Today is a somber anniversary in North Carolina. The last execution carried out in our state was on this day 10 years ago. We didn’t know it then, but that day marked a dividing line in North Carolina’s history. Before, North Carolina had one of the most active death chambers in the nation. After, we became the only state in the South to put executions on hold.
I can only remember certain sounds. Mrs. Carter was walking back and forth on Savannah Street crying and screaming “Oh God, his poor momma, his poor momma!” Everyone else seemed to be standing as far away as they could, but still trying to see. I suppose I could have been among them, but I was stuck; my eyes glued to the corpse.
Delaware is the 20th state to make life without parole its maximum punishment, and the eighth since 2008. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story about just how obsolete the death penalty has become. Another 11 states have not carried out an execution in at least a decade – and North Carolina is one of them.
Paul Brown has spent 16 years on N.C.’s death row. Recently, he has begun recording the stories of his life. Paul’s essays offer no simple conclusions. They are the record of a complicated and broken life. Yet, they speak poignantly to what it means to be human.
Even the death penalty’s biggest supporters are beginning to see its waste and inefficacy. Last week, as North Carolina neared a decade without an execution, Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell said he would no longer pursue the ultimate punishment because it is too difficult to carry out and is a drain on court resources.
N.C. prosecutor who sent innocent men to death row was one of five of the deadliest prosecutors in the country, a new report says. As N.C. moves into a new era of reduced death penalty use, the legacy of these super-prosecutors is one of error, misconduct, and waste.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed what North Carolina death row inmates have been saying since 2010: Race discrimination in jury selection is a serious problem, and states cannot continue to ignore it.
I. Beverly Lake says he has “seen too much” and now believes the death penalty is unconstitutional. It’s a striking turnaround for a judge who affirmed 185 N.C. death sentences.
The last legitimate seller of execution drugs will no longer provide them for the purpose of killing people. It’s time for state lawmakers to abandon their fantasies of restarting lethal injections in North Carolina.
Timothy Richardson is an adult who functions at the level of an 11 or 12 year old. Despite his clear intellectual disability, N.C. is still fighting for his execution.