Thursday, 23 Aug, 2007 Current Events

Texas Executed the 400th Prisoner


The leading state for death penalties in the US, Texas, has executed the 400th person since 1982, the year when Texas resumed capital punishment.

The 32-year old prisoner by the name of Johnny Ray Conner was convicted for murdering, in 1998, the owner of a convenience store, located in Houston. Conner was the 21st man in the state this year, who was executed using the lethal injection.

Eight years he waited on death row. It is worth reminding that Texas resumed the death penalty after the Supreme Court lifted a moratorium on it, which took place back in 1976.

According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, after lifting the moratorium on death penalty 1092 have been in the row for the execution in the United States.

The execution of Conner took place in Huntsville, which is north of Houston. It was sharply criticized by the opponents of the practice, who stated that death penalty is inhumane and it cannot serve a way to make criminals fear.

It's a pretty sad day for the progression - or lack thereof - for human rights in this state, outlined Rick Halperin, the president of the Texas Coalition To Abolish the Death Penalty, which represents a non-profit organization the members of which are human rights activists, death row prisoners and their families; crime victims and their families, as well as persons who work within the criminal justice system and persons who argue against capital punishment on both religious and moral grounds.

Rick Halperin named executions barbaric and outdated. The European Union asked the state's governor to stop all executions before it carried out the death sentence of the executed prisoner Johnny Ray Conner. "Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens." stated the Texas Governor's spokesman, Rick Perry, in defense.

The prosecutors stated that Conner robbed the store at gunpoint. The prisoner shot a customer twice when the witness tried to escape. Then he deadly shot twice in the head the owner of the store, a 49-year-old woman.

Before the execution Conner asked for forgiveness and said that he loves his family. In addition he also said that his death penalty was wrong.

What is happening to me now is unjust and the system is broken, he outlined. It was the second out of five executions that are planned to take place this month. There are 10 more executions scheduled this year.

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