News Update 05.20.08
In Guilford County, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Ronnie Lee Covington, 20, and Keith Lauchon Jackson, 19. Covington and Jackson are accused of the 2007 murder of a gas station clerk. Jackson, who denies involvement in the shooting, asked the judge, “I’m only 19, why are you trying to kill me?”
The Greensboro chapter of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty sponsored a discussion this week: “Religious Traditions and the Death Penalty.” Christians, Jews, and Muslims reflected on their positions on capital punishment, and what executions say about us as a society.
At the Death House Door (which tells the story of a prison chaplain who counseled 95 inmates before their executions) will be showing in the Triangle this week.
- May 20, 7 PM, The Doggett Center, 600 Bilyeu Street, Raleigh
- May 21, 7 PM, First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main Street, Durham
In Kentucky, a judge has ordered the State Police Crime Lab to stop testing the DNA evidence against Brian Keith Moore. Moore would have been the first Kentucky death row inmate to have the opportunity to prove his innocence through DNA testing. Apparently the warden at the prison where Moore is housed would not let prison nurses take a blood sample from Moore, so Moore’s own attorney had to take the sample, using instructions given to him by state police. Now the State is arguing that the sample is not reliable because it wasn’t taken by a state agent. And they accuse defense attorneys of engaging in delay tactics.
Capital Defense Weekly notes that since capital punishment resumed in 1976, 85% of executions have taken place in the states of the Confederacy, plus Oklahoma. The trend is continuing with a vengeance post-Baze, with new executions set in Florida (Mark Dean Schwab) and Georgia (Jack Alderman and Curtis Osborne). Of all the executions scheduled between now and the end of August, only one out of twenty is north of the Mason-Dixon, and a stay is expected in that case.
A federal judge in Delaware recently extended the stay on all executions in that state until the constitutionality of Delaware’s lethal injection protocol has been determined.