip led authorities to the bodies. And Cantu's brother, upset at the gang's gloating about having fun with the girls, called police.

Cantu, then 18, orchestrated the attacks and slaying. He became notorious for trying to kick a TV cameraman recording his arrest.

Because of repeated behavioral problems, Cantu had been in an alternative school since sixth grade. At age 11, he got caught stealing a bike from a younger boy. His offenses escalated to car theft and an attempted stabbing.

Authorities later linked him and O'Brien to a killing six months before the attack on Ertman and Pena. In that case, a 27-year-old woman was found at a Houston park with her throat cut. She'd been raped and eviscerated.

On death row, Cantu, now 35, was classified among the best-behaving inmates.

"He has matured remarkably," said Robin Norris, his appeals lawyer. "He's a guy who fully accepts his responsibility."

At his sentencing for the Ertman-Pena case, the judge asked Cantu if there was any reason the sentence shouldn't be imposed.

"Nah," Cantu replied. He has declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared.

Court appeals to delay the punishment appeared exhausted. On Friday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles refused his clemency petition.

Cantu, the first of five to be tried, convicted and condemned, will be the last to be executed.

Ertman will stand a few feet away, watching again through the window.

cantu and the victims

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I agree with the father, they should have hung their junky asses in front of the court house.

In cases where there is absolutely no doubt of ones' guilt, they should be put to death immediately.
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I remember a few years ago in one of the Arab states there was a taxi driver who raped young
girls/women in his cab. He was sentenced to death immediately. His body was stretched across
an iron bed-frame and the parents of the victims were allowed to give him ten whipping-strokes
each, although it was reported that some parents were allowed to carry on for longer. He then
had a rope around his neck and was lifted, iron bed-frame and all, into the air until he was
unconscious but not presumed dead (there were no checks made) and then lowered for the masses
to tear his body apart.

Now I keep getting told that Islam and Sharia Law is compassionate - but that was too much.
The "Western-sympathiser" Arab reporter (biased?) said many in the crowd were physically sick at
this spectacle.

Would you really like to this in your home town square?
(08-17-2010, 07:28 AM)God Wrote: Would you really like to this in your home town square?

It's pretty barbaric but, sure, as long as people weren't forced to participate & there is no doubt whatsoever as to the guilt of the person.

I think most people reap what they sow. I don't believe in karma. Bad things happen to wonderful people all the time while the guilty come out smelling like a rose. I'd be all for the justice of the wild west.
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I think I need glasses or something (talk about leaving myself wide open for Mockery here!)
I think I have typed a word and find out later I haven't.

I guess I'll take things a little slower! (More Mockery ammo!) lol!
well this IS about the death penalty in the US, not stoning, beheading, traitor's death of hang/draw/quarter, madame la guillotine, none of that. after all, 'cruel and unusual' is disallowed under our Constitution. i like double-tap myself, swift and sure.
i do think we have to get it right, allow appeals and be 100% sure of guilt. i have no doubt that we as a society have executed innocent people in the past. somehow it must be dished out equally, not only to the poor.
but it shouldn't take 20 years to carry out a lawful execution. justice delayed is justice denied.

I remember Timothy McVie /McVey(?) - aka the Oklahoma Bomber -
he refused all appeals etc and is the quickest Death Row inmate to die
and that took 9 months. Not bad really if we could get all appeals done in,
say, 2 years? But how to reduce the cost to the public purse?
an easy death...unlike the girls.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Texas on Tuesday executed the leader of a former gang of Houston teenagers who raped and murdered two young girls who were walking home from a neighborhood party 17 years ago.

Peter Anthony Cantu, 35, was strapped to a gurney in the Huntsville Unit prison death chamber and administered a lethal injection at 6:09 p.m. CDT. He was pronounced dead eight minutes later as relatives of his victims, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, looked stoically through a window a few feet from him.

Asked by the warden if he had any last statement, Cantu replied: "No."

He never looked at any of the witnesses, including his victims' parents.

victims' fathers witnessed.

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I know this sounds incredibly nieve of me - if we have gone so far in Capital Punishment
from stoning, etc, firing squad, to lethal injection, why are we strapping them to the gurney
if they are showing compliance? The majority of condemned prisoners want a quiet, "dignified"
exit and are compliant; is it so necessary to strap them down for their final few minutes,
if they are compliant?

This is not to feel sorry for them and give a slap to the victims, but isn't this, too, taking things
a bit too far?

If I was headed to the death chamber, they'd need to strap me down 'cuz I'm not going quietly, no fuckin' way.
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Yes, but then, you always were a kinky bitch for straps....
not everyone is compliant, and it could be an ugly scene if you have to fight someone to get a line into an arm. some people will understandably panic or resist at the last minute.

especially when going to the chair. ted bundy had to be dragged sniveling and crying. 34

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Don't know why - it's an experience of a lifetime!
Daily Mail
'No regrets': Texas executioner retires after putting 139 men (and one woman) to death in just SIX years

For 140 people over the past six years, the soft Texas drawl of Charles O'Reilly was the last voice they heard before they died.

