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Posts: 586 | Location: Denton,TX | Registered: January 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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FLORENCE, Ariz. -- Robert Comer died Tuesday with a steady gaze and a defiant smile on his face, the first person to be executed in Arizona since November 2000.

He was strapped to a gurney and covered up to his neck with a sheet.

There was no sight of the catheter into his groin that made the lethal injection possible, no sight of the executioners on the other side of a wall.

But Comer was smiling; he had petitioned the federal courts to stop his appeals and hasten his own execution. He was in control of his destiny.

Comer brought a picture of his daughter with him to the death chamber and used his last words to say, "Go, Raiders."

Then, the chemicals coursed through his veins - first Sodium Pentathol to render him unconscious, then pancuronium bromide to stop his breathing and paralyze him, then potassium chloride to stop his heart - and he held that smile until he slipped away.

Arizona is gearing up to resume executions after a nearly seven-year hiatus. Another Arizona death-row inmate recently lost his last appeal. A third may be extradited from West Virginia.

But as Arizona lapsed in executions, lethal injection, its preferred method, has come under scrutiny as possibly cruel and inhumane.

In fact, a last-minute motion for reprieve filed on Comer's behalf by a Tucson capital-punishment watchdog group raised the risk of extreme suffering as grounds for a stay of execution.

The Arizona Supreme Court refused to consider the motion.

Of the 37 states that use lethal injection as a means of execution, more than a dozen have either granted stays or have completely halted executions because of legal or ethical challenges.

The Arizona Department of Corrections does not reveal the exact prescriptions and protocols of its lethal-injection procedures.

"Because of the lack of standards provided for in the statute, the lethal-injection process subjects condemned prisoners to significant and utterly unnecessary risks that they will be tortured to death," said public defender Victoria Washington, who, to no avail, has filed motions about the potential cruelty of lethal injection.

Comer, who was sentenced to death for fatally shooting a man in 1987, appeared to die peacefully.

State moratoriums

But anti-lethal-injection lobbyists say the paralyzing drug may prevent the condemned person from showing pain or discomfort. That drug and the fatal drug that stops the heart are said to be extremely painful when administered without adequate sedation.

"You don't know what he's feeling when pancuronium bromide is involved," said Lisa McCalmont, a former assistant federal public defender in Oklahoma. McCalmont is considered an expert on lethal injection.

"It masks the viewer's ability to see what pain Mr. Comer is experiencing," she said. "An execution can look peaceful and not be peaceful for him."

Though it may be another strategy to stop the death penalty, disputes over lethal injection have spread.

Last year, New Jersey became the first jurisdiction to enact a moratorium on executions through legislation and appointed a study commission to review its capital-punishment system.

In June, the District Court for the Western District of Missouri ordered that all executions be put on hold until the Department of Corrections adjusts the execution procedures.

Not enough doctors

Meanwhile in California, the state could not find enough doctors willing to perform executions. Doctors there said executing inmates would violate the Hippocratic oath.

The state has proposed a lethal-injection protocol that would involve using the same three drugs but would not require the use of doctors in carrying out executions.

The new protocol would increase training to prevent erroneously mixing the drug cocktail. The state has also altered the dosage of the drugs.

A federal judge in California ruled in December that the state's current method of lethal injection was at risk of violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The judge said California's "implementation of lethal injection is broken, but it can be fixed."

The state is in the process of updating its lethal-injection protocol.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declared a moratorium in December after the botched execution of an inmate. The drugs had to be administered a second time, and it took the inmate 34 minutes to die.

Dale Baich, a federal public defender in Phoenix, said, "We have reviewed the state's 2004 execution manual (the last one available) and requested the updates. After further consultation with our experts, we will soon decide whether to challenge the Arizona lethal-injection protocol."

Comer's execution lasted nine minutes from start to finish.

Arguing the sides

As he was dying, 17 protesters gathered about two miles from the Florence prison to object to Comer's execution. The protest was kept on prison land and could not be seen by passers-by.

"Taking a person's life does not bring a person back," protester Dan Wolford said.

"His taking a life doesn't justify taking his. He doesn't forfeit his right to live because he took someone else's life."

Regardless of the outcome of the debate about whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment, Wolford said, he is vehemently against the death penalty and believes there are other alternatives to protect society.

