Feb. 2


Killer John Battaglia Asked 'Am I Dead?' And Taunted Ex-Wife During Execution For Murder of 2 Young Daughters

Without remorse or humility until the end, killer John Battaglia, who murdered his 2 young daughters in his Texas home in 2001, laughed and taunted his ex-wife as he was executed Thursday.

Battaglia saved his last words for his ex-wife Mary Jean Pearle, the Dallas Morning News reported. "Well, hi, Mary Jean. I'll see y'all later. Bye," he said to Pearle, who had come to watch him die.

As he drew his last breaths, 17 years after Battaglia had killed her 2 children, Pearle was heard to say "I've seen enough of him" as she walked away from his motionless body, separated by a glass window.

Battaglia's demeanor was described as "jovial" as he prepared to meet his end by lethal injection at Texas's Huntsville Unit.

Strapped to the gurney, Battaglia looked around as witnesses entered. "How many people are there? Oh, that's a lot," he said.

Shortly after being administered with the injection, the 62-year-old continued to speak. Looking to the chaplain standing at his feet Battaglia asked: "Am I still alive?" He smiled and grinned before finally saying "Oh, here, I feel it."

Battaglia was the 3rd man executed in Texas since the start of 2018 and the 2nd killer from Dallas put to death since the start of the week.

In May 2001 he shot his 6 and 9-year-old daughters Liberty and Faith in his Deep Ellum home while his wife listened to the ordeal over the phone.

Battaglia forced Faith to confront her mother in the call, moments before he took her life. "Mommy, why do you want Daddy to have to got to jail?" she asked before she was heard begging for her life. "No, Daddy. Don't do it," she said.

The execution concludes a series of court battles over Battaglia's mental competency. The courts twice granted a stay of execution so that he could be evaluated. Final efforts by his attorneys to delay the execution were ultimately unsuccessful.

According to the Guardian there had been fears Battaglia's execution would be botched amid a spate alarming scenes in Texas executions. The use of old and poorly regulated sedatives, also used in this most recent execution, amounted to almost unsuccessful procedures in the case of Anthony Shore on January 18 and William Rayford on January 30.

In Battaglia's case it took 22 minutes for the inmate to be pronounced dead following the lethal injection.

(source: CNN)


Executions under Greg Abbott, Jan. 21, 2015-present----30

Executions in Texas: Dec. 7, 1982----present-----548

Abbott#--------scheduled execution date-----name------------Tx. #

31----------Feb. 22----------------Thomas Whitaker--------549

32----------Mar. 27----------------Rosendo Rodriguez III--550

33----------Apr. 25----------------Erick Davila-----------551

(sources: TDCJ & Rick Halperin)


Texas' Death Row: Still alive and well in 2018

On Tuesday night, a Texas death row inmate named William Rayford was executed for the 1999 killing of his ex-girlfriend, Carol Lynn Thomas Hall.

On Thursday, John David Battaglia was executed by the state of Texas. In 2001, he killed his 2 daughters, aged 6 and 9.

Thomas Whitaker will be executed merely weeks after Battaglia, if all goes according to plan. Whitaker co-conspired to murder his mother, father, and brother in 2003 - only his father survived.

There's no denying that Rayford, Battaglia, and Whitaker are all abominable people who committed horrific crimes. But 2 executions in 1 week, with another scheduled only 3 weeks later, begs the question: Should the state of Texas be executing its people at all? Are we perhaps too prolific in our executions? In 2017, Texas carried out 7 executions, leading the pack as the state that puts the most people to death. Arkansas carried out 4, with Florida and Alabama each coming in at 3. Many states have taken the death penalty largely out of use, but it remains in vogue here.

Texas' use of the death penalty isn't just bad from a moral or comparative lens. Part of the reason why the death penalty is so fraught with problems is because the justice system is fraught with problems - lack of adequate resources, lack of quality indigent defense, and prosecutorial misconduct all come into play. As a result, tons of state resources are spent retrying death row inmates and appealing court decisions.

For example, Rayford's legal team filed an appeal, and his lawyers asked to stay the execution. They claimed that in 2000, Rayford's sentencing trial was affected by racial prejudice, as the trial lawyer inappropriately implied that race was a factor in prison violence. The case was even filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rayford's lawyers also appealed to a federal court in Dallas, claiming that he was "improperly denied money for appeals," per Houston Chronicle's report, and that Rayford may also have suffered brain damage from lead poisoning.

