After hearing weeks of evidence, it took jurors just 40 minutes today to decide that Myron Britt does not deserve the death penalty for the 2003 murder of his wife.
Tim Hennis will stand trial in a Fort Bragg courtroom early next year, a judge ruled this week. Hennis’ trial is scheduled to begin February 22nd. Hennis’ next court date will be a hearing in August at which the court will decide whether the testimony of two alleged eyewitnesses is reliable enough to be heard by a jury.
Yesterday, a Robeson County jury convicted Myron Britt of shooting his wife in 2003. Today, they listened as Britt’s sobbing children begged them to spare their father’s life. Tomorrow, they will hear closing arguments and begin to deliberate whether Myron Britt should receive life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
A Bladen County jury has sentenced John Franklin Hester to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of Randolph Hughes. Jurors deliberated for several hours before deciding not to give Hester the death penalty. He addressed them, saying, “I want to thank you for sparing my life.”
Attorneys for both sides are expected to give closing arguments today in the guilt/innocence phase of Myron Britt’s second trial for the 2003 murder of his wife, Nancy. Britt was first tried in 2005, but the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. If Britt is convicted, he could face the death penalty.
A message from the NC Coalition for a Moratorium.
The NC Racial Justice Act is nearing the finish line!
The NC Senate will vote to concur on the Racial Justice Act next Tuesday.
Please call, fax, or email Senators… or all three! Ask that they vote to concur on RJA (S461) with no amendments or delays.
FAX AND EMAIL
|Names||Office # (919)|
|Charlie Alberson (D)||(919) 733-5705|
|Marc Basnight (D)||(919) 733-6854|
|Don Davis(D)||(919) 733-5621|
|Steve Goss (D)||(919) 733-5742|
|David Hoyle (D)||(919) 733-5734|
|Tony Rand (D)||(919) 733-9892|
|John Snow (D)||(919) 733-5875|
|A.B. Swindell||(919) 715-3030|
The NC Racial Justice Act would not have made it as far as it has without your help. Thank you for everything you do!
North Carolina Coalition for a Moratorium
PO Box 1008
Durham, NC 27702
Master Sergeant Timothy Hennis will appear in a Fort Bragg courtroom tomorrow morning for a pre-trial hearing. Two more pre-trial hearings are expected before the actual trial begins in September. It will be the third time Hennis has faced the death penalty for a 1985 triple murder.
In Robeson County, the trial of Myron Britt is continuing. Britt is on trial a second time for the murder of his wife; the first jury could not unanimously agree whether he was guilty or innocent.
Next week, jurors will travel from Lumberton to Cary, where Britt lived at the time of the murder. They will view Britt’s home from the property of a neighbor, who is expected to testify that if Britt had left the house the night of the murder, he would have seen it.
The Racial Justice Act passed its final reading in the North Carolina House of Representatives by a vote of 61 to 53. Due to differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, it will now go back to the Senate, which can either agree to the House version or convene a committee to work out a compromise. The Senate approved its version by a vote of 30 to 16 back in May.
The most telling parts of the debate were the statements made by bill opponents. Representative Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston) conceded that there is evidence of racism in the implementation of the death penalty, but encouraged others to vote against the bill because dealing with the problem would “clog up” the system. A fear of too much justice, indeed.
The North Carolina House of Representatives will have its final vote this afternoon on the Racial Justice Act. Expect word sometime after 3 PM.
From the Institute for Southern Studies:
Following a heated and emotional debate on racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the North Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday narrowly endorsed the Racial Justice Act, legislation that would give capital murder defendants and death row inmates the right to challenge prosecutions on grounds of racial bias.Specifically, the Racial Justice Act would allow defendants in death-penalty cases to use statistics to try to show that race played a factor in the application of the death penalty in their cases. If the statistics showed significant racial disparities in how the death penalty has been applied, a judge could block a prosecutor from pursuing the death penalty in that case, or overturn a jury’s decision to impose a death sentence. It would also allow inmates currently on death row the opportunity to argue that their death sentences were racially motivated. If a death sentence were thrown out under the bill, it would be converted to a sentence of life in prison without parole.
The act is a landmark piece of legislation for a state where blacks make up 20 percent of the total population but 60 percent of those on death row. The timing is also critical as North Carolina continues to debate the future of capital punishment.