And Mr O'Reilly, who retired this week from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit - where he presided over more lethal injections than any other warden - says he has no regrets.

'I don't have any intentions of changing my mind, reflecting on how could I have ever done this stuff,' he said of the execution duty, which began for him in September 2004 when he took over the more than century-and-a-half-old 1,700-inmate penitentiary in downtown Huntsville.

'If you think it's a terrible thing, you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

'You don't do 140 executions and then all of a sudden think this was a bad thing.'

Mr O'Reilly, who turns 60 today, retired after more than 33 years with the Texas prison agency.

The 140 inmates whose executions he estimated he oversaw account for about a third of the 463 put to death since Texas resumed carrying out of capital punishment in 1982.

Some did leave an impression, although the only name that came immediately to mind for him was Frances Newton, who in 2005 became the third woman executed in Texas in modern times.

She was the only woman executed under Mr O'Reilly's watch.

'One guy, he cracked jokes, he cracked jokes through the whole thing,' Mr O'Reilly said. 'I can't remember his name. But I remember things like that.'

While he remembers the professionalism everyone shows throughout the process, it's the last words of the inmate that tend to draw the most attention.

With witnesses assembled and looking through windows, the chaplain normally offering a comforting hand resting on the inmate's leg and the final OK from a prison department executive, Mr O'Reilly, standing near the prone inmate's head, would lean over.

'I ask them: "Do you wish to make a statement?" ' he said.

'I leave the words "last" out, or "final," or anything like that. I think that's probably better than making a last statement, or final word. I just try to keep that out of it."

The condemned inmates arrive in Huntsville from death row, at a prison about 45 miles to the east, early in the afternoon on the day of an execution.

The punishments generally occur just past 6pm.

Mr O'Reilly would meet with inmates when they arrived to explain what would happen.

'What I want to do is talk to him and figure out his demeanour,' he said.

'Whenever they get here, they're either angry, extremely upset or nervous. They know why they're here... It's weighing kind of heavy on them.

'One way or another, it's weighing heavy on everyone here.

'I tell them I want to afford them all the dignity they allow us to. I tell them I'm going to come back at 6 o'clock and tell them "it's time".'

Few condemned inmates balked when the 'time' arrived, he said.

'We've had some tell us "I'm not going to fight, but I'm not going to walk",' he said.

'We picked them up and carried them. Ninety-nine per cent of them, they walked on their own.'

He told inmates they could say whatever they wanted in their last statement, but it must be in English.

'That's all I understand,' he said - and it can't be profane. If the obscenities start, so do the drugs.

'He's got about 15 seconds to do all the cussing he wants to and it will be all over,' Mr O'Reilly said.

'It is going to be the last thing they're going to say. It ought to mean something.
'Most of the statements are pretty decent. They apologise to the victim's family and tell their family they love them.'
Once the statement is complete, the drugs begin, normally carried through needles inserted in each arm of the prisoner. About five minutes later, a physician is summoned to make the death pronouncement.

The Huntsville Unit was the 11th stop in a career that took Mr O'Reilly to prisons from one end of Texas to the other beginning in January 1977.

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Hey.........God is unregistered ..........rat bastard! hah
You couldn't get a clue during the clue mating season in a field full of horny clues if you smeared your body with clue musk and did the clue mating dance.
VA. may execute the first woman in that state in 98 years. on Sept.23. 34
frankly i have known almost as many women deserving of execution as men. the reluctance on the part of juries and judges is a throwback to when women were considered the gentle and "fairer sex".

story from TIME magazine:
After midnight on Oct. 30, 2002, two men crept into an unlocked trailer in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. A family of three was sleeping. Toting shotguns, the intruders roused Teresa Lewis, now 40, and told her to leave the bedroom she shared with her husband Julian. One of the men shot Julian several times. The other intruder stalked down the hall and put five bullets into Julian's son, C.J., a U.S. Army reservist. The intruders divvied up the cash in Julian's wallet and fled the trailer. About 45 minutes later !!!, Teresa Lewis called the police to report that her husband and stepson had been killed. But when the police arrived, Julian Lewis was still alive. Among his last words was an ominous accusation: "My wife knows who done this to me."