Our courts and public defenders are already overloaded. But in order to put people to death, the state has to be pretty darned sure the person is actually guilty, and that no mistakes were made during the process of finding guilt. As a result, Texas spends tons of time and money on death row inmates (as they should - putting any human being to death is a serious undertaking that deserves scrutiny and plentiful opportunities to appeal).

There's no question that the details of each crime are gruesome and upsetting - so far beyond the pale of human decency that they're almost unfathomable. Whitaker, for example, attempted to murder his whole family in order to receive an inheritance. It really doesn't get much more cold-blooded than these men. But we also have a Constitution that bans cruel and unusual punishment, per the Eighth Amendment, and very little evidence to show that there's any sort of public safety benefit to executing people. We have a Sixth Amendment guarantee to a speedy trial, but looking at court records, many of these men have been oscillating through the courts for years, if not decades. Texans should at least begin to rethink our vociferous approach to the death penalty, given how much of an outlier we remain.

When trying to stay an execution "Statistically, you lose more than you win," Rayford's lawyer, Bruce Anton, told the Texas Tribune. Rayford had little hope of getting his execution delayed, but perhaps - if enough Texans rethink our justice system - future inmates can avoid death row altogether, and we can craft our system around rehabilitation, even for the worst among us.

(source: Liz Wolfe is a journalist in Austin, Texas. She writes on criminal justice and libertarianism----Corpus Christi Caller-Times)


South Carolina Senate Corrections Committee advances execution bills to the floor

Bills to shield the source of lethal injection drugs and to require use of the electric chair if lethal injection is unavailable are headed to the Senate floor.

The controversial legislation was passed by the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee Thursday morning after nearly 2 hours of debate.

The panel approved an amendment by Sen. Karl Allen, a Greenville Democrat, that would allow a judge "for good cause" to allow lawyers to discover the identity of provider of the lethal injection drugs after the state's prison director said the proposal might bring balance to the process.

Both bills were proposed by Sen. William Timmons, a Greenville Republican, who has said he wants to bring more certainty to the state's death penalty.

The legislation will likely face vigorous debate in the Senate. If passed, the bills would be sent to the House and undergo committee and floor debate there.

South Carolina has not executed anyone since 2011, though not because it lacks lethal injection drugs. However, officials say the state could not now carry out a lethal injection because all of its drugs have expired and drug companies are not willing to sell more.

The committee voted 9-5 to approve the shield law, as amended, the most contentious of the 2 bills.

"This is a way for the department to carry out what is the law," said Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, who also chaired the subcommittee that approved the bills.

So-called shield laws are used in 15 states, but opponents have argued states are now relying on inadequately vetted means, including new execution drugs or mixtures often made by compounding pharmacies, and they say those have helped lead to executions that have been botched, with witnesses reporting inmates indicating pain, gasping for air and taking much longer to die.

Officials say shield laws work because some companies do not want to be publicly identified as the providers of lethal injection drugs but will sell if their identities are kept secret.

Allen cited several states that have found themselves in legal disputes over attempts to acquire lethal injection drugs,

He said Nebraska officials paid more than $54,000 for drugs that were not delivered by a middleman that had a history of buying drugs from India. Virginia, he said, paid $66,000 for lethal injection drugs that cost less than $1,000 and Arkansas is embroiled in a fraud lawsuit for not being forthcoming with the maker of a drug about what it intended to do with it.

Allen said his amendment would allow a judge, if lawyers show "good cause," to allow the drug's source to be identified in discovery.

He said the amendment would not only provide needed transparency but also protect the state against "litigation with our pants down and so we know what is being compounded and where it is coming from."

Timmons said he also supported the amendment after talking with the director of the state's prison system.

"It will accomplish the purpose of the underlying legislation while also getting a tool to obtain transparency should a circuit court deem it appropriate," he said.

Massey said he questioned "whether this defeats the whole purpose of the bill" because death penalty opponents might tell drug companies that they might still be identified even with the shield law in place.

Others raised concerns about a section of Allen's proposal that would remove immunity for those taking part in the execution if they are guilty of gross negligence.

