10 Controversial American Executions

One of a arguments used in support of a genocide chastisement is that collateral punishment serves justice. When a chairman kills another person, they should accept a same treatment. It is an eye for an eye. This is an easy judgment to understand, generally when it comes to people who are clearly evil, like sequence killers and child murderers.

But crimes—even murder—and a people who dedicate them aren’t always black and white. Usually, they exist in shades of gray. So in a 10 cases presented in this list, we’re seeking one elementary question: Was probity served?

10 John Ferguson


John Ferguson’s mental health problems were initial available in 1965 while he was in prison. He reported carrying visible hallucinations, and by 1971, he was diagnosed with serious schizophrenia. It was endorsed that he be committed to a state hospital. By 1975, dual doctors labeled him dangerous, even homicidal, and announced that he shouldn’t be expelled from a hospital. But for some reason, he was set free.

On Jul 27, 1977, Ferguson sheltered himself as a application male and duped his approach into a home in Carol City, Florida. Once inside, he took a lady warrant and authorised dual accomplices into a house. When 7 group arrived during a door, a contingent of home invaders took them warrant as well. After robbing a place, a lady and all 7 group were shot in a behind of a conduct with a shotgun. Only a lady and one male survived. At a time, it was a misfortune mass murder in a story of Miami-Dade.

Then in Jan 1978, Ferguson sheltered himself as a military officer and confronted dual 17-year-olds, Brian Glenfeldt and Belinda Worley. He shot Glenfeldt in a behind of a head, and afterwards he took Worley to a wooded area where he raped and murdered her.

Ferguson was convicted of all 8 murders and condemned to death. He was also a categorical think in a 1977 spoliation and murder of an aged integrate in a Miami motel room. But his interest lawyers argued that given Ferguson had a prolonged story of mental illness and didn’t know a disproportion between right and wrong, he shouldn’t be theme to a genocide penalty. After all, Ferguson claimed that he was a “prince of God,” and after he was executed, he would arise adult with Jesus to save America from a comrade plot.

Despite clearly being mentally ill, Ferguson was executed on Aug 5, 2013 . . . after spending 35 years on genocide row.

9 Clarence Ray Allen

clarence ray allen

Born in 1930, Clarence Ray Allen started picking string when he was around 12 years old. By a time he was 38, he’d started his possess confidence firm. Allen became utterly rich and owned his possess craft and equine plantation in California. At initial glance, he seemed to be a happy family man, though small did anyone know that Allen was unequivocally a scandalous criminal.

Between 1974 and 1977, Allen was concerned with during slightest 8 armed robberies of homes and businesses in California’s Central Valley. In a initial robbery, Allen and 4 accomplices pennyless into Fran’s Market, a grocery store owned by his friends, Ray and Frances Schletewitz. Afterward, one of a accomplices, 17-year-old Mary Sue Kitts, spilled a beans. She told Roy and Frances’s son, Bryon, that Allen was obliged for a robbery.

Infuriated, Allen systematic Lee Furrow, another accomplice, to kill Kitts or else. So Furrow strangled Kitts and dumped her physique into a canal. Her stays was never recovered.

Allen was arrested in 1977 after a aroused spoliation during a Kmart went wrong. After his arrest, he was associated to a murder of Kitts and condemned to life. Furrow, who indeed achieved a killing, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

In prison, a 50-year-old Allen befriended Billy Ray Hamilton, a rapist who was about to be paroled. Wanting revenge, Allen asked Hamilton to kill a 8 witnesses who’d testified opposite him. On Sep 5, 1980, Hamilton and his girlfriend, Connie Barbo, went to Fran’s Market, a initial store Allen had robbed. With a sawed-off shotgun, Hamilton and Barbo murdered 27-year-old Bryon Schletewitz, along with 17-year-old Josephine Rocha and 18-year-old Douglas White.

However, a declare was hidden in a washroom, and he after identified Hamilton and Barbo as a shooters. Barbo was given a life sentence, and both Allen and Hamilton were condemned to death. For a subsequent 23 years, Allen sat on genocide quarrel and watched as 3 execution dates upheld him by. As he got older, his health run-down substantially. He was tough of hearing, could no longer walk, and was cramped to a wheelchair. And interjection to modernized diabetes, Allen was also legally blind.

On Sep 2, 2005, Allen suffered a heart conflict though survived. Allen’s lawyers argued that executing an aged male in bad health constituted vicious and surprising punishment. The probity didn’t agree, and notwithstanding his thin health, Allen was executed around fatal injection on Jan 17, 2006. It was a day after his 76th birthday.