She did. As detailed in court documents, Teresa Lewis had paid the shooters — Matthew Shallenberger, 22, and Rodney Fuller, 19 — to kill her husband and stepson. Some murders are spurred by sex and others by money; in this one it was both. After meeting the pair at a local Walmart, Lewis started an affair with Shallenberger. In return for killing Julian and C.J. Lewis, Teresa promised to split her stepson's $250,000 life-insurance policy with the two men, and she fronted $1,200 in cash to buy the guns and ammunition with which her family would be executed. In May 2003, after waiving her right to a trial, Lewis pleaded guilty to seven offenses, including two counts of murder for hire. A judge, deeming Lewis the crime's mastermind — "the head of this serpent," as he put it — sentenced her to death by lethal injection. The triggermen, who also pleaded guilty, were given life sentences.

Barring the U.S. Supreme Court's intervention or a decision by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to grant clemency, on Sept. 23 Lewis will become the first woman executed by the commonwealth in 98 years, and just the 12th overall since the U.S. reinstated the death penalty in 1976. No one disputes her guilt, or the heinousness of her crime. Whether she should be put to death for it is a murkier matter.

Lewis' lawyers have offered several reasons for why her sentence should be lightened, including tests that show Lewis is on the cusp of mental retardation. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that executing mentally retarded prisoners violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. she is NOT retarded or too stupid to execute as her lawyer claims. But Virginia does not consider prisoners mentally handicapped unless they score significantly below the mean on an IQ test and struggle to function in society. Lewis — who scored as low as 70 — hasn't qualified in the eyes of appeals courts. In addition to her poor cognitive abilities, says Lewis' current lawyer Jim Rocap, she was addled by an addiction to prescription painkillers at the time of the killings, a condition that Rocap says contributed to her apparent lack of remorse. (According to the court documents, she began inquiring about redeeming her husband's paycheck and stepson's life-insurance policy, for example, just hours after the murders.) DIE

Some medical experts also determined that Lewis suffered from a dependent-personality disorder, Blah-blah-0006 which left her particularly susceptible to manipulation by men. Rocap, who has represented Lewis since 2004, argues that Lewis was exploited by Shallenberger, who tested as considerably more intelligent and penned a 2003 letter to an associate stating that he had struck up an affair with Lewis to "get her to 'fall in love' with me so she would give me the insurance money." (Shallenberger committed suicide in 2006.) "Nobody who has personal knowledge of their relationship disputes that he was the leader, the person controlling Teresa," Rocap says. But Lewis' trial lawyers declined to address this point during the sentencing phase of the case, and appellate law limits the type of evidence that can be introduced during habeas hearings.

In deciding whether to grant clemency, Governor McDonnell can consider a range of mitigating circumstances, including the Shallenberger letter and Lewis' behavior during the seven years she has lived in an isolated, 6-by-8-ft. cell at a Fluvanna County correctional facility. During her imprisonment, Lewis' faith has deepened 30 surprise surprise, she done found God! 30. She ministers to other prisoners and has "provided some measure of peace" to troubled inmates, says the Rev. Lynn Litchfield, Lewis' prison chaplain until April 2009. "I really believe Teresa can be a positive influence inside," Litchfield says. Governor McDonnell will issue a clemency ruling by Sept. 18, in keeping with his policy of ruling on clemency petitions at least five days before the date of a scheduled execution, says his spokesman, Tucker Martin.

Rocap describes his client as anxious and apprehensive as the days tick away. "She wants to live. She's not resigned to dying," he says. "She thinks she has a lot to offer and she wants to do anything she can to make people realize she's much more than the person that was depicted on the worst day of her life." In testimony written by Lewis and read by a fellow inmate at services held in late August, the condemned was remorseful. "I've done so many things wrong. I took two people's lives that I loved very much and I hurt so many more that I loved as well!" she writes, later adding, "I don't want to die this way, or actually die at all! ... I will fight to the end, and in the end, no matter what, I'm gonna win either way."

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I have no compassion for her or people like her. I think they all should be wiped of the map. I don't care how sorry any of these people are, I don't care about anything in regards to them. Just kill them & get it over with. I don't believe in giving second chances, I don't give a fuck who you are. Put her to death & move on.
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Teresa Lewis' husband, Julian, lay on the bedroom floor, bleeding and gasping while she stood in the kitchen of their Pittsylvania County mobile home, pulling money from his wallet and handing it to Matthew Shallenberger, the man who had just committed the murder with a shotgun she paid for.

Her stepson Charles was already dead, killed by another man, Rodney Fuller, with another shotgun bought with Lewis' money.

Shallenberger handed some of the money from the wallet to Fuller. Shallenberger told Teresa Lewis he was sorry she had to go through this. He hugged her. He kissed her. Then he left.

Nearly an hour later, Lewis dialed 911 to report that her husband and stepson had been killed by an intruder. When sheriff's deputies arrived more than 20 minutes later, they found Julian Lewis was still alive.

"My wife knows who done this to me," he said before dying.

That was the day before Halloween, 2002.

Julian Lewis' first wife died after a long illness in January 2000. Three or four months later, he met Teresa Bean. They both worked for Dan River Inc. In June that year, Bean moved in with Lewis. They married.

