Despite an outpouring of protest from around the world, the state of Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker on February 3, making Tucker the first woman executed there since Texas was a part of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Tucker's execution received much more media attention than nearly any other case in the recent past. This gave abolitionists an opportunity to raise wider questions about the death penalty with people who had just been awakened to the issue.
By: The following interview was conducted through the mail by Noreen McNulty
Aaron Patterson has been on death row for almost 12 years. He was a victim of police torture. During a 25-hour interrogation, officers pulled a plastic hood over his head several times, threatening to suffocate him. One officer threatened him with a gun. Despite this, Aaron never signed a confession. No physical evidence links him to the crime for which he was convicted and sentenced to death.
Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and his assorted hangers-on are preparing to wash their hands of death row inmate Willie Enoch, with his new execution date set for March 18th. Despite numerous contradictions in the state's case and evidence pointing to another suspect, Enoch was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1983 murder of Armanda "Kay" Burns.
Janet Reno recently gave the go-ahead to Mary Jo White, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York State, to seek the death penalty against three separate defendants. This would be the first time in more than 40 years that a person could be punished with death under federal laws in New York. The last federal case tried in New York was in 1954, when the state killed Gerhard Puff for his involvement in the death of an FBI agent. More famously, though, was the Rosenberg case that preceded it in 1953.
Five thousand people marched through San Francisco on December 6, demanding freedom for radical author and Pennsylvania Death Row prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, who faces execution despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence, and an end to the death penalty.
The news from Philadelphia that Judge Sabo would be out of his job in January boosted the spirits of the protesters. Judge Sabo has sent more people to death row than any other judge in the country. The Philadelphia Inquirer has called him "a defendant's nightmare."
Tyrone was turned down in his last appeal by the Fourth District Court of Appeals, and he may soon be facing an execution date. The Washington, D.C. chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty is planning a meeting to protest capital punishment in Maryland. The meeting - which will be held February 26 at Georgetown University in ICC Building Room 101 at 7 pm - will take up Tyrone's case. Among the speakers are Tyrone's mother, Mary Gilliam; Tyrone's attorney, Jerome Nickerson; and Shannah Varon of the Campaign.
Roger Buehl was accused of a 1982 robbery-murder of which he is innocent. Since that time, his attorney has uncovered evidence of the prosecution's manipulations and witness-tampering. In early 1997, a federal court vacated Buehl's sentences, and his conviction will soon be reviewed by the Federal Third District Court. But prosecutors are promising to get the death penalty reimposed in a state court.
Because of recent DNA testing, there is no evidence to link Ronald Jones to the crime for which he was sent to death row. Yet he remains in prison while prosecutors decide whether they will prosecute him again. This statement came to us from Aaron Patterson.
I, Ronald Jones, declare that this statement is a true and accurate account of my case as I sit here on death row!
To take on the name "NEW Abolitionist" means one has departed from the traditional frame of reference and approach of former "abolitionists" and has embarked upon a NEW foundation whose frame of reference dictates a new approach. Additionally, to have a proper frame of reference is to have the proper point-of-view of a given situation, and that view in itself guides the manner in which one approaches the situation.
Tyrone Gilliam, whose voice has convinced hundreds to become active against the death penalty all across the nation, faces execution by the state of Maryland during the week of November 16, 1998. As the New Abolitionist went to press, activists from across the East Coast were preparing for the largest mobilization of death penalty opponents the state of Maryland has ever seen. Abolitionists will travel to Baltimore on November 7 to march on the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in an all-out effort to demand clemency for Tyrone Gilliam.
At the time that I agreed to move cells, I didn't know who Mr. Kelly was. I only knew that I was moving into a cell next door to a friend of mine and that the guy moving out (Kelly) was known as a J-Cat, meaning he was considered insane by the inmates and staff alike.