Even with the number of death sentences slowed to a trickle, our state still can’t get it right in death penalty cases. The N.C. Supreme Court has just overturned the sentence of of a death row prisoner from Forsyth County, saying there was ample evidence that he had intellectual disabilities and mental illness that should have moved the jury to spare him from execution.
Dylann Roof could have been quietly and simply sent to prison for the rest of his life. Instead, his death penalty trial has become an international spectacle where, acting as his own lawyer, he will get to cross examine survivors and victims’ families. Even in the worst crimes, the death penalty serves no one.
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.
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.
On trial for his life, Kenneth Neal was assigned a recently convicted child pornographer for a defense attorney. Just like the poor, intellectually disabled Brendan Dassey in Making A Murderer, Neal got stuck with a sub-par attorney who sabotaged his chance for a fair trial. The latest in NCCADP’s stories from death row.
Just in time for Veterans Day, a sobering new report shows that North Carolina is one of many states that routinely condemns veterans to death and executes them, with little regard for the trauma they endured while serving our country. Twenty-four of North Carolina’s 148 death row inmates are military veterans. Six veterans have been executed.
A poll shows Americans overwhelmingly oppose the death penalty for people with mental illness. Yet, a delusional man barely escaped execution in Texas, and many severely mentally ill inmates remain on N.C.’s death row.
Yet another innocent man is exonerated after more than three decades in prison for murder. How many will it take before our state accepts that systemic changes are needed? And that the death penalty is unconscionable in a system that cannot even convict the right people?
Henry McCollum’s attorney writes about defending an innocent man for 20 years. “I am angry that we live in a world where two disabled boys can have their lives stolen from them, where cops can lie and intimidate with impunity, where innocent people can be condemned to die and where injustice is so difficult to bring to light.”
30 years, 11 months, 5 days. That’s how long it took for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown to finally prove their innocence in a rape and murder for which they were sentenced to death. A judge declared both men innocent Tuesday and ordered their release.