Lewis' oldest son, Jason, died in a car wreck the next year. Lewis, the beneficiary of his son's life insurance policy, got $200,000. Lewis' other son, an Army reservist, made his father the beneficiary of his $250,000 life insurance policy.

Soon after Charles Lewis took out that policy, Teresa Lewis met Fuller and Shallenberger. They hatched a plan to kill her husband and her stepson and split the money.

Lewis took her 16-year-old daughter to meet the men in a Danville parking lot. Lewis had sex with Shallenberger in one car while her daughter had sex with Fuller in another, according to the court documents. Later, Fuller and Shallenberger came to the trailer Lewis shared with her husband, where she performed what court papers describe as a "lingerie show" before having sex with both men. Slut

One week before the murders, she gave the men $1,200 to buy guns and ammunition.

yesterday VA gov. denied commutation of her execution set for Thurs. unless US Supremes step in, she gets it.
here is a very good report (video) from CNN, you can hear her speak before Gov.'s decision, and finally a photo of the killer boyfriend who hung himself. i couldn't find one before.


edit to add: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a stay of execution appeal from Teresa Lewis, scheduled to be the first woman executed in the United States in five years.

uh, can't kill yourself when we're going to do it for you.

Execution Delayed After Suicide Attempt
Posted: 6:10 am EDT September 22, 2010

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Supreme Court delayed the execution Tuesday of a man convicted of three 1998 slayings who attempted to commit suicide hours before he was put to death.

The court's order postponed the execution of Brandon Joseph Rhode, 31, so his attorneys have a chance to consult with their client and file a new mental competency challenge. Georgia corrections officials have rescheduled the execution for Friday at 9 a.m.

Rhode's attorney Brian Kammer filed an emergency motion arguing that the attempted suicide proves Rhode was "incompetent" and that executing him violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"He's utterly terrified and just hopeless," said Kammer, who said his client tried to slit his wrists and his throat. "He was very morose, frightened and subdued. This was a product of him just being in terror, of losing hope altogether."

Rhode was convicted in 2000 of the killings of Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin during a burglary of their Jones County home. His co-conspirator, Daniel Lucas, was also sentenced to death in a separate trial and is on death row.

Rhode and Lucas were ransacking the home in search of valuables in April 1998 when Bryan Moss saw them through a front window, and entered through a back door with a baseball bat, prosecutors said. They say the two then wrestled Bryan to a chair and Lucas shot him in the shoulder.

When the two men heard Kristin approaching the house, Rhode forced her to a chair and shot her twice with a pistol, according to court records. Rhode ambushed Steven Moss when he arrived home, shooting him. Lucas later shot each of the victims again to make sure they were dead, according to the records.

At the February 2000 trial, Rhode's roommate Chad Jackson said the two men told him the next day that they had both shot the victims. And Danny Ray Bell, a friend of Rhode's, told police that Rhode told him he had "messed up big time" and shot a girl and a man and needed to quickly get rid of some weapons.

Rhode also told investigators he admitted firing at Kristin with the pistol, and he led officers to two locations where he and Lucas had dumped two pistols. Experts matched them to bullets retrieved at the crime scene and the victims' bodies.

During the sentencing phase, Rhode's defense attorneys argued that Lucas killed the three victims while Rhode "turned his head and closed his eyes" to fire only one shot that may not have struck Kristin. He also testified it was Lucas' idea to rob the Moss home and that he remembered "freezing up" when the shooting started.

Kammer has argued in appeals that his client should be granted clemency because doctors have now discovered he suffers from organic brain damage and a fetal alcohol disorder.

"What that means is he's someone for whom it is extra difficult to cope with the stress of a crisis like this," said Kammer. "He's not someone who is firing on all cylinders, and this is the result."

Suicide attempts on death row, while rare, do happen. Ohio inmate Lawrence Reynolds overdosed on an antidepressant in March hours before he was to be transferred to the state's death chamber. He recovered in a hospital and was executed a week later.

And Texas executed David Long in December 1999 after overdosing on prescribed antidepressants authorities believe he hoarded in his death row cell. Long's attorneys sought to postpone the execution, but a judge refused a reprieve, saying that because Long previously was judged competent to be executed, there was a presumption of competency.

If the execution is to move forward, a mental health evaluation of Rhode could be key. A 1986 Supreme Court ruling held that states cannot execute anyone deemed mentally insane, and a suicide attempt may prompt a new assessment, said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

"It's a fair thing for everyone to assess where this person's mental state is," he said. "And two days isn't that long to wait given what's at stake here."

Kammer said he'll ask physicians to inspect his client's physical condition as well.

"There's a real potential question as to whether the blood loss and medication they used to stabilize him are going to complicate the lethal injection protocols," he said.

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