Our California legislature is considering a proposal to postpone all executions in this state for years. My attention was grabbed by this bit at the end of the L.A. Times story on the proposal:
Among those invited to testify before the Assembly Public Safety Committee next month in favor of Koretz’s bill, AB 1121, is Donald Heller, a Sacramento attorney who wrote California’s original death penalty initiative. A former prosecutor, Heller said he has since come to believe application of the death penalty cannot help but be discriminatory and erroneous.
He said that the graphic details of execution — such as the 12-minute difficulty prison officials had in finding a suitable vein in Williams’ arm for the lethal injection last night, while the condemned man winced in pain — might turn more people away from it.
Huh? A 12-minute search for a vein constitutes “graphic details”?
I got your “graphic details” right here:
Williams bragged to his brother Wayne about killing [Albert] Owens. Williams said, “you should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him.” Williams then made gurgling or growling noises and laughed hysterically about Owens’ death. (TT 2195-2197).
. . .
As [deputies] entered, they saw Yen-I Yang lying on a sofa. He was “soaked with blood,” “gasping for air, and making gurgling noises.” (TT 1501). They also saw the bloodied body of Tsai-Shai Yang. She was making “gurgling noises” and “gasping for air,” with “her knees drawn up under her, and her face down on the floor,” as if she had been forced to bow down before being killed. (TT 1502). Lastly, the deputies found the body of Yee-Chen Lin lying on the hallway floor.
Yee-Chen Lin was shot once in the upper left face area at a distance of a few feet. Despite the truly horrific nature of the wound Stanley Williams inflicted upon her, Yee-Chen also clung to life. She was transported from the scene by paramedics to Centinela Hospital where she died at 7:36 a.m.
You want “graphic details”? You just read about the awful way that Yee-Chen Lin died. If you have any doubts about your ability to handle looking at a picture of her corpse, then please don’t click through to the next link. But if you can handle it, look at very, very disturbing picture of Yee-Chen, and think about the fact that she lived for over two hours after being shot in the face. Then we’ll talk about “graphic details.”
And Tookie “winced in pain”? The poor dear!
“What occurred in San Quentin last night was in my view somewhat grotesque,” Heller said Tuesday. “Maybe what they should do is televise executions.”
If they ran executions the way I want them to — placing the entire focus of the execution on the victim(s) and what the defendant did to them — I’d have no problem with that, at all.