Sen. Sandy Senn, a Charleston Republican, who said she has represented the prison system in defending against litigation, said the ultimate result of such a provision might be that employees stop volunteering to participate in executions.

A motion to postpone action on the bill failed 7-9.

Bryan Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections, told the panel that while he thinks some death penalty opponents would use the proposal to lobby drug companies, he also believes it would bring a "balance" to the process.

"I realize there has to be a balance if something does go wrong," he said.

He said the liability section would be a concern.

Allen agreed to drop the liability provision from his amendment and it passed without objection.

Watching Thursday's hearings were 2 fathers of victims of Todd Kohlhepp, a convicted Upstate serial killer who pleaded guilty last year to killing 7 people and received 7 life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Senn recognized the 2 fathers and noted that the prosecutor in the case had advised them the state did not have an available method of execution if they pressed for the death penalty. Massey said other prosecutors around the state also have advised victims not to pursue the death penalty for the same reason.

"I think victims like we have here today deserve a little more from our state," Senn said.

Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a Charleston Democrat, said while he supports the death penalty, "we have as a state to make sure we are not violative of the United States Constitution."

He said there have have been many documented botched executions.

While all of the state's 36 inmates on death row are in the process of appeals, 11 have thus far chosen their means of execution. All but 1 have chosen lethal injection. The other chosen the electric chair, which has rarely been used in recent decades but is still available, according to prison officials.

The committee voted 14-3 to advance the bill requiring the electric chair if the prison system's director certifies that lethal injection in not available.

Massey said because there is some question about how a court would decide a challenge by inmates who have already chosen lethal injection, the state could be best served by lawmakers passing both bills.

(source: Greenville News)


S.C. Senate will consider making electrocution the default execution method----Similar bills did not make it out of commitee in 2015

A bill that would allow the state to use electrocution if lethal injections are not available will move to the full Senate for debate after passing in committee Thursday.

The Senate Committee on Corrections and Penology approved the proposal 14-3, according to the Associated Press.

S. 872, sponsored by Sen. William Timmons (R-Greenville), would change state law to read that if a death row inmate does not choose a method of execution in writing 14 days prior to the execution date, he or she would have to face electrocution. If the inmate did choose to kick the bucket via lethal injection, but the drugs aren't available, then too bad, electrocution it is.

Similar bills did not even make it out of committee in 2015, according to The Post & Courier. One of those bills was H. 4038, which tried to introduce death by firing squad as an option if lethal injections were not available. Utah did just that in 2015.

The Department of Corrections ran out of the drug used in lethal injections in 2013.

Drug companies have continuously refused to sell drugs used in lethal injections. In response, Gov. McMaster and DOC director Bryan Sterling urged the Legislature in November to pass a shield law that would allow pharmaceutical companies to sell the drugs without being identified.

The bill comes as 36 people await execution in the state, according to the Department of Corrections' death row list. William Dickerson, one of those on the list, is from Charleston County. He was sentenced to death in 2009 for kidnapping, brutally sexually assaulting, and murdering Gerard Roper. It was the 1st time a jury recommended the death penalty in 13 years.

(source: charlestoncitypaper.com)

FLORIDA----impending execution

Eric Scott Branch Seeks Stay of Execution

Scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22, death row inmate Eric Scott Branch is asking the Florida Supreme Court for a stay of execution while he appeals a high-profile legal issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Branch, who filed a motion for a stay Wednesday, was sentenced to death in the 1993 sexual assault and murder of University of West Florida student Susan Morris.

Gov. Rick Scott last month scheduled Branch's execution for Feb. 22. But in the motion for a stay, Branch's attorneys wrote that he will base his appeal on arguments related to a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Hurst v. Florida.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling found Florida's death-penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional because it gave too much authority to judges, instead of juries.

A subsequent Florida Supreme Court ruling said juries must unanimously agree on critical findings before judges can impose death sentences and must unanimously recommend the death penalty.

But the Florida Supreme Court made the new sentencing requirements apply to cases since June 2002.

That is when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling known as Ring v. Arizona that was a premise for striking down Florida's death-penalty sentencing system in 2016.

Branch and dozens of other death row inmates who were sentenced to death before the Ring decision argued that the new unanimity requirements should also apply retroactively to their cases.

But the Florida Supreme Court has rejected those arguments.

