June 23, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 25
Bahrain: A man has been sentenced to death for his part in a car bomb explosion that killed a mother and her three children. Another individual was sentenced to life in prison. The women’s car was struck by shrapnel from a bomb. At least ten individuals were involved in the bombing, which is believed to have been targeting police. Instead the bomb exploded when a private vehicle was passing.
China: Over the past several years, it has come to light that many scientific research papers have, in some way, committed research misconduct. The courts have now become involved and have announced that scientist who fabricate data could face stiff jail sentences or even the death penalty.
A 26-year-old woman has been sentenced to death, with a two-year reprieve, for trafficking drugs. The woman had previously been given a prison term for drug trafficking, but has avoiding serving her terms.
India: Forty-seven-year-old Eknath Kisan Kumbharkar has been sentenced to death for the murder of his daughter. Eknath defended the murder, arguing that it was a honor killing; his daughter had married a man outside of their caste. He also received a 10-year rigorous prison term for killing an unborn child. His daughter was pregnant at the time of the murder. Eknath was sentenced to death by a court in Nashik.
Myanmar: Tun Naing, a self-proclaimed “exorcist,” has been sentenced to death for murdering three children by beating them to death. He beat the three children - aged 3 years, 2 years, and 8 months - in an attempted to rid their bodies of evil spirits. Tun reportedly gave family members and villagers “blessed” water and placed them in a “trance” before killing the children while they watched. Tun has been sentenced to death by hanging. The last execution in Myanmar took place in 1988.
United Arab Emirates: Thirty-year-old Jennifer Dalquez has had her death sentence reduced to five years. Jennifer, a Philippine maid, was convicted in 2015, for the murder of her employer in December of 2014. Jennifer alleged that the murder was self-defense, as her employer was attempting to rape her. A court has now found in her favor, acquitting her of the murder charge. She was, however, sentenced to five years in prison, with credit for time served, for stealing the cell phone of her employer after she killed him.
United States of America: Rick Dubose and Donnie Rowe killed two prison guards when they escaped from a prison transport in Georgia earlier this month. They were captured three days later in Tennessee. Both men were in prison for armed robbery at the time of their escape. The state plans to ask for the death penalty for each man.
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that death row inmates have a constitutional right to an independent mental heath expert, which could help his defense during his trial. The case was brought before the Court by James Edmund McWilliams, Jr., a death row inmate in Alabama. James was not able to properly dispute the psychiatric testimony of the prosecution as an independent expert reported his findings simultaneously to the court, prosecution, and defense counsel two days before James’ sentencing hearing. The time frame did not allow James’ attorneys to learn more about the expert’s findings or what certain diagnoses meant. The Supreme Court of the United States voted 5-4 that James’ rights were violated.
A federal judge has approved changes to the death penalty procedures in Arizona. The changes are the result of a settlement reached in 2014 lawsuit brought by seven death row inmates who have argued that the state’s lethal injection practices were experimental and could cause suffering for the inmates. As part of the changes, Arizona will no longer use a paralytic drug and will give the witnesses more access to view what goes on inside the death chamber. The revisions also limit the ability of the director of the Department of Corrections to change the execution drugs.
Patrick Wright, a former death row inmate in Illinois, died in prison on May 7, 2017. He was 74 years of age. According to an autopsy, Patrick died of heart failure and other natural causes. Patrick was convicted and sentenced to death for the June 1983 murder of Carol Specht. He stabbed Carol several times and tried to sexually assault her. He also slashed the throat of Carol’s daughter Connie and attempted to sexually assault as well. Patrick was robbing their home when he discovered that the women were there. Patrick was removed from death row when former Governor George Ryan commuted the sentences of all death row inmates. Patrick was resentenced to life in prison.
Julius Jerome Murphy, a former Texas death row inmate, has been removed from death row and re-sentenced to life in prison. Julius was convicted of the murder 26-year-old Jason Erie, which occurred on September 19, 1997. Julius was sentenced to death the following year. During his appeals, Julius argued that the prosecution had withheld evidence from the defense during the trial.
Malcom Geddie, Jr., a death row inmate in North Carolina, died on Sunday, June 18, 2017. He was 70 years of age. Malcom died at a Raleigh hospital of natural causes. Malcom was sentenced to death for the 1994 robbery and murder of Reginald Dale Emory in Clayton, North Carolina. The last execution in North Carolina occurred in 2006.