May 24, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 20

China: The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Huang Yichaun to death for the murder of two children outside of a primary school in Shanghai in 2018. Another child and a parent were also stabbed, however they survived. Huang stated that he killed the children to vent his anger about being insulted and hurt by others. The court acknowledged that although Huang has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, the diagnosis cannot exempt him from being punished for his crimes.



Indonesia: Felix Dorfin has been sentenced to death by an Indonesian court for carrying drugs in a suitcase at the airport in Lombok. The verdict was a surprise to many, as the prosecutors only asked for a 20-year jail term. In going beyond the jail term sought by the prosecution, the court noted the significant quantity of drugs being smuggled, and Felix’s invent in an international drug syndicate. Previously, Felix made headlines when he managed to escape from the prison where he was being held and avoid capture for two weeks.



Japan: The death sentence for 49-year-old Kohi Yamada has been finalized by a court, after his appeal was withdrawn. Yamada is convicted of murdering 13-year-old Natsumi Hirata and 12-year-old Ryoto Hoshino by suffocation in 2015. It is unknown why Yamada withdrew his appeal. Yamada pleaded not guilty to the crime.



Singapore: Thirty-one-year-old Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, a Malaysian national, has been granted a last-minute stay of execution. Pannier had previously requested clemency from President Halimah Yacob, who rejected the request. A lawyer for Pannier told the courts that he had not had proper time to consult with his client, who only learned of his execution and the rejected clemency request one week before the scheduled execution. The lawyer requested that the courts halt the execution in order to allow him time to appeal the rejection of the clemency petition and to present fully developed arguments. The request of a temporary stay of execution was granted. Pannir has been sentenced to death for trafficking heroin.



United States of America: On Thursday, May 23, 2019, Robert Joseph Long a/k/a Bobby Joe Long was executed by the state of Florida. Robert, a serial killer, has admitted to eight murders, and numerous rapes. He was executed for the murder of 22-year-old Michelle Denise Simms in 1984.


O On Friday, May 17, 2019, Charles Wright, a death row inmate in Tennessee, died at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 64 years of age. Charles was scheduled to be executed on October 10, 2019. Charles was pronounced dead at 11:57 am, and reportedly died of natural causes. Charles was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Douglas Alexander in 1984. Charles also received a life sentence for the murder of Gerald Mitchell. Prior to his death, Charles’ attorney had unsuccessfully petitioned for a compassionate release, stating that Charles was dying of cancer and wanted to “touch the grass and eat his sister’s cooking.” An autopsy is pending for Charles.


Thirty-two-year-old Joseph McAlpin has been sentenced to death in Ohio or the 2017 murder of Michael Kuznik and Trina Tomola. The double murder occurred during a break-in attempt at their family-owned car lot. McAlpin represented himself at trial and stated numerous times that he would only accept full liberty or death. McAlpin has claimed that he is innocent of the shooting.


The state Senate in Oregon has passed a bill that would redefine aggravated murder, the only crime punishable by death in the state. The bill must pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Governor Kate Brown before becoming law. Under the new bill, only those who kill two or more people in at attempt to intimidate a civil population or influence a government (a crime that is associated with terrorist acts), those who kill children under the age of 14, or those who kill an inmate while serving time for murder, would be eligible to receive a death sentence. Currently, Governor Brown has continued the moratorium on executions in the state, as established by her predecessor, Governor John Kitzhaber in 2011.


A bill in Louisiana that would shield the identifies of the suppliers of execution drugs, has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 68-31. The bill now heads to the state Senate. Currently, Louisiana does not have drugs available to carry out lethal injections and drug makers have become less willing to sell the drug for use in executions. Therefore, states have had to turn to compounding pharmacies to obtain execution drugs, however, public backlash by anti-death penalty opponents has made the compounding pharmacies hesitant to sell if their names will be revealed to the public. Governor John Bel Edwards has indicated that he would likely be willing to sign the bill, however he would need to review the final copy first.


Earlier this month, the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill to end capital punishment in the state. Governor Christ Sununu vetoed the bill. Now the legislature is attempting to override the governor’s veto. The state House of Representatives, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, has achieved the necessary two-thirds majority vote needed to override the veto. The repeal now goes to the state Senate. When passing the bill, the Senate had enough votes for an override. There is only one inmate on death row in New Hampshire, and no executions have occurred since 1939.

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