In the motion for a stay, Branch's attorneys wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court "will be inundated in the coming months" with challenges to the Florida Supreme Court's refusal to apply the new sentencing requirements to inmates such as Branch.

"A stay of execution by this (Florida Supreme) Court here may also avoid needless last-minute stay litigation in this and other cases in the United States Supreme Court and is consistent with the widely-accepted judicial policy that lower courts enter stays of their decisions pending review by a higher court," the brief said.

Attorney General Pam Bondi's office, however, filed a response Thursday asking the Florida Supreme Court to reject the stay.

(source: mypanhandle.com)


Record number of jurors called ahead of Donald Smith trial

A record number of jurors are headed to the Duval County Courthouse Monday morning. Court officials have called 800 jurors to report for a busy week of trials, 300 of them earmarked for the death penalty trial of Donald Smith.

The high-profile case is set to begin after 2 years of delay, and nearly 5 years after Smith was accused of kidnapping 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle and killing her.

A final pretrial hearing was held Thursday morning and Judge Mallory Cooper ruled on several pending motions from the defendant. For most of them, the judge - herself a former prosecutor - ruled in favor of the state. She denied a request to limit autopsy photos of the girl, which the defense called unnecessary and shocking. Cooper will also allow photos of Smith's injured penis, which the state says implicate him in the girl's sexual assault.

The judge also denied a request by the defense to instruct jurors that they can show mercy to the defendant, even if they find him guilty of the crime.

Smith, a serial sex offender, is accused of kidnapping Perrywinkle from a Northside Walmart, sexually assaulting and killing her. Thursday, he made his final courtroom appearance in an orange jumpsuit - at least for now. When jury selection begins, he will be allowed to ditch the inmate garb and dress for trial.

Smith's trial is the 1st death penalty trial in this judicial district since the state's new death sentence guidelines went into effect. His case was originally set for trial in April 2016, but was delayed when Florida's death penalty was deemed unconstitutional. The revised law requires a unanimous jury for a sentence of death, which makes picking a jury a high-stakes endeavor.

Jury selection is expected to take at least 3 days. Testimony in case is expected to last 3 days as well, and if a conviction is reached, the penalty phase could take another 3.

Smith's attorney, Julie Schlax, noted the presence of media in the courtroom and told the judge it was going to "literally be impossible" for him to get a fair trial in Duval County. Schlax reasserted her request for a change of venue, a request the judge has previously denied, and denied again.

But media attention seems all but a certainty. Even some national media is expected at trial, but few at the courthouse expect it to draw the kind of scrutiny as the city's last high-profile trial, that of Michael Dunn.

Cherish's mother Rayne Perrywinkle notified local media today through the State Attorney's Office that she will not be speaking until after the trial.

First Coast News will provide gavel to gavel coverage of the case online and will livestream the trial beginning with opening statements, which are expected to begin the middle of next week.

(source: firstcoastnews.com)


Florida Supreme Court continues to deny appeals for death row inmates, including 2 more from Southwest Florida

The Florida Supreme Court continued Thursday to deny appeals in death row cases, including those for 2 Southwest Florida men.

Jack Sliney, 45, will remain on death row. Sliney was convicted of 1st-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon for the 1992 murder of George Blumberg, a pawn shop owner in Charlotte County.

Also denied was Anton Krawczuk who murdered David Staker at his Lee County home, according to the state attorney's office.

Krawczuk and Sliney are 2 of 5 Southwest Florida men denied death row appeals this week.

The continues denial of appeals comes from a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found Florida's death-penalty sentencing process was unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges instead of juries, according to the News Service of Florida.

Juries must now unanimously decide to recommend the death penalty. The death sentence appeals are coming from cases older than 2002, which was the cutoff for the new sentencing requirements.

In June of 1992, Sliney and his co-defendant, Keith Witteman, went into Blumberg's pawnshop and argued with him over the price of the necklace. Sliney hit Blumberg in the head with a camera and stabbed him with scissors before striking him with a hammer.

Sliney was caught after he sold 2 guns that matched the gun registry from Blumberg's pawnshop.

Witteman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for 1st-degree murder and 10 years for robbery with a deadly weapon.

Krawczuk and his co-defendant, William "Billy" Poirier, robbed and murdered Staker in his home and then dumped his body in rural Charlotte County in September 1990, according to the state attorney's office.

