December 15, 2017

IDPN 2017 Issue 50

India: Maninder Pandher has been sentenced to death for the brutal rape and murder of 25-year-old Anjali, a housemaid, in his home in Noida in 2006. He also ate her flesh after killing her. Pandher and his accomplice, Surinder Koli, have also been suspected in 16 other similar murders. Pandher has, so far, been convicted in three others, and sentenced to death in two. Koli has been found guilty in eight other cases.

Six men have been sentenced to death for the brutal murder of 22-year-old Sankar, who belonged to a lower caste. Sankar was a member of the Dalit caste, formerly known as “untouchables.” Approximately eight months after Sankar married a woman from a higher caste, several members of her family, including her father, stabbed Sankar to death. Sankar’s wife, Kausalya, was severely injured in the attack, but survived. Six of the attackers were sentenced to death, two others received lesser sentences, and three, including Kausalya’s mother, was acquitted. Financial compensation was also awarded to Sankar’s family. Kausalya’s family defended the murder as an “honor killing,” which are generally not judged harshly by the courts.



Iran: On Monday, December 11, 2017, five prisoners were executed by hanging at Kermanshah Central Prison in western Iran. All were convicted on murder charges. One of the executed was identified as Keykavus Ashouri.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, two prisoners were executed by public hanging in Khorasgan Square in Isfahan. They were convicted of murdering a police officer on April 9, 2016. One of the inmates was identified as Abdolmajid Hassanzehi.



Iraq: Thirty-eight terrorists belonging to the Islamic State or al-Qaeda were executed by hanging in Nasiriyah, in southern Iraq. All were accused and convicted of terrorist activities.



North Korea: Reports indicate that Hwang Pyong-so, a vice marshal who held the most senior position in the military, has been executed. Hwang was part of Kim Jong Un’s inner circle, however, he has not been seen since mid-October. Hwang’s demise is, at this time speculation, based on past similar events.



Thailand: Seventy-seven-year-old Lao Ta, drug kingpin, has been sentenced to life in prison for his part in smuggling drugs into the country. Lao’s 42-year-old son, Wicharn Barameekuakulsap and 39-year-old Baramee Barameekuakulsap have been sentenced to death for their parts in the smuggling. Lao confessed after his arrest, while Wicharn and Baramee both have denied allegations that they were involved.



United States of America: On Thursday, December 14, 2017, Juan Castillo was scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas. His execution was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Juan was convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Tommy Garcia, Jr., on December 3, 2003, in San Antonio, Texas. Click here to read more about Juan and his case.

Last year, Raymond Bright received a new sentencing after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that he had inadequate legal representation. Raymond was convicted of murdering Derrick King and Randall Brown with a hammer in 2008 and sentenced to death. A new sentencing hearing has led to him being re-sentenced to death.

Sixty-two-year-old Lorraine Alison Hunter has been convicted of murdering her husband, Albert Thomas, in 2009, in California, for his insurance money. Lorraine shot Albert to death while he was in his big rig truck, looking for a shirt he had bought for his step-daughter. She has now also been sentenced to death for her crime. During her trial, similarities were noted between Albert’s death and the death of Lorraine’s previous husband. That case remains officially unsolved.

Thirty-seven-year-old Isauro Aguirre has been convicted and sentenced to death for the abuse and murder of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez in Los Angeles, California in 2013. When paramedics arrived at the house on May 22, 2014, Gabriel was unconscious, had a cracked skull, broken ribs, burned and bruised skin, missing teeth, and BB pellets lodged in his groin. He died two days later, after being removed from life support.

Tim Howard, a former death row inmate in Arkansas has been released on parole. Tim was sentenced to death for the murder of an Arkansas couple in 1997. His conviction was overturned in 2013. At his new trial, he was convicted of second-degree murder and 38 years in prison, however, Tim maintained his innocence. Time was granted parole last month. As a parolee Tim will be required to obtain employment, submit to periodic drug testing, obey a cure, and have no contact with the family of the victims. A spokesperson for the Arkansas Community Correction has stated that the requirements for parole are standard due to the conviction and the number of years that Tim served.

In 2015, Circuit Judge Betty Sanders ruled that death row inmate Willie C. Russell was mentally disabled and ineligible to be executed. Her ruling also removed him from death row, however, the Mississippi Supreme Court has reversed that ruling. The Mississippi Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court based on the state’s claim that its expert was not given an opportunity to evaluate Willie’s mental competency. Willie was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Parchman prison guard Argentina Cotton.

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