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NEWS
March 28, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
It's not often these days that we see some sanity in death-penalty cases, but judges in Oklahoma and Texas ruled Wednesday and Thursday that condemned prisoners in those states have a right to know what exactly they are going to be killed with. This will likely inflame death-penalty advocates, but these are good, constitutional decisions. The issue centers on the source of drugs to be used in executions. As the United States becomes more isolated from the world in its embrace of the death penalty, it has become harder for states to procure the drugs used in the different combinations to kill people.
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NEWS
April 24, 2014 | Scott Martelle
Score this Secrecy 1, Transparency 0. Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court stepped up and issued an indefinite stay of execution for convicted rapist-murderer Clayton Lockett, to provide time to review a lower court ruling that the state's law masking the supplier of execution drugs was unconstitutional. The issue comes down to transparency. With the growing shortage of execution drugs, driven by manufacturers' reluctance to provide them to prisons, states are having trouble buying what they need to kill inmates.
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NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
Until Monday, Michelle Byrom was set to become the first woman executed by Mississippi in 70 years -- for a murder her son reportedly confessed to committing. The Mississippi Supreme Court halted Byrom's execution, threw out her murder conviction and ordered a new trial in one of the nation's most closely watched capital-punishment cases. In the decision handed down Monday, the court called its own move "extraordinary and extremely rare," at least compared to similar death-penalty appeals, few of which result in new trials.
OPINION
April 23, 2014
Re "Inside the mind of an assassin," Opinion, April 18 The history of delusional men enthralled by the fame they anticipate from murdering celebrities should give us all pause. Perhaps such horrific impulses could be defused by taking a cue from ancient Greece's handling of Herostratus, a commoner who torched the fabled Temple of Artemis, thinking he would achieve everlasting fame. Greece issued an edict providing the death penalty to anyone who ever mentioned Herostratus' name.
SPORTS
January 11, 1987 | CHRIS COBBS, Times Staff Writer
While the rest of the college football world frets over such fluffy matters as a playoff system, drug tests and the Boz, folks here are preoccupied with a real stomach-churning issue--capital punishment. Southern Methodist University, the most flagrant sinner in college sports, is being fitted for a noose. The institution that gave football Doak Walker, Don Meredith and Eric Dickerson is facing the athletic equivalent of the death penalty, a two-year suspension from football competition.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 12, 1994 | THOM MROZEK, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
A grand jury indicted a Woodland Hills man Thursday in the abduction, sexual assault and slaying of 8-year-old Nicole Parker, whose body was discovered in the defendant's bedroom closet, sources close to the case said Friday. Hooman Ashkan Panah, 22, who faces the death penalty, will appear in Los Angeles Superior Court for an arraignment Tuesday morning, when the indictment is scheduled to be unsealed, the sources said.
NEWS
January 7, 1993 | LAURA LAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
A 17-year-old youth pleaded guilty Wednesday to nine counts of first-degree murder in connection with the August, 1991, massacre of six monks and three others at a Buddhist temple. Alessandro (Alex) Garcia told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gregory Martin that he and his friend, Johnathan Doody, acted alone in the robbery and killings at the Wat Promkunaram temple west of Phoenix. Garcia, of Phoenix, said he and Doody, 18, decided in June, 1991, to burglarize the temple.
NEWS
April 26, 1992 | NANCY WRIDE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Here we are in "the Cindy Room," surrounded by remnants of her violent past and, possibly, her deadly future. From this cubbyhole near the Orange County Courthouse, two public defenders are marshaling their arguments to save Cynthia Lynn Coffman, the first woman sentenced to California's gas chamber since the Manson followers.
NEWS
August 12, 1987 | TERRY PRISTIN, Times Staff Writer
A 21-year-old gang member was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in what authorities have characterized as the revenge killings of a South-Central Los Angeles minister's wife and her teen-age son. Eric Dicks, who was convicted by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury after a week of deliberations, could be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, the district attorney's office said.
OPINION
October 25, 2012
Re "Bid to end the death penalty airs its first ads," Oct. 23 The Proposition 34 campaign claims the death penalty is expensive, futile and inhumane. Death penalty supporters claim that a life sentence without the possibility of parole denies closure to the victims' families, coddles murders and would save the taxpayer no money. I plan to vote for the proposition, but I wish it included a provision to allow the convicts to ask for a prompt death. Who is qualified to say whether death by injection is more or less humane than a life in prison?