"If you take an eye for an eye, it just makes both people blind," Wolford said.

About a mile down the road, George Williams of Mesa was the sole supporter of the death penalty. Williams held a sign bearing the names of Comer's victims.

Williams said execution is the only way to guarantee that a killer won't escape.

"This man can never do it again," he said. "He can never kill again."

Posts: 70 | Location: Hunt County | Registered: February 27, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It is a scientific fact that all losers are Raider fans and therefore, all Raider fans are losers. Anyone brave enough to challenge this premise feel free.
Posts: 293 | Location: San Antonio | Registered: January 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Uuuhhh, I consider myself an Aggie and really don't care for Texas Tech, but still think that's a little harsh.
Posts: 357 | Registered: January 05, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You should know I meant OAKLAND raiders. I've got nothing against Texas Tech. I make the assumption that inmate boy was referring to OAKLAND and not a university.
Posts: 293 | Location: San Antonio | Registered: January 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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On behalf of those for whom folks down south don't really care much, I thank you for that clarification. Any real Tech fan would've couched the remark in a prayer; e.g., "Please, Lord, let the Red Raiders have a defense this year." Besides, if an individual really understood the bizarre machinations going on in Mike Leach's brain, he/she would be profiling for the FBI, not sitting on death row.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brumley always has to have the last word.
Posts: 2578 | Location: The Great State of Texas | Registered: December 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Condemned Texas inmate wants to deliver joke at execution
04:49 PM CDT on Sunday, June 3, 2007

Associated Press
LIVINGSTON, Texas � Condemned prisoner Patrick Knight wants to leave them laughing.

Knight acknowledges there's nothing funny about his likely execution later this month for the fatal shooting of his neighbors, Walter and Mary Werner, almost 16 years ago outside Amarillo. But to help him come up with his final statement, Knight is accepting jokes mailed to him on Texas' death row or e-mailed to a friend who has a Web site for him. The friend then mails him the jokes.

Knight said the joke he finds the funniest will be his final statement the evening of June 26.

"I'm not trying to disrespect the Werners or anything like that," he told The Associated Press from death row. "I'm not trying to say I don't care what's going on. I'm about to die. I'm not going to sit here and whine and cry and moan and everything like that when I'm facing the punishment I've been given.

"I'm not asking for money. I'm not asking for pen pals or anything like that. All I'm asking for is jokes."

He said he's already received about 250 wisecracks.

"Lawyer jokes are real popular," he said. "Some of them are a little on the edge. I'm not going to use any profanity if I can find the one I want, or any vulgar content. It wouldn't be bad if it was a little bit on the edge. That would be cool."

Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson thinks the whole idea is anything but cool. As chief deputy at the time of the Werners' killings, Richardson investigated the case and intends to witness Knight's execution. He said the Werners' family has already been through enough, and that Knight's attempt to make a joke at the execution is sick.

"The whole thing is not a joke to anybody here unless it is to him," Richardson said of Knight. "This tells you a little bit about the guy's character, anyway."

Richardson said that the Werners' son, who has since moved out of Texas, has said he won't speak about the case anymore.

"They don't want to draw any more attention to this guy than is possible," Richardson said.

Knight, 39, would be the last of five condemned inmates set to die in Texas over three weeks this month as the state embellishes its notoriety as the nation's most active in carrying out capital punishment.

Fourteen executions already have happened in Texas this year and if all five take place in June, the pace will be just shy of the record of 40 executions set in 2000. At least 10 other inmates already have execution dates set for the second half of the year.

Besides Knight, among those set to die this month is Cathy Lynn Henderson, who would be the fourth woman executed in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982 and the 12th nationally since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 allowed the death penalty to resume.

This month's series of executions is to begin Wednesday with Michael Griffith, 56, a former Harris County sheriff's deputy convicted of the October 1994 rape, robbery and fatal stabbing of Deborah Jean McCormick, 44, who worked at her family's Houston flower shop and wedding chapel where Griffith was a regular customer.

Henderson, 50, is set to die June 13 for the 1994 slaying of Brandon Baugh, a 3-month-old Austin-area child she was babysitting. Henderson has insisted the child's skull was fractured when she accidentally dropped him while trying to calm the cranky infant. His body was found 18 days after she and the child disappeared and about 60 miles to the north, buried in a field in a wine cooler box. She said she panicked and fled to her native Missouri.

