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Showing posts from November, 2011
The latest letter from Shonda Johnson was very typical of her. She talked more about the issues going on in my life than in her own. She is a very kind woman and this has always been my experience with her. She and I have been writing since 2002 and she has never failed to be honest, open and genuinely caring. Some very savvy and passionate law students have taken on her case and relentlessly pursued a second chance. She well deserves it as there are many, many holes in her case. This is another case where they have given a woman who was not even at the scene of the crime the death penalty. There is more than a reasonable doubt that she had anything to do with the crimes.  Shonda may very well be free one day. Her letters always mention what she dreams of doing with her sons when she is released and how she will go on to mentor other death row women and the public on capital punishment. She is very adamant that this time she has spent away from her family will not go to waste bu
Guest Post from Softheart at forums. WOMEN ON DEATH ROW You may want to write to one of the 50 women on death row in the USA, because: many have  been abused sexually, physically, and mentally all their lives. Added to this is the often brutal,  abusive, degrading, and inhuman treatment by prison guards and officials.  A third of the women  surveyed said that corrections officers watch them when they use the toilet, shower or change  clothes. Many women on death row live in almost complete isolation, which  puts them at a  serious risk of developing mental illness, or exacerbating existing mental illness.  In Florida, Sunny Jacobs who was on death row there for 18 years before being  exonerated and released, lost  the use of her vocal cords for some time because of the complete isolation of her imprisonment.  (Unfortunately, her boy friend who was also exonerated had already been executed). A guard who felt sorry for her gave her some money so she  could g
Oregon governor blocks executions for rest of term - : Wow, just wow. I have so much respect for Oregon's Gov. He has stopped all executions during the remainder of his term saying "It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach. I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am governor," This article from CNN details his decision.
Upcoming Texas Female Executions 2012 may be the final year for many of Texas's death row women. The cases of several of them are near the final review. Suzanne Margaret Basso, Linda Carty and Cathy Lynn Henderson may all draw their last breath next year.  Suzanne Basso is convicted of murdering an elderly, handicapped man. She met him at a church carnival and eventually got him moved in with her. She spent his social security checks and apparently abused him. Evidence shows a severe, extended beating and baths in Pine-Sol and bleach. She is described as an odd woman with a wild imagination. I have never written to her. She has been on death row since 1995. The Texas Supreme Court ruled not to review her appeals any further in 2010 and the D.A. announced intentions of seeking an execution date. Linda Carty's case is one of international reach. She is a British citizen convicted of killing a woman by tying a plastic bag around her head and putting her in a car trunk.
Headed to the Row: Accused Peach County Murderer Seeks Dismissal | : In June, 2009, Walker was accused of killing her aunt and cousin: 85-year-old Lillian Graves and 65-year-old daughter, Agnes Stewart. The pair were found stabbed to death in their Peach County home. Walker, age 54, allegedly stole her aunt's Jeep Cherokee and went through the women's purses to steal cash, credit cards and prescription drugs. Prosecutors say they plan to ask for the death penalty against her. Her lawyers are asking that she be released because her rights were violated. She was indicted in August 2009, and three months later, her attorney filed a request for a speedy trial. State law says that if two full court sessions are completed after that request, the suspect must be released.
Long Island Woman Stabs Boyfriend to Death in Argument: Police | NBC New York : "A Long Island woman was arrested early Sunday morning, accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death. Police in Medford were called to 643 Granny Road at about 2:30 a.m., and found Melvin Garcia, 48, with stab wounds. Garcia was apparently stabbed by his grilfriend, Cynthia Dean, during an argument. Garcia was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, where he was pronounced dead. Dean, 32, was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter. She is expected to be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Central Islip." 'via Blog this'
The ten most notorious female criminals - News - People - The Independent There's a really cool slide show on that site. Some of the women I was familiar with but some I didn't know about, like the female pirate Anne Bonney.

Most Infamous Female Killers

It feels weird, in a way, to deal with female serial killers. The type of crime spree that inspires mass murder usually feels like the work of a deranged man, and a majority of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century have been male: Ted Bundy, Zodiac, John Wayne Gacy. Statistically speaking , serial killers are usually white men in their 20s or 30s who come from lower- or middle-class backgrounds. Yet there are outliers, and it’s impossible to ignore the fact that more than a few women have defied those stats and gone on horrific killing streaks. Their crimes bring with them an added level of shock: surely, people think, a woman couldn’t have done this . But they did, and they have, and they will. These are the most infamous female serial killers: Lavinia Fisher : Lavinia Fisher has the dubious distinction of being the first female serial killer in the United States, or at least the first one to grip to the public consciousness and earn the title. Now-a-days, however, t

Why the Death Penalty is Stupid

SUMMARY OF FACTORS WHICH SUPPORT A MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS WHILE SEEKING ALTERNATIVES ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC From: COST OF THE DEATH PENALTY - Various state governments estimate that a single death penalty case, from the point of arrest to execution, ranges from $1 million to $3 million, and could be as high as $7 million per case. However, cases resulting in life imprisonment average approximately $500,000, including the cost of incarceration. DETERRENCE - Comprehensive studies and the vast preponderance of evidence show that capital punishment does not deter crime and that the death penalty is no more effective than life imprisonment in deterring murder. FAIRNESS AND CONSISTENCY - In murder cases, there is substantial evidence to indicate that the courts have been arbitrary, contradictory, and unfair in the way in which some people have been sentenced to prison and others to death, which has led the American Bar Association, and 287 organiz

Chelsea Richardson Removed from Death Row

Chelsea will be resentenced to life within the next 30 – 45 days. I do write to Chelsea and have spoken with her mother. It has always been a bone of contention among the family that Chelsea was the only one of all the kids involved to get a death sentence. It made no real sense in the first place since there was the least amount of physical evidence that pointed to her. Some evidence was even held from the trial proceedings and that, in fact, is why she will receive a new sentencing hearing. According to Chelsea and her family, Stephanie Toledano was the mastermind of the murders of Chelsea’s boyfriends parents. She had been staying with Chelsea, her mom and her brother because she was having trouble at home. The fact that certain evidence was withheld from the trial has caused may remarks about misconduct by prosecutors in the case. Sadly this is seen so, so often. A prosecutor wants to win so bad they misrepresent the case or sometimes just wants the case solved so bad they lie t

Florida’s Margaret Allen

Margaret Allen is the latest woman in Florida to be sentenced to death. She killed her maid after accusing her of stealing from her. She does have a diminished mental capacity but the terms of the murder were quite ghastly including strangulation and stabbing. because of her own mental issues, Margaret may not know what the outcomes of her actions are. Why didn't she have someone to look after her or why wasn't she institutionalized? Should we kill people who have been so severely abused themselves that they do not understand their own actions? Why didn't local authorities pay attention to this insane person before she did something like this instead of waiting around for it to happen?