NATIONAL
April 22, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court has granted two death row inmates a reprieve, while throwing the state's legal system into a tizzy on how to administer the death penalty. In a 5-4 ruling, the state Supreme Court ordered a stay in Tuesday's planned execution of Clayton Lockett, convicted in the 1999 shooting of a 19-year-old woman. The court also ordered a stay in the April 29 scheduled execution of Charles Warner, convicted in the 1997 death of an 11-month-old girl. In both cases, the court acted after lawyers for the inmates said they needed more information on the drugs the state planned to use to execute the prisoners.
NEWS
April 22, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
Sanity prevailed in Oklahoma on Monday. Oklahoma County District Court Judge Patricia Parrish recently ruled that the state's secrecy-shrouded lethal-injection protocol denies condemned prisoners due process. The compelling point: How can prisoners weigh the constitutionality of their executions if they are barred from knowing with what drugs they will be killed? The state, naturally, is appealing that decision. But in a Kafka-esque twist of legal absurdities, one of the men, Clayton Lockett, came awfully close to execution anyway.
NATIONAL
April 15, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Prosecutors announced murder charges Tuesday against the Missouri white supremacist suspected in the fatal shootings of three people outside a Jewish Community Center and retirement home in this Kansas City suburb.  Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon to face a charge of capital murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Will Corporon, 69, and his grandson Reat Griffin Underwood,...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 15, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel and Adolfo Flores
Two homeless sex offenders accused of killing four women in Orange County could face the death penalty after being charged with m urder in the commission of rape and lying in wait, authorities said. Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were formally charged Monday , three days after they were arrested  in an industrial area of Anaheim not far from the trash-sorting facility where the body of 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp was found last month on a conveyor belt.
OPINION
April 8, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
It's hard to get executions right. This week, the Supreme Court denied appeals by Louisiana and Missouri death row inmates who argued that they were entitled to know the source of the drugs with which they are to be executed, and that denial of that information compromises their right to due process. It's unclear why the court refused to hear the cases, but the underlying argument remains potent. Another challenge is underway in Oklahoma, where two inmates are seeking stays of execution because state officials have revised protocols on the fly as the lethal drugs they usually use have become more difficult to obtain.
NEWS
April 1, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
If the state of Mississippi had finished what it started, Michelle Byrom would be dead right now. Instead, based on revelations about confessions kept from a jury and an alleged case of perjury, the state's Supreme Court on Monday tossed out Byrom's murder conviction and ordered a new trial - but also ordered that a new judge conduct it. And this is after the case had already gone through the regular channels of appeal, as Oxford, Miss.,...
OPINION
February 9, 2014
Re "Death penalty in Boston?," Editorial, Feb. 2 Thank you for your clear rationale declaiming the death penalty even for such a horrid crime as targeting innocent runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon. Vengeance is clearly no good reason for taking anyone's life. The death penalty is, as you so aptly point out, not only barbaric but immoral. As a Catholic, it is against the principle that I respect life from birth to death. Other stringent methods to punish a person exist and are more effective, such as life without parole.
NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
Until Monday, Michelle Byrom was set to become the first woman executed by Mississippi in 70 years -- for a murder her son reportedly confessed to committing. The Mississippi Supreme Court halted Byrom's execution, threw out her murder conviction and ordered a new trial in one of the nation's most closely watched capital-punishment cases. In the decision handed down Monday, the court called its own move "extraordinary and extremely rare," at least compared to similar death-penalty appeals, few of which result in new trials.
NEWS
March 28, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
It's not often these days that we see some sanity in death-penalty cases, but judges in Oklahoma and Texas ruled Wednesday and Thursday that condemned prisoners in those states have a right to know what exactly they are going to be killed with. This will likely inflame death-penalty advocates, but these are good, constitutional decisions. The issue centers on the source of drugs to be used in executions. As the United States becomes more isolated from the world in its embrace of the death penalty, it has become harder for states to procure the drugs used in the different combinations to kill people.
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