Krawczuk choked Staker for about 10 minutes and then poured drain cleaner and water down his throat. Poirier then put a washcloth in Staker's mouth and taped it in.

Poirier was sentenced to 35 years for 2nd-degree murder and 15 years for robbery.

On Wednesday, an appeal was denied for Joshua Nelson who was accused of killing Cape Coral teenager Tommy Owens in 1995.

On Tuesday, "Lords of Chaos" ringleader Kevin Foster and Brandy Bain Jennings, who was convicted in the Cracker Barrel murders in Collier County, were also denied appeals.

Foster is accused of being the leader of a self-described militia group whose goal was crime in Lee County. In April of 1996, the group murdered their Riverdale High School music teacher, Mark Schwebes. Foster was convicted in 1998.

Death row and Southwest Florida

Michael Lambrix, of Glades County, was executed last year. He was sentenced March 22, 1984. Lambrix was convicted of killing 2 people, Clarence Moore and Aleisha Bryan, in Labelle after an night of drinking in 1983.

He was the 1st Southwest Floridian put to death since Arthur Goode, who was executed in 1984. Goode raped and strangled 9-year-old Jason VerDow in Cape Coral in 1976.

Martin Leiby, of Collier County, was executed in 1952.

Southwest Florida men still awaiting death:

Lee County

Harold Lucas, sentenced 2/9/77

Robert Power, sentenced 11/8/90

David Thomas, sentenced 3/15/91

Anton Krawczuk, sentenced 2/13/92

Joshua Nelson, sentenced 11/27/96

Kevin Foster, sentenced 6/17/98

Joel Diaz, sentenced 1/29/01

Mark Twilegar, sentenced 8/14/07

Charlotte County

Jack Sliney, sentenced 2/14/94

James Ford, sentenced 6/3/99

Daniel Conahan, sentenced 12/19/99

Dwight Eaglin, sentenced 3/31/06

Stephen Smith, sentenced 8/18/06

Collier County

Thomas Gudinas, sentenced 6/16/95

Brandy Jennings, sentenced 12/2/96

Mesac Damas, sentenced 10/27/17

(source: The News-Press)


Alabama House votes to make murder in front of child a capital offense

The Alabama House of Representatives has voted to make it a capital offense to kill a person in front of their child.

The bill approved Thursday adds killing someone "with knowledge of the presence of a child under the age of 14 years," to the list of crimes for which someone could receive the death penalty. The victim would have to be the parent or legal guardian of the child.

Lawmakers approved the bill on a 77-17 vote. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

The bill was part of House Republicans' agenda for the session

Current death penalty eligible offenses include: killing someone during a robbery, burglary, drive-by shooting or rape; killing a child under age 14, killing a law enforcement officer; and murder-for-hire.

(source: Associated Press)


Father accused of killing toddler daughter indicted----Mark Hambrick, 46, is charged with 1st-degree murder and 2nd-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the 2-count indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish

A man who police said confessed to stabbing and then suffocating his 18-month-old daughter last fall has been indicted on 1st-degree murder charges, according to the district attorney's office.

Mark Hambrick, 46, is charged with 1st-degree murder and 2nd-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the 2-count indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury.

Police said Hambrick told investigators that he stabbed his daughter in the heart and then suffocated her. Police said he told them that "God told him" to kill the child so that he could be put to death and resurrected.

"This tragic case is indicative of 1st-degree murder because it meets specific provisions under the law," Cannizzaro said. "As such, we have the option of pursuing the death penalty. However, we have not made a final determination as to whether the death penalty will be pursued."

Hambrick has been detained without bond since his arrest.

(source: WWL TV news)


Ohio Death-Row Inmates Lose Bid to Halt Executions

The Sixth Circuit on Thursday rejected 2 death-row inmates' efforts to block their executions, finding they did not prove Ohio's lethal injection drugs cause serious pain and suffering.

Alva Campbell, Raymond Tibbetts and other death-row inmates sued Ohio in 2011, alleging that the state's current 3-drug execution protocol, which includes the controversial sedative midazolam, violates the Eighth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Those opposed to the death penalty say Ohio's dose of sedative does not do enough to render inmates unconscious and prevent pain as medical personnel administer the 2 other drugs in the combination.