8 Gary Graham

gary graham

On May 13, 1981, 53-year-old hustler and rapist artist Bobby Grant Lambert was shopping groceries during a Safeway in Houston, Texas. In a parking lot, Lambert was approached by a immature black male wearing a white jacket. Suddenly, a male shot Lambert in a chest with a .22-caliber handgun. When paramedics arrived, Lambert was conspicuous passed during a scene. Police believed it was a spoliation left wrong.

There wasn’t most swell on a box until a 17-year-old Gary Graham was arrested. When Lambert was murdered, Graham was on a drug-fueled crime spree. The day after Lambert was killed, Graham stole a outpost and after pistol-whipped, shot, and pounded another plant in a parking lot. On May 18, Graham struck again, robbing a integrate in nonetheless another parking lot. Graham stranded his gun in a man’s mouth before hidden a woman’s marriage ring and fondling her breasts. Later that night, Graham stole another car.

Graham was finally arrested after raping a 57-year-old woman. Altogether, military believed he was obliged for 18 armed robberies, one rape, and an additional shooting. Since some of his crimes common similarities to Lambert’s murder, authorities put Graham in a lineup. There were 6 witnesses to Lambert’s killing, though usually one picked Graham out of a lineup. Based on that marker (along with his other crimes), Graham was condemned to genocide on Oct 28, 1981.

As Graham sat on genocide row, his lawyers appealed a case. Witnesses swore that Graham was in a opposite partial of a city when Lambert was killed. And a people who’d witnessed a murder settled a shooter was shorter than Graham. As his appeals went on, Graham picked adult support from a likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Danny Glover, and Kenny Rogers.

Graham’s proponents conspicuous he was convicted given he was black. Also, even if Graham did dedicate a crime, he was a youthful during a time of a shooting. Critics also guess it was astray to govern Graham given genocide is irreversible, and there was so most doubt surrounding a conviction. Graham had been convicted of 10 armed robberies and rape. He was going to live a rest of his life in jail for crimes he did commit. So given govern him for a crime with so many questions surrounding it?

Graham, who altered his name to Shaka Sankofa, was given 3 stays of execution, though by 2000, he’d run out of appeals. Texas administrator George W. Bush, who was using for boss during a time, did not extend another stay. On Jun 22, 2000, after last-minute appeals by his lawyers had failed, Graham was led to a genocide chamber. He struggled and fought on a way, usually to be resigned and carried to a bed. Graham’s final difference were an indignant diatribe about how his genocide was murder by a state and that it was partial of a genocide of black men. He also claimed that his genocide would be avenged.

At 8:49 PM, he was conspicuous dead.

7 Richard Masterson


On Jan 26, 2001, Richard Masterson met Darin Honeycutt, a transvestite who went by a name of Brandi Houston, during a bar in Houston, Texas. They went behind to Honeycutt’s apartment, and according to Masterson, Honeycutt asked Masterson to put him in a “sleeper hold” so he could knowledge autoerotic asphyxiation. Afterward, Honeycutt fell to a floor. Masterson guess Honeycutt was unconscious, though when he didn’t arise up, Masterson satisfied Honeycutt was dead.

Masterson conspicuous he was disturbed no one would trust a genocide was random due to his aroused rapist record. Desperate, Masterson allegedly trashed Honeycutt’s unit to make it demeanour like a spoliation left wrong. He afterwards attempted to rush Texas, though he was arrested in Florida.

At trial, a military conspicuous Masterson killed Honeycutt in sequence to take his car. The justification used to support this speculation was Masterson’s story of violence. In Tampa, Masterson had choked a male until he mislaid alertness and had afterwards stolen his wallet and vehicle. Medical investigator Paul Shrode also testified that Honeycutt could usually have died from asphyxiation. However, a invulnerability had another pathologist demeanour during a autopsy, and this consultant dynamic that Honeycutt could’ve died from a heart conflict due to coronary artery disease.

While watchful on genocide row, Masterson wrote a minute to a profession ubiquitous of Texas, observant Honeycutt’s genocide was no accident. He even asked to be executed. However, Masterson’s lawyers argued he was perplexing to dedicate “suicide by confession.” And when Masterson was on anti-depressants, he would change his mind about wanting to die.

It should be remarkable that in a indirect years, medical investigator Paul Shrode came underneath guess when it was detected that he’d lied on his CV. Shrode was dismissed in 2011, though an exploration did uncover that he was competent for his pursuit during a time. Also, a year before Honeycutt’s autopsy, Shrode had been demoted for misdiagnosing a drug overdose as a means of death.

