November 8, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 44

China: Takuma Sakuragi, a former Japanese politician has been spared the death penalty due to his age. Takuma is 76 years of age. Chinese law prohibits people above the age of 75 from receiving a death sentence. Takuma is convicted of possessing 3.3 kilograms of illegal stimulants. Takuma pled not guilty, arguing he was carrying the suitcase for his Nigerian associates and was unaware it contained drugs. Takuma plans to file an appeal.

Three Chinese nationals, Liu Yong, Jiang Juhua, and Wang Fengxi, have been convicted of smuggling fentanyl to the United States of America. Yong was sentenced to death, while Juhua and Fengxi received life sentences. Another six people were also part of the smuggling ring and were sentenced to varying prison terms. The arrests came as part of a joint US-China investigation.



India: The Supreme Court has reaffirmed the death penalty for a man convicted of participating in the horrific gang-rape of a 10-year-old girl before killing her and her brother in Coimbatore, in 2010. The court noted that the crime was not one of passion, but a meticulously planned and executed crime.



Iran: On Thursday, October 31, 2019, an unnamed man was executed by public hanging in Khomein. The man, who was convicted of killing a policeman 14 months ago, was sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind.



Jamaica: Paula Llewellyn has announced that she will be seeking the death penalty against five men who are accused of beheading a woman and her teen daughter. Kemar Riley. Sanja Ducally, Adrian Campbell, Roshane Goldson, and Fabian Smith, have all be charged with the murders of 40-year-old Charmaine Rattray and 19-year-old Joyette Lynch. The two women were beheaded at their home in Lauriston, in St. Catherine on July 20, 2011. One of the men has allegedly confessed to his cell mate about the crime. The last execution in Jamaica was carried out by hanging in 1988.



Lebanon: Tariq Houshieh, an Uber driver, has been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Rebecca Dykes in December of 2017. Rebecca worked at the British embassy. Tariq confessed to the crime. Lebanon currently has an unofficial moratorium on executions, with no executions having been carried out since 2004. The British government has announced their opposition to Tariq being sentenced to death.



Thailand: Forty-year-old Bart Allen Helmus, an American who was facing a death sentence, his Thai girlfriend 31-year-old Sirinapha Wisetrit, and one other, 41-year-old Noi Ton Nintet, escaped from a Thai courthouse in Pattaya, by stabbing a policeman and forcing a guard to hand over keys. All three were facing trials on drug related charges. The trio has since abandoned their vehicle and are believed to be trying to cross the border, with the help of an accomplice.



United States of America: On Monday, November 4, 2019, Charles Rhines was executed by the state of South Dakota. He was 63 years of age. Charles was convicted of murdering 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer during a robbery at Dig ‘Em Donuts in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 8, 1992.

On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, Justen Hall was executed by the state of Texas. Justen had requested that his appeals be dropped and his execution allowed to proceed. Justen was 38 years of age. He was executed for the murder of 29-year-old Melanie Ruth Billhartz on October 28, 2002, in El Paso, Texas.

On Thursday, November 7, 2019, James Dailey was scheduled to be executed by the state of Florida. His execution was stayed. James is convicted of the murder of 14-year-old Shelly Elizabeth Boggio. James’ execution has been stayed through the end of December by US District Judge William Jung.  The stay was granted in order to given James' new attorneys time to review the case and make the necessary filings.  

The district attorney’s office in Alabama has filed documents seeking the death penalty against 20-year-old Marco Perez, who is accused of murdering Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder. Marco and his attorneys have responded to the filing, by filing their request for Marco to be granted “youthful offender” status. Defendants under the age of 21 in Alabama can apply for “youthful offender” status, which is a program that focuses on rehabilitation instead of incarceration. If the person is accepted into the program, a guilty verdict would not be appear on their record, which helps young defendants avoid being stigmatized for their youthful actions. Prior to murdering Officer Tuder, Marco was a suspect in 18 car break-ins, linked to three stolen vehicles and one home robbery, and had a warrant out on federal gun charges. Marco allegedly shot Officer Tuder, who was in plainclothes and in an unmarked vehicle, three times with a stolen gun. Since his arrest, Marco has pled guilty to a federal gun charge and received a four-year, three-month sentence in a federal prison.

Sixty-year-old Bobby James Moore, an inmate in Texas, has had his death sentence commuted to life in prison. Bobby is convicted of murdering 73-year-old James McCarble during a grocery store robbery on April 25, 1980. Bobby, a former carpenter, has been ruled too intellectually disabled to be executed.

Brandon Hutchinson has died while in prison in Missouri. Brandon was 44 years of age. Brandon was convicted of murdering 35-year-old Ronald Yates and 30-year-old Brian Yates in Freistatt, Missouri on December 31, 1995. Brandon was initially sentenced to death, however his sentence was overturned and he was resented to life in prison in 2011. Brandon died of natural causes while serving his time at the South Central Correctional Center in Licking.

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