September 6, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 35

China: On Friday, August 30, 2019, Zhong Yuan was executed for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old female. Zhong met his victim when she reserved a ride through the nation’s largest ride-hailing platform, in August 2018. Zhong also robbed the female teenager after killing her. Evidence showed that Zhong had planned to rob a passenger, by having tape and a knife ready, in order to pay off his online gambling debts.

The Beijing No 1 Intermediate People’s Court has sentenced to death Zhou Kaixuan, a postgraduate at the Chines Academy of Sciences. Zhou was convicted of stabbing to death his high school classmate, Xie Diao. The two are reported to have quarreled in January 2016, when they attended a school reunion. Zhou eventually turned himself into the police.


Iran: On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, eight prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai-Shahr prison. The condemned were identified as Siavash Inanlou, Manouchehr Dehghan, Alireza Behrad, Ebrahim Yarmout-Oghli, Ahmad Ghareh-Balaei and Reza Mousavi Borghani. Six were convicted on murder charges, while two others, who were unnamed, were convicted on drug related charges.



Iraq: A court has sentenced to death 11 members of the fallen Islamic State militant group. In their sentencing, the court noted that the 11 members were involved in the bridge bombing in Babil (Babylon) Province. The court claimed that the 11 individuals confessed to being members of the Islamic State and participating in the bombing.



Morocco:The three Islamic State supporters who have been sentenced to death for the murder of 24-year-old Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland are appealing their sentences. The deaths of Maren and Louisa, who were on a hiking trip in High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, shocked not only the country, but also the world. Morocco has not carried out an execution since 1993.



Nigeria: Ahmed Jafa’aru, the controller general of the Nigeria Correctional Service, has revealed that there are a total of 2,742 inmates on death row in the nation. He went on to state that he believes many of them have exhausted their appeals, and are awaiting approval for their executions. Previously the Nigeria Correctional Service has reported that state governors are responsible for signing execution warrants, which they have, allegedly, not been doing, hence the rise in the number of death row inmates.



Sri Lanka: Three unnamed individuals have been sentenced to death for hacking to death a person at the Egoda Uyana junction in Moratuwa on February 1, 2009. Initially, seven individuals were charged with the crime, however charges against four were dropped by the judge.



United States of America: On Wednesday, September 4, 2019, Billy Crutsinger was executed by the state of Texas. Billy was convicted of murdering 89-year-old Pearl Magourik and her 71-year-old daughter Patricia Syren in Fort Worth, Texas in 2003. He was 64 years of age.

Thirty-eight-year-old David Black, and his 30-year-old wife Mary Black, will face capital punishment for the death of their 11-year-old son Joseph Carsellol in Star City, Arkansas. Joseph was beaten to death by his mother and stepfather. An autopsy revealed that Joseph had multiple scalp contusion and impact sites, along with brushing all over his body and internal hemorrhaging. Both David and Mary are currently being held without bail while they await trial, scheduled to begin in November.

Aswad Pops was convicted and sentenced to death for the robbery and murder of 33-year-old carwash owner Charles Hurd, and his employees, 41-year-old Michael Hoard, 20-year-old Shawn Potter, and 36-year-old Jessie Dunn on January 25, 1998, in Compton, California. Aswad was sentenced to death on April 7, 2000. On Thursday, August 28, 2019, Aswad was pronounced dead around 7:15 pm inside San Quentin State Prison. He was 48 years of age. His death is being investigated as a suicide, although an autopsy has not yet taken place.

On September 11, 2001, the United States was devastated by terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. Now, nearly 20 years later, a trial date has been set for five men accused of planning the attack, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a senior al-Qaida figure who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the attack, as well as other terrorist plots. If convicted, they could be sentenced to death. Khalid’s codefendants include Walid bin Attash, who is believe to have trained two of the highjacks and run terrorist training camps in Afghanistan; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni national who helped plan the attacks; Ammar al-Baluchi, who is believed to have provided funding; and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, a Saudi national believed to have acquire necessities for the hijackers.

In 2014, Justin Blakeney was convicted of the murder of 3-year-old Victoria Lilly Viner in Mississippi, and sentenced to death. He was babysitting the child at the time. Justin was later granted a retrial, which was scheduled to begin before the end of the year. Now, Justin and prosecutors have, with the judge’s approval, reached a plea agreement. Justin pled guilty to the murder of Victoria and received a 20-year prison sentence, with two years suspended and credit for time served. Part of the reason for the plea deal was that some of the evidence could not be used during the new trial, as it was not properly secured.

Dora Lus Buenrostro, one of the few female death row inmates in California and the nation, has had her death sentence reversed by the California Supreme Court, meaning she will receive a new penalty trial. Dora is convicted of murdering her three children, nine-year-old Susana, eight-year-old Vicente, and four-year-old Deidra. Dora’s sentence was reversed because the court found that a juror was improperly excluded after revealing that she would have difficulty voting for the death penalty due to her strong views against it.

John Hernandez Felix has been sentenced to death after being convicted killing two police officers - Jose “Gil” Vega, and Lesley Zerebny - on October 8, 2016, in Palm Springs, California. Police were called to the house over a domestic dispute. Felix fired 21 shots at police officers, injuring several in addition to killing Jose and Lesley. The jury decision to recommend the death penalty was unanimous.

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