Nevertheless, Masterson was executed on Jan 20, 2016. The 43-year-old was conspicuous passed during 6:53 PM, notwithstanding no petrify justification that a murder was committed.

6 Napoleon Beazley


In Apr 1994, Napoleon Beazley was a 17-year-old from Grapeland, Texas, with a unequivocally earnest future. He was an respect student, a star athlete, boss of his comparison class, and a runner-up for Mr. Grapeland High School. He also designed on attending Stanford Law School. But Beazley had a dim side. He dabbled in drug traffic and spasmodic carried a handgun.

On Apr 19, Beazley was out with dual friends, Cedrick and Donald Coleman. They were looking for someone to carjack, and eventually, they speckled John and Bobbie Lutting. After a integrate pulled into their garage, Beazley and a Coleman brothers followed them inside. That’s when Napoleon dismissed his gun, extending John’s head. He afterwards dismissed a second shot during Bobbie, hardly missing. Then he shot John in a head, murdering a 63-year-old. Bobbie survived a occurrence by sanctimonious to be dead.

Three weeks later, an unknown tip led to a trio’s arrest. Cedrick and Donald testified opposite Beazley, and they were given life sentences. Beazley, who was 17, was condemned to death.

There was no doubt that Beazley committed a murder, though it lifted a lot of questions per either minors should be theme to collateral punishment. There were also some outmost factors relating to a case. For example, Beazley was bad and black, while his plant was a rich white male shot inside his possess home. Also, John’s son was a rarely reputable sovereign judge, and a Honorable J. Michael Luttig wanted a full border of a law extended to his father’s killer.

When a box went to a Supreme Court, 3 of a justices—David Souter, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas—had to recuse themselves given they had personal ties to Judge Luttig. This resulted in a deadlock, that meant a execution was to ensue as planned.

On May 28, 2002, Beazley was conspicuous passed during 6:17 PM. He was 25 years aged and had no final words, though before he died, Beazley wrote that his crimes were a meaningless actions of a teenager. He also wrote that, in some cases, a genocide chastisement is warranted, though he didn’t feel he deserved to die.

5 Ricky Ray Rector

ricky ray rector

On a night of Mar 22, 1981, Ricky Ray Rector got into a quarrel over a $3 cover assign during a dance bar in Conway, Arkansas. During a confrontation, Rector murdered a male named Arthur Criswell. Rector told a military that he’d spin himself in to Bob Martin, a military officer Rector knew.

On Mar 24, Martin went to accommodate Rector, and that’s when Rector shot a officer in a head. He afterwards ran out of a residence and shot himself in a temple. Martin was killed, though Rector survived, notwithstanding with serious mind damage. Doctors were forced to mislay a partial of his brain, effectively lobotomizing him. The operation left Rector with an IQ somewhere between 60 and 70. Regardless, Rector was found guilty and condemned to death. His execution was set for Jan 25, 1992.

Rector’s lawyers argued that given he was mentally disabled, Rector shouldn’t be executed. The preference eventually came down to a administrator of Arkansas, Bill Clinton. At a time, Clinton was using for care of a Democratic party, and Rector’s genocide was only before a Iowa congress and a New Hampshire primary. Hoping to uncover he was tough on crime, Clinton flew behind to Arkansas to safeguard a execution went through. This led people to trust Rector’s execution was some-more about politics than justice.

Rector’s final dish was steak, boiled chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and pecan pie. Reflecting Rector’s mental capacity, he didn’t finish a cake given he was “saving it for later.” The execution itself took 50 mins given officials were incompetent to find a vein. Rector, who was 42, was conspicuous passed during 10:09 PM.

4 Kelly Gissendaner


Doug and Kelly Gissendaner of Atlanta, Georgia, had a rather difficult relationship. The integrate had 3 children together, divorced in 1993, and remarried in 1995. But by 1997, Kelly was carrying an event with a male named Greg Owen.

Wanting to henceforth finish their relationship, Kelly went out with her friends on Feb 7, 1997. Meanwhile, Owen waited during a family’s residence for Doug to get home. When he did, Owen pulled a knife, forced Doug into his car, and gathering out to a wooded area. Owen got Doug on his knees and afterwards stabbed him in a chest and neck, murdering him. Afterward, Owen texted Kelly a formula that indicated a pursuit was finished and that she could come collect him up.