On June 20, Lionell Rodriguez, 36, faces injection for the fatal shooting of a Houston woman, Tracy Gee, 22, in 1990. Rodriguez was 19 at the time of the slaying and on parole only three weeks after serving three months of a seven-year sentence for burglary. She was gunned down and her car taken as she waited at a stoplight a few blocks from home.

The following day, June 21, Gilberto Reyes, 33, is set for execution for the 1998 beating death of his ex-girlfriend, Yvette Barraz. The 19-year-old woman was hit at least six times in the head with a claw hammer, raped and strangled. She was abducted after leaving her job as a waitress at a restaurant in Muleshoe in Bailey County, a sparsely populated county northwest of Lubbock along the Texas-New Mexico border.

Knight is then scheduled to die five days later.

"I know I'm not innocent," said Knight, who believes his appeals have been exhausted. "They think they're killing me. They think they're punishing me. They've already punished me. I've already had 16 years of punishment. They're releasing me. They're letting me go. That's helping me out. That's the way I look at it."

Knight said he got the idea for a joke as his last statement after a friend, Vincent Gutierrez, was executed earlier this year and laughed from the death chamber gurney: "Where's a stunt double when you need one?"

"I'm going to go up there and tell them I'm the stunt double guy," Knight said. He said he's sharing the jokes he gets with his fellow inmates "to try to keep their hearts right and things like that."

"It's a way to get laughter back there and ease the tension," he said.

He said he prefers jokes that don't have a prison or death penalty theme.

"That depresses me," he said.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Tell him his sentence has been reformed to life without parole!

Posts: 586 | Location: Denton,TX | Registered: January 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ex-deputy executed for Houston flower-shop killing
He was likely the first ex-law officer ever to be put to death in the state

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

As members of his victim's family watched dry-eyed, former Harris County sheriff's deputy Mike Griffith was executed Wednesday, breathing a barely audible final plea: "Please take my spirit to the Lord."

Griffith, condemned for the 1994 rape-robbery-murder of Houston flower-shop owner Deborah McCormick, issued no formal final statement.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mom's execution: One daughter dreads it; the other welcomes it
Cathy Lynn Henderson set to die by lethal injection on Wednesday.

By Steven Kreytak
Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jennifer Henderson's early memories of her mother are vague recollections: going to the neighborhood pool together and watching scary movies at their house near Pflugerville.

Melissa Bradshaw remembers her mother using drugs, calling her a little bitch and beating her, once so badly that her eyes swelled up and she couldn't see.

Their mother is Cathy Lynn Henderson, a Travis County woman scheduled to die Wednesday for murdering Brandon Baugh, a 3-month-old boy she was baby-sitting, in 1994.

Jennifer Henderson, 17, wants her mother to get a new trial and one day be set free.

Bradshaw, 28, wants Cathy Lynn Henderson dead.

� � �
In many ways, Jennifer Henderson is a typical suburban teen. She lives with her father, Cathy Henderson's ex-husband, and her stepmother in a two-story house with a thick front lawn in a Round Rock subdivision.

She is heading into her senior year at Round Rock High School, spends hours at a time on and works as a hostess at Joe's Crab Shack.

Until recently, her classmates didn't know that every other week since she was a child, she has visited her mother at the women's death row in Gatesville. Jennifer Henderson, who was 4 when Cathy Henderson was arrested, knows her mother through those visits.

"Many people find it weird, but I thought it was normal just because I had always done it," she said. "I look forward to it."

Bradshaw was 15 when Cathy Henderson was arrested, but had not lived with her mother since she was 7. She is an Austin Community College student and a single mother of two young girls. She lives in North Austin, where she waits tables part time in a coffee shop.

She occasionally corresponds with Jennifer Henderson on, but they aren't close. She talks more frequently to her sister Amber, Cathy Henderson's middle daughter, who lives in Illinois and couldn't be reached for this story.

Bradshaw visited her mother on death row once, years ago.

Like Jennifer Henderson and their mother, Bradshaw has blond hair and is about 5 feet tall. But unlike her half-sister, who talks with energy and optimism, Bradshaw's voice is calm and low. Her words seem carefully pulled from a well of thoughts and emotions that she is constantly trying to understand.

