November 1, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 43

Belarus: Twenty-six-year-old Sick Viktar Syarhel has been sentenced to death by firing squad for the brutal murder of an 8-month-old Anna Kolb. Viktar was drunk at the time of the murder, having partaken in a “mammoth drinking session,” along with the toddler’s mother, in Brest, Belarus. Anna’s father arrived home to find her beheaded and lying in a pool of blood. The scene was so extreme that paramedics fainted when they saw it. Anna’s mother was sentenced to 25 years in prison, the maximum punishment for a woman. Belarus is the only European nations to retain the death penalty.



Indonesia: Sanitiar Burhanuddin, three days after being appointed as the new Attorney General for President Joko Widodo, has announced that execution would resume in the nation, although he did not specify a time frame. Burhanuddin also said that his office was gathering information on the status of death row inmates to ensure all legal avenues were followed, including appeals. According to Amnesty International, Indonesia has approximately 370 inmates on death row.



Morocco: An appeals court has upheld the death penalty for three men convicted of killing 24-year-old Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland in the High Atlas mountain range last December. The court also ruled that a fourth man, who had previously been sentenced to life in prison, be executed. The court also raised the jail sentence of a fifth man and confirmed the prison sentences for 19 other men. The men had previously pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group. The last execution in Morocco occurred over 25 years ago.



Sri Lanka: The nation’s Supreme Court has blocked an effort by President Maithripala Sirisena to resume executions in the nation by the end of the year. A moratorium on executions in Sir Lanka has been in effect since 1976. In its attempts to resume executions, the government has hired two executioners. The Supreme Court has blocked the resumption of executions by postponing its decision as to when the hearings of all the applicants will be concluded.



United States of America: On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Ray Cromartie was scheduled to be executed by the state of Georgia. His execution was stayed by the Georgia Supreme Court. Ray is convicted of 50-year-old Richard Slysz on April 10, 1994, in Thomasville, Georgia. The Georgia Supreme Court has lifted its stay of execution, however a new execution warrant must be issued before the execution can proceed.

Also on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Ruben Gutierrez was scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas. Ruben is convicted of murdering 85-year-old Escolastica Harrison on September 5, 1998, in her Brownsville, Texas mobile home. Ruben has been granted a stay of executed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals who has declared the execution warrant void due to clerical errors.

Prosecutors in Florida have announced that they intend to seek the death penalty for 21-year-old Jorge Lachazo. Jorge is accused of beating 75-year-old Evelyn Smith Udell before dousing her with a liquid and setting her on fire. Jorge was delivering and installing a washer and dryer, along with another man. When the second man went outside after installation, he heard screaming a few minutes later. He ran inside and called the police. Jorge attempted to flee but was quickly captured.

Thirty-year-old Mikel Brady has been sentenced to death in North Carolina for a prison breakout in October 2017, that resulted in the deaths of four correctional employees. Several others were also injured in the breakout. Mikel was captured just outside the prison. Mikel has a history of problems with law enforcement, and perviously served time in a prison in Vermont.

In 2008, Kenneth Adam McKinnis was sentenced to death for the murder of 21-year-old Byron Belser on August 19, 2006, at a nightclub in Dothan, Alabama. In 2012, Kenneth was granted a new trial due to improper instructions to the jury. A jury again found him guilty, however, this time, Kenneth was sentenced to life in prison.

The problems with Ohio's execution protocol continue, and have resulted in Governor Mike DeWine rescheduled two more executions, that of James Hanna and Kareem Jackson. Ohio has not yet been able to find a supplier for execution drugs. Governor DeWine has expressed fears that if drug makers discover the state is using their drugs to carry out executions, then the drug makers will stop selling any of their drugs to the state. For the past several years, Ohio has struggled to find lethal injection drugs.

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