Choosing Who Should Die

October 23, 2007

News Update 10.23.07

North Carolina

In Nash County, prosecutors have announced their intent to seek the death penalty against Tommy Lee Holiday, who is charged with stabbing two women – one fatally – at a church soup kitchen. The announcement came as little surprise, given that both the Governor and the Attorney General attended the victim’s funeral.

Last week, Wake County prosecutors announced which of the 32 murder cases before them is worthy of death. Mwanza Rama Bennett will face the death penalty in the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend. The five men charged with murder in the shooting of a 13-year-old girl and a woman who killed her ex-husband in front of their two children will not be charged capitally.

Juan Melendez, who spent 18 years on Flordia’s death row for a crime he did not commit, will be speaking in Chapel Hill and Greensboro. The Chapel Hill event will be held at UNC Law School, room 4085, on October 30th at 5:45 PM. The Greensboro event will be held on November 1st at UNC-Greensboro in room 160 of the Bryan Building at 6 PM. Melendez was the 99th death row inmate to be exonerated in the modern era.


The New York Court of Appeals has struck down the death sentence of John B. Taylor, the last remaining person on New York’s death row. Taylor became the row’s sole occupant in 2004 when the Court ruled that the jury instructions used in the other inmates’ cases were unconstitutional. In its opinion, The Court found that although slightly different instructions were used in Taylor’s case, he was still convicted under an unconstitutional statute. His case will be remanded for a new sentencing hearing.

In Georgia, the state Supreme Court has halted the execution of Curtis Osborne. Meanwhile, Alabama is moving forward with its plan to kill Daniel Lee Siebert this Thursday. Siebert has terminal cancer, and Alabama doesn’t want to miss out on its chance to kill him before the disease does. (c/o SLAP)


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