Her life has been a struggle, especially after she testified at her mother's trial at age 16. She said she dropped out of high school, partied too much and used drugs; she was convinced that failure was in her genes.

Bradshaw now talks of raising her children in a loving home and breaking what she sees as her family's cycle of abuse and drug use. She wants to go to college in Oregon and travel the world to study other cultures.

"We can say, 'Poor me; I had a horrible childhood, and that gives me the right not to do anything with my life,' " she said. "I want the world to know that they can overcome these things."

Their mother is 50 and has been on death row since 1995, when a Travis County jury rejected her defense that Brandon's death was an accident and agreed with prosecutors' theory that she intentionally slammed his head into a hard object.

Cathy Henderson declined an interview with the American-Statesman. Her daughters and her ex-husband say she denies ever abusing her children.

Last week, Henderson's lawyers filed a new appeal, saying that scientific evidence that wasn't available during her trial shows that a short accidental fall � Henderson claimed she dropped Brandon while reaching for the phone � could have caused the head injuries that killed the baby.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals could decide any day whether to allow the appeal and delay her execution for the second time.

Hiding in the doghouse

Bradshaw said her mother's mistreatment started as neglect.

"Cathy took me to day care when I was probably about 6 months old," Bradshaw said, "and she would repeatedly forget to pick me up."

Bradshaw was born in Austin but remembers moving around a lot, with different men coming in and out of her mother's life during her childhood. She didn't learn which one was her father until she was an adult.

Linda Bradshaw, the woman who cared for Melissa as an infant � and eventually adopted her � testified at Henderson's trial that she got a call from Henderson one day when Melissa was about 18 months old.

"Cathy called me to come and get" Melissa, Linda Bradshaw told the jury. "She said if I didn't come and get her, she would put her on somebody else's doorstep."

Melissa Bradshaw said things got worse when her mother moved her and Amber, who is about four years younger than Melissa, to Hearne, a town northwest of Bryan.

"There were people in and out of the house, using drugs," she said. To escape it, she would go outside and hide in the doghouse and wait for everything to pass. Bradshaw said her mother often beat her.

"If I woke her up to go to school, she beat me," Bradshaw said.

One of the men who passed through Cathy Henderson's home was Robert Moore.

He was in prison for murder when he took the witness stand at Henderson's trial and told jurors that in 1986, he saw Henderson shoot up methamphetamine in front of her eldest daughter and then slap her.

That year, when Melissa was 7, the state put her in foster care. The judge's order said she was in "immediate danger" because of her mother's abuse, according to news accounts after Henderson's arrest. Henderson also lost custody of Amber that year in a divorce.

Linda Bradshaw and her husband later adopted Melissa, and Melissa says they gave her a good life. But she said Cathy Henderson wouldn't leave her alone, regularly calling and stopping by the Bradshaws' Round Rock home. When she was about 13, Melissa Bradshaw said, her mother made a threat that still sticks with her.

"She told me that one day when I had a child of my own, she would do everything in her power to take that child away from me so I could know how she felt," Bradshaw said. "Part of me is still scared of her."

'I think she was scared'

A year after Henderson lost custody of her children, she got a job at an aircraft component overhaul shop in Pflugerville. There she met Warren Henderson.

They married a year later. Jennifer was born in 1990. People told Warren Henderson that his wife used drugs sometimes when she went out, but he said he never saw it. He also said he never saw her abuse her children.

"She was a good mother," he said.

In 1992, Warren Henderson said, his wife started baby-sitting children in their home near Pflugerville to make extra money and have companions for Jennifer.

On Jan. 21, 1994, she was watching Jennifer, Brandon and Brandon's 2-year-old sister, Megan. Henderson would later tell investigators that she panicked after she dropped the infant and then drove north with Jennifer, Megan and Brandon's body.

She left Jennifer and Megan at a relative's house in Bell County and kept going, according to testimony at her trial. In an oat field near Temple, she buried Brandon in a wine cooler box. She then fled to her childhood hometown of Independence, Mo., where she was arrested 11 days later after dyeing her hair and assuming a new identity.

Jennifer Henderson says she remembers nothing about that day. But she said she believes it was an accident and she's not angry that her mother left her.

"I think she was just scared," Jennifer Henderson said.

Mom won't apologize

When Melissa Bradshaw heard about Brandon's death, she felt partly responsible, she said. She had heard about her mother taking care of other people's children and thought about saying something about her own abuse, she said, but didn't.

