March 30, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 13
China: Zhang Zhongsheng, a former vice-mayor known for his hilltop mansions, has been sentenced to death for receiving over one billion yuan ($160 million) in bribes. Zhang can appeal his sentence, which must be approved by the Supreme Court in Beijing. Since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he has focused on cracking down corruption.
Lebanon: Five men could be sentenced to death for their alleged parts in an attempted plane bombing. The men allegedly hid a bomb in a barbie doll and meat grinder on an Etihad flight from Sydney, Australia to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. One of the men is in custody in Lebanon, while two others are in prison in Australia. The fourth, a brother of the two in Australia is a commander with the Islamic State and is currently in hiding. The fifth, a relative in Australia, was investigated by the Australian police and released when there was no evidence to link him to crime. Lebanon will try the four in absentia.
United Arab Emirates: A 30-year-old Indonesian housemaid has been sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering the nine-month-old child of her employer. In 2016, the baby was beaten by the maid before being rushed to the hospital. At the hospital, she lapsed into a coma and died two weeks later. Doctors testified that the baby had been tortured. The maid has denied all charges.
United States of America: On Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Rosendo Rodriguez was executed by the state of Texas. He was executed for the murder of 29-year-old Summer Baldwin. After murdering Summer, he placed her body in a suitcase, where it was later found in a landfill. Read more about the case here.
Ohio governor John Kasich has granted clemency to William Montgomery, who was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Governor Kasich was following the majority recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board, which made its recommendation after they determined their were too many questions regarding inconsistent witness statements that were not made available to William’s attorney. William is convicted of murdering Deborah Ogle and her roommate Cynthia Tincher during a robbery. Read more about William and his case here.
Officials in Alabama have agreed to not attempt a second execution for Doyle Hamm. Doyle was given a February 22, 2018, execution date. It was delayed several hours due to appeals. Following the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, technicians were unable to locate a suitable vein and insert the IV line before the midnight deadline when the execution warrant expired. Read more about Doyle and his case here.
Lawmakers in Alabama have passed a bill that makes it a capital crime to murder a parent or guardian in the presence of minor younger than 14. The bill came about after a mother was murdered by her ex-husband in front of their two young children. While he was charged with a capital crime because he stole her car, he ultimately received a life sentence. The sponsor of the bill hopes it will prevent more crimes.
Fifty-five-year-old Mark Breakiron has been resentenced by a Pennsylvania jury to life in prison after he was granted a retrial by a federal judge in 2011. Mark was initially convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 24-year-old Saundra Martin during a robbery in March 1987. The judge overturned the conviction and death sentence because of tainted testimony from another inmate. Mark was once again convicted, however he has now been sentenced to life in prison.
Last year in Florida, Victor Guzman has had his death sentence overturned due to the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on Hurst v. Florida. He has now been resentenced to life in prison. Victor was initially sentenced to death with a 7-5 jury ruling. Under new Florida laws, jury rulings for death sentences must be unanimous. Victor is convicted of murdering 80-year-old Severina Dolores Fernandez in Little Havana in December 2000.