Kelly reported her father missing, and after Doug’s physique was found, Kelly and Owen were interviewed by police. Both confessed. Owen, who committed a tangible murder, testified opposite Kelly, and he was given a life sentence. Kelly, on a other hand, was condemned to death.

After being sentenced, Kelly complicated divinity and started her possess one-woman method on genocide row. She’s credited with assisting many prisoners who were on a margin of self-murder and even rehabilitating lives. She also became coop pals with Jurgen Moltmann, a reputable German theologian. He even visited her in jail after she graduated from her divinity category in 2011.

The good work that Kelly achieved while behind bars stirred people to ask Georgia’s administrator to invert Kelly’s judgment to life in prison. After all, a enterprise to govern immorality and dangerous people is understandable, though Kelly had taken shortcoming for her actions and incited her life around. She’d even helped others and wasn’t deliberate dangerous. Around 90,000 people sealed a petition, and even Pope Francis sent a minute in support of travelling Kelly’s sentence. However, nothing of this would save her life.

Kelly’s execution was put off twice. On Feb 2015, a sirocco forced officials to postpone. It was rescheduled to take place a few days later, though only before a execution, a drugs that were to be used looked cloudy. So Kelly’s execution was deferred again until Sep 2015.

On a night of Kelly’s designed execution, her children attempted to pronounce to a Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, in hopes of removing a stay of execution. Sadly, their interest was denied. Shortly after midnight, a 47-year-old mom of 3 was strapped to a bed in a genocide chamber. She sang “Amazing Grace” and prayed before she was given a injection. Kelly Gissendaner died during 12:21 AM on Sep 30. She was a initial lady in 70 years to be executed by a state of Georgia.

3 Stanley Tookie Williams


Stanley Tookie Williams was innate on Dec 29, 1953. His mom was a poor, singular 17-year-old in New Orleans. As a child, Williams changed to Los Angeles. Growing up, his mom was never around, and Williams treasured a pimps and drug dealers who worked in his neighborhood. His initial pursuit as a immature teen was caring for dogs after they’d been used in dogfights. His subsequent pursuit was as a fighter who fought other immature boys.

In 1969, Williams and his friend, Raymond Washington, started a Los Angeles–based squad famous as a Crips. By 1979, a squad had divided into dual groups: Eastside and Westside Crips. The squad also stretched stateside, and by this point, Williams and Washington had mislaid control of their organization.

In 1979, Washington was shot and killed. His murder stays unsolved. Also in 1979, Williams and 3 other Crips were robbing a preference store while high on PCP, and Williams finished adult murdering a 26-year-old clerk. On Mar 11, 1979, Williams presumably pennyless into a motel bureau and murdered 3 members of a family who owned and operated a motel. A bombard left during a stage associated Williams to a crime.

The male was charged with 4 murders, nonetheless he claimed he was innocent. At his trial, witnesses claimed Williams talked about a murders after they were committed. Apparently, he said, “You should have listened a approach he sounded when we shot him.” Then Williams done a growling sound and laughed for about 5 mins afterward. Williams was eventually condemned to death.

When Williams went to genocide row, he was a disruptive prisoner. That’s a terrifying guess given Williams was a outrageous man. He weighed 136 kilograms (300 lb) and had 59-centimeter (22 in) biceps. Sitting in unique confinement, however, Williams underwent a thespian reformation. He review a Bible, truth books, and books on black history. When he was expelled from solitary, he was a self-proclaimed male of peace.

With a assistance of a friend, Williams published a array of children’s books, stories that warned kids of a dangers of squad life. He was obliged for brokering truces between gangs in California and New Jersey. Williams was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize 5 times and nominated once for a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Due to his turnaround and good work, Williams had many supporters seeking for his judgment to be commuted to life in prison. Some of his some-more important supporters were Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Snoop Dogg, Joan Baez, and Jamie Foxx. The actor even played Williams in a made-for-TV film in 2004.

As Williams’s execution date approached in late 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Williams himself, though he motionless opposite travelling a sentence. He wasn’t certain if a turnaround was genuine or not. As a result, on Dec 13, 2005, after spending 24 years on genocide row, 51-year-old Stanley Tookie Williams was executed. He was conspicuous passed during 12:35 AM, nonetheless he never wavered in his position that he was trusting of all 4 murders.

2 Lester Bower


In a tumble of 1983, Lester Bower had a good pursuit as a chemical salesman. He was a former college football player, a family man, and lived in a good residence in Fort Worth, Texas. And he never had a problem with a law.