At 16, she agreed to testify against her mother, she said, because "I felt I had to."

During the punishment phase of the trial, as jurors prepared to decide whether Henderson would be sentenced to life in prison or lethal injection, Bradshaw took the stand.

She told the jury about her mother's abuse. She told them about hiding in the doghouse when the men and the drugs filled their home.

Back at school, she said, students saw the media coverage and realized who Melissa's real mother was. Some students called her the daughter of a baby killer. Others were sympathetic, which she read as pity.

Before the trial, Melissa had been an honors student and an athlete on schedule to graduate early. After the trial, she said, she dropped out just before graduation and "wandered through life" for several years.

"I had a chip on my shoulder and felt sorry for myself," she said. "I used to wish that maybe she had killed me."

She said she went into drug rehab when she was 19 and cleaned herself up with help from her adoptive parents and her friends. Then she went to see her mother on death row. "I wanted her to know that I forgive her. That I am OK," she said. "I wanted some kind of closure."

Bradshaw said she was also seeking something in return: an apology. "I wanted her to finally admit that the life I had as a child wasn't normal."

Her mother considered the request, Bradshaw said, and then said she couldn't apologize because none of the things her daughter remembered had happened. Bradshaw said Cathy Henderson then talked about how hard life was on death row.

"Everything was about her," Bradshaw said.

'She's like a teenager'

Every other week for 12 years, Warren and Jennifer Henderson have made the pilgrimage to the prison in Gatesville where Cathy Henderson and nine other women await execution.

In the beginning, Jennifer's father told her that they were going to see her mother at the hospital and that the Plexiglas between them was to keep germs contained. Later, Jennifer Henderson said, she began to understand that her mother was on death row and why.

She said she and her mother have never talked about the day that put Cathy Henderson there. She goes to her father for that information.

"I felt uncomfortable, and I didn't want her to be uncomfortable," she said.

So, during their visits, they kept it light, with Jennifer giving her mother updates on her life: school, friends, boyfriends.

"We just have fun," she said. "We are goofy."

When Jennifer got into cheerleading, she said, her mother looked up information on competitions in magazines to share with her. When Jennifer got into music, Cathy Henderson told her daughter about bands she used to like � Lynyrd Skynyrd was one � and Jennifer went home and downloaded the music from the Internet.

"People always say we look the same, act the same," Jennifer Henderson said. "She's like a teenager. She's so full of energy."

She said she never became too emotional about her mother's situation. Then late last year, a judge set Cathy Henderson's execution for April 18.

"It really hit me hard," Jennifer Henderson said. "I didn't want to go to school. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I was moping around. It sucked."

She said she became overwhelmed with anxiety, began taking Valium and ended up in the hospital. She said therapy and the support of her friends and family helped her pull out of the tailspin. Then she decided she needed to help her mother.

Against the advice of her stepmother and father, she went to school with fliers detailing her mother's case. Her teachers agreed to give her a couple of minutes to address her classmates, and Jennifer Henderson revealed that her real mother was on death row for murdering a child. She told them her mom didn't do it and asked them to write to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. "It was like going on a stage by yourself in front of the entire school pretty much," she said. "It was very nerve-racking."

She said her classmates were supportive, and a handful joined her at an April court date during which her mother's lawyers asked for more time to file an appeal. They were successful, and the execution date was moved to this month.

Different dreams

As her mother's appointment with death creeps closer, Jennifer Henderson is hoping the courts will step in again. She dreams of one day walking through a mall with her mother or having lunch with her at a restaurant.

If no reprieve comes, she plans to be with her father outside the gates of the prison in Huntsville that contains the death chamber. Her father won't allow her to be in the witness room to watch the execution.

Bradshaw said she won't be in Huntsville on Wednesday. She is busy studying, moving toward her goal of attending Oregon State University in a couple of years.

Her mother's execution, she said, will be "relieving."

"Finally that chapter in my life could actually be done with now," she said. "And I can stop looking over my shoulder."
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Convicted carjacker executed for 1990 slaying

Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE � Convicted killer Lionell Rodriguez was executed this evening for the fatal shooting almost 17 years ago of a Houston woman during a carjacking just three weeks after he had been paroled from prison.