Ohio was forced to suspend executions in 2015 after running out of lethal injection drugs. It resumed executions last July after midazolam became available. Florida, Oklahoma, Alabama, Virginia, and Arkansas have used the sedative as part of 3-drug protocols. Inmates in other states have mounted legal challenges.

Campbell wants to delay his execution for the aggravated murder of 18-year-old Charles Dials during a 1997 carjacking.

Tibbetts was sentenced to death for the 1997 stabbing of Fred Hicks in Cincinnati. He was also sentenced to life in prison for stabbing and beating his 42-year-old wife Judith Crawford to death.

This past November, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Merz in Dayton, Ohio, ruled that the 2 men had not made clear that the injection protocol violates their constitutional rights by posing an unacceptable risk of pain and suffering. The judge denied their motion for a stay of execution.

On appeal to the Sixth Circuit, the inmates argued that the 500-milligram dose of midazolam was ineffective. Even if it worked, they said, execution staff do not wait long enough before administering the painful drug rocuronium bromide to paralyze inmates.

A 3-judge panel led by U.S. Circuit Judge Alice Batchelder rejected those arguments Thursday.

Batchelder wrote in a 9-page opinion that Campbell and Tibbetts provided no scientific evidence to support the so-called "unseen effects" of the state???s dose of midazolam, and relied too heavily on visual cues from other executions - gasping, crying and other movements - that were difficult to quantify.

"We agree with this determination and find that, as with the prior claim, Tibbets [sic] and Campbell's inability to produce scientific evidence about the unseen effects of a 500-mg dose of midazolam leave them unable to prove that the execution protocol as a whole is sure or very likely to cause serious pain," Batchelder wrote.

Campbell's attorney, David Stebbins, said Thursday he was reviewing the ruling and could not immediately comment.

Ohio Governor John Kasich's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gary Daniels of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said the state has an "international reputation for screwing up executions" and it had not even taken "modest steps" to improve its death penalty procedures.

"It looks like we're going keep doing what we always do here in Ohio, keep using this particular drug," Daniels said in a phone interview. "We can't help but think it's going to lead to more botched executions, and unfortunately this is done with the consent of our courts, our legislature and our governor, who've taken no meaningful actions with regard to the death penalty."

Last year, Ohio executed its 1st death-row prisoner since 2014. The inmate, Ronald Phillips, had also challenged the constitutionality of Ohio's lethal drugs combination. He was convicted of killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, Sheila Marie Evans, in Akron.

Ohio's lethal injection procedures have been beset with problems. An official took 25 minutes to declare inmate Dennis McGuire dead in January 2014. The state was testing a new 2-drug combination on him. Witnesses reported that McGuire snorted, gasped and choked before he died.

That was the last execution before Phillips in July 2017. Convicted murderer Gary Otte was executed in September.

Campbell was granted a reprieve when officials called off his execution in November because they couldn't find a usable vein to inject him with lethal drugs. His execution has been rescheduled for June 5, 2019.

Tibbetts' execution is scheduled for Feb. 13, less than 2 weeks after the Sixth Circuit denied him relief.

Governor Kasich has faced calls in recent weeks to spare Tibbetts because attorneys say he suffered from opioid addiction. On Thursday, a former juror in Tibbetts' capital murder trial wrote a letter urging Kasich to grant him a reprieve.

The juror said he has since seen mitigating evidence that he had never seen at trial and he would not have recommended the death penalty if he heard about Tibbetts' history of abuse and addiction.

U.S. Circuit Judges John Rogers and Amul Thapar rounded out the Sixth Circuit panel.

(source: Courthouse News)


Appeals court says Ohio execution method constitutional

A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of Ohio's lethal injection method 2 weeks before a scheduled execution.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati says 2 inmates challenging the 3-drug method haven't proven the process poses an unacceptable risk of pain and suffering.

The court on Thursday upheld a judge's ruling last year on arguments brought by condemned killers Alva Campbell and Raymond Tibbetts.

Prison officials stopped Campbell's execution in November after they couldn't find a usable vein. He remains on death row.

Tibbetts is scheduled to die Feb. 13 for killing a Cincinnati man in 1997.

GOP Gov. John Kasich is considering Tibbetts' request for mercy.

A juror who recommended death for Tibbetts asked Kasich this week to spare the inmate.

(source: Associated Press)
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