According to Bower, he’d responded to a repository ad to squeeze an ultralight craft from a hangar nearby Sherman, Texas. Bower told his mother that he was crawl sport given she wouldn’t have authorized of him shopping a plane. After profitable $3,000, he stashed a craft during a gun operation and returned home that night.

On a same day Bower bought a plane, 4 group were shot to genocide during a hangar, execution style. Three were wrapped in rugs, and a fourth was passed nearby a doorway. One was a sheriff’s deputy, and another was a former military officer. In a indirect months, Bower didn’t contend anything about being during a hangar that day given he was disturbed that a chairman (or people) obliged would come after him. Eventually, military traced phone calls from a hangar to Bower, and given he’d lied to his mother about his locale that day, a cops incited their concentration to a father of dual with no rapist record.

Bower was attempted notwithstanding a fact that there was no earthy justification restraining him to a massacre. Plus, a murder arms was never found. Police conspicuous a proclivity behind a killings was that Bower stole a craft and murdered everybody to cover it up. At a trial, on his lawyer’s advice, Bower didn’t testify. After dual hours of deliberation, a Texan was condemned to death.

Over a subsequent 3 decades, Bower appealed, and mixed witnesses conspicuous he didn’t dedicate a murders. According to witnesses, a killings were drug related, that was one of a strange theories a military had deliberate until Bower popped adult on their radar. Supposedly, 4 group named Lynn, Ches, Rocky, and Bear were obliged for a crime. At an appeals trial, 4 witnesses testified that Bear was unequivocally Brett Leckie, a male who’d died a few years before from cancer. Leckie and some accomplices were allegedly looking for heroin when they were astounded by a 4 men, so sparking a massacre.

However, there was no earthy justification restraining Leckie—or anyone else—to a murders. Eventually, a decider certified that a new justification presented could’ve resulted in a opposite outcome during Bower’s strange trial. However, it didn’t infer that Bower was innocent. Sadly, this is a vivid problem with a American probity system. While reasonable doubt can assistance someone during trial, it’s not adequate to win an appeal. Only decisive evidence, such as DNA tests, are adequate to save someone from a prejudicial conviction.

In his final interest to a Supreme Court, Bower argued that he was 67, a oldest chairman on Texas’s genocide row, and he’d spent 32 years watchful to be executed. This was vicious and surprising punishment. But his interest was denied, and hours after on Jun 3, 2015, Texas executed their oldest invalid given a genocide chastisement was backed in 1976. Bower was conspicuous passed during 6:36 PM.

1 Barry Lee Fairchild

death penalty

In Feb 1983, Marjorie Mason, a 22-year-old Navy nurse, was kidnapped, raped, and shot to death. After a heartless murder, dual black group were speckled pushing her car. When military attempted to lift them over, a suspects fled. As they ran, one male left behind a shawl that reminded an officer of one ragged by his informant, Barry Lee Fairchild.

On a night of Mar 4, Fairchild was located, and a residence where he was staying was surrounded by during slightest 50 officers. He was unarmed and attempted to flee, so he was brought down by a military dog. The animal pounded him on a conduct and neck. After a arrest, Fairchild was taken to a sanatorium where he perceived stitches. He was afterwards taken to a military hire during about 2:30 AM. Throughout a night, 3 white lawmen interrogated Fairchild, a black male with an IQ of about 62. Even worse, Fairchild didn’t have a lawyer.

In a videotaped interrogation, Fairchild seemed to respond to voices that weren’t physically there. During a night, he confessed twice to abduction and raping Mason. However, he claimed that a second think was a one who shot her. He also took military to a crime stage and told them what happened. Fairchild went to trial, and only on a weight of his confession, he was found guilty and condemned to death.

In his appeals, a series of problems were lifted with a self-assurance (besides his comprehension turn and a miss of earthy evidence). The chairman Fairchild named as a shooter wasn’t even in a state during a time of a murder. Also, Fairchild’s counsel argued that military got earthy during a interrogation. The profession conspicuous a cops put a phone book on Fairchild’s conduct and afterwards strike it with a blackjack. This would concede a officers to harm Fairchild though withdrawal a bruise. The military denied these accusations, though Fairchild’s lawyers found 11 group who were beaten in a same way.

Finally, while Fairchild did confess twice, those dual confessions contradicted any other.

At a indulgence hearing—an interest to literally save his life—Fairchild indeed fell asleep. He would remove that appeal, and on Aug 31, 1995, Barry Lee Fairchild was executed around fatal injection.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can crony him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or Pinterest, or revisit his website.


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