The execution of Rodriguez, 36, would be the 16th this year and the first of two on consecutive evenings in the nation's most active death penalty state.

The U.S. Supreme Court two months ago refused to review Rodriguez's case, and his lawyers said there were no legal avenues left to try to spare him.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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West Texas man executed for stalking, killing ex-girlfriend

By MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press Writer

HUNTSVILLE, Texas � With a big grin on his face, a West Texas man quietly went to his death for killing the ex-girlfriend he stalked before raping, strangling and using a claw hammer to beat her.

Gilberto Reyes, 33, on Thursday became the 17th inmate executed this year in the nation's most active capital punishment state and the second in as many days. Another execution is set for next week.

"I love y'all and I'm going to miss y'all," he said in a brief final statement, smiling but never looking at the parents and other relatives of his victim watching through a window. They showed no reaction.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dead man laughing? Killer ready to die with a joke

Associated Press

Texas Department of Criminal Justice execution schedule
LIVINGSTON ? Condemned inmate Patrick Knight is ready to die, and die laughing.

Knight, 39, convicted of the fatal shooting of his neighbors almost 16 years ago outside Amarillo, has been considering dozens of jokes he's been receiving in recent weeks since drawing attention for his desire to tell a joke as part of his final statement from the Texas death chamber gurney.

He's scheduled for lethal injection tonight in Huntsville.

"Death is my punishment, I've accepted that," he said last week from death row. "I'm not afraid of dying."

But with Texas the nation's leader in capital punishment, he said he decided to solicit jokes to help his buddies on death row deal with their stress.

Knight's been getting about 20 letters a day, with many including jokes. A friend also was collecting jokes for him on a Web site, but as of last week he had not received any recent online offerings because he must rely on postal mail for them, since Texas inmates don't have computer or Internet access.

Knight said he would ask for forgiveness and promised a joke that would not embarrass his victims or be vulgar or profane.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Joke not funny as condemned killer executed in near tears
Associated Press Writer

HUNTSVILLE, Texas � Condemned prisoner Patrick Knight picked a tough room and a tough crowd to deliver a joke. Then he died with no funny joke, near tears and no laughter.

"I said I was going to tell a joke," he said Tuesday evening, strapped to the Texas death chamber gurney for lethal injection for abducting and killing an Amarillo-area couple almost 16 years ago. "Death has set me free. That's the biggest joke. I deserve this."

His voice wavering and appearing to hold back tears, he thanked God for his friends and made a plea on behalf of fellow inmates he said were innocent.

"And the other joke is that I am not Patrick Bryan Knight and y'all can't stop this execution now," he added. "Go ahead. I'm finished."

Nine minutes later, he was pronounced dead, making him the 18th inmate executed this year in the nation's busiest capital punishment state.

Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson witnessed Knight's execution and was chief deputy in the Texas Panhandle county in 1991 when Knight was arrested for capital murder for the slayings of Walter Werner, 58, and his 56-year-old wife, Mary Ann.

"It puzzled me a little bit," he said of Knight's final comments. "It wasn't much of a joke. I don't know of anything Patrick Knight has done since 1991 that I consider funny."

He and Texas prison officials also disputed Knight's identity claim, insisting they used fingerprints to ensure the inmate was Knight.

"This evening's execution brought an end to an almost 16-year nightmare for a family," Richardson said. "Patrick Knight started that nightmare.

"Mary and Walter Werner will not be brought back because of anything that happened here tonight, but Patrick Knight certainly won't be able to do this to anybody else again... And despite all the hype about his joke, it turns out he's not much of a comedian. He's simply an executed cold-blooded killer."

Knight's told prison officials Tuesday when he arrived at the death house he received as many as 1,300 jokes by mail and from a friend who had set up an Internet site for him that was dubbed "Dead Man Laughing." The effort was intended to boost the morale on Texas' death row, he said.

"I don't think his point was to trivialize it," said his attorney, Paul Mansur, who met with Knight last week. "They've had 17 executions and we're in the 25th week of the year. They see these people go and these are people they know and communicate with. They have a camaraderie together. So it's really just for them."

At least 13 other convicted murderers have death dates in the coming months, including two in July and five each in August and September.

Knight's appeals were exhausted and Mansur made no last-day court attempts to block the lethal injection. The U.S. Supreme Court in February refused to review Knight's case and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down a clemency request.

"I'm not trying to disrespect anyone," Knight insisted in an interview last week. "I know I'm not innocent."

The Werners lived next door to Knight, who lived in a trailer and was on probation for burglary at the time of the slayings.

When the couple arrived home from work Aug. 26, 1991, they found Knight and a friend, Robert Bradfield, waiting inside for them. They were held captive, then were bound, gagged, blindfolded and taken in their own van to a spot about four miles away where they were forced to kneel on the ground. Each was shot in the back of the head and their bodies were left in a ditch.

When police investigating their disappearance questioned him, he initially denied involvement, but later confessed and led authorities to the bodies.

Knight said he was young and immature, drunk and high on drugs and didn't remember much about the slayings. The Werners had complained to him about loud music and loud cars.

"I regret so much because they were such good people," said Knight, who grew up in Slidell, La., and was known in prison as the "Insane Cajun."

His accomplice Bradfield, who was 19 at the time, is serving a pair of life sentences.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Death row comedians are officially "not funny".

Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson witnessed Knight's execution and was chief deputy in the Texas Panhandle county in 1991 when Knight was arrested for capital murder for the slayings of Walter Werner, 58, and his 56-year-old wife, Mary Ann.

"It puzzled me a little bit," he said of Knight's final comments. "It wasn't much of a joke. I don't know of anything Patrick Knight has done since 1991 that I consider funny."
Posts: 2578 | Location: The Great State of Texas | Registered: December 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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July 10, 2007, 3:09AM
China executes former food and drug safety chief, signaling it is serious on food safety woes

Associated Press

BEIJING � China executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog today for approving untested medicine in exchange for cash, the strongest signal yet from Beijing that it is serious about tackling its product safety crisis.

The execution of former State Food and Drug Administration director Zheng Xiaoyu was confirmed by state television and the official Xinhua News Agency.

During Zheng's tenure from 1998 to 2005, his agency approved six medicines that turned out to be fake, and the drug-makers used falsified documents to apply for approvals, according to previous state media reports. One antibiotic caused the deaths of at least 10 people.

"The few corrupt officials of the SFDA are the shame of the whole system and their scandals have revealed some very serious problems," agency spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said at a news conference held to highlight efforts to improve China's track record on food and drug safety.

Yan was asked to comment on Zheng's sentence and that of his subordinate, Cao Wenzhuang, a former director of SFDA's drug registration department who was last week sentenced to death for accepting bribes and dereliction of duty. Cao was given a two-year reprieve, a ruling which is usually commuted to life in prison if the convict is deemed to have reformed.

"We should seriously reflect and learn lessons from these cases. We should step up our efforts to ensure food and drug safety, which is what we are doing now and what we will do in the future," Yan said.

Zheng, 63, was convicted of taking cash and gifts worth $832,000 when he was in charge of the State Food and Drug Administration.

His death sentence was unusually heavy even for China, believed to carry out more court-ordered executions than all other nations combined, and indicates the leadership's determination to confront the country's dire product safety record.

Fears abroad over Chinese-made products were sparked last year by the deaths of dozens of people in Panama who took medicine contaminated with diethylene glycol imported from China. It was passed off as harmless glycerin.

Yan said she did not have any information about whether the Chinese manufacturer, Taixing Glycerin Factory, and the Chinese distributor, CNSC Fortune Way, had been punished.

"We will try to get more information from the department concerned and we will release it to you," Yan said. She wouldn't elaborate.

China admitted last month that it was the source of the deadly chemical that ended up in cough syrup and other treatments but insists the chemical was originally labeled as for industrial use only. Beijing blames the Panama traders who eventually bought the shipment for fraudulently relabeling it as medical-grade glycerin.

In North America earlier this year, pet food containing Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine was blamed for the deaths of dogs and cats.

Since then, U.S. authorities have turned away or recalled toxic fish, juice containing unsafe color additives and popular toy trains decorated with lead paint.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A suspended death sentence??? I like it. I bet all those technical violations the Leg is worried about would decrease dramatically.

Jack K. Choate
Posts: 4 | Location: Huntsville, TX, USA | Registered: July 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Deferred execution. Available also in California and many of your nonTexas states that have the death penalty.
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So this is what it takes to get you to post.
Posts: 47 | Location: BASTROP, TEXAS, USA | Registered: January 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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