Local News

Attorneys Ask Courts to Block Execution on Friday

Posted January 23, 2007
Updated January 24, 2007

— Attorneys for an inmate scheduled to be put to death Friday at Central Prison are asking the courts to block the execution on the ground that the state cannot assure he will die without pain.

Marcus Robinson, 33, is to be executed for the 1991 murder of a Fayetteville teenager, Erik Tornblom. James Edward Thomas is scheduled to be executed Feb. 2 for the slaying of Teresa West, and James Adoph Campbell is scheduled for Feb. 9.

The lawyers’ appeal comes at the same time that several states have put executions on hold and a ruling from the North Carolina Medical Board last week that doctors who participate in executions violate the ethics of their profession.

North Carolina uses lethal injection for executions. State law requires a medical doctor to be present when inmates received the deadly cocktail.

Lawyers for convicted killers Robinson and for Thomas, who also face a death sentence, say the state law and the board’s ruling contradict each other.

“The physician is there for a purpose, so he is participating once he steps into the room” where the inmate will be killed, according to Robert Zaytoun, Thomas' attorney.

At the same time as the legal appeals are in court, death penalty opponents are making medical ethics part of their protest.

“Until we resolve that conflict it seems wrong that an execution should go forward,” said Katie Maslanka, a death penalty opponent.

Thirty state lawmakers have signed a letter to Gov. Mike Easley calling for him to suspend executions. They referred to states like Florida, where Gov. Jeb Bush issued a moratorium after a botched lethal injection.

The arguments do not persuade everyone, including C.W. "Pete" Bland, a former state senator and the uncle of the woman Robinson killed.

“We are crossing a bridge before we get to it here. If we had a problem, I could understand more of their sentiment,” Bland said.

“This is a tragedy for both families. But, I feel real firm about the judgment being carried out,” Bland said.

Responding to the defendants’ lawyers, the state Department of Correction said it sees no problem moving forward with executions.

Officials say doctors are not required to do anything except sign a death certificate. A nurse and emergency medical technician monitor the inmates vital signs, they noted.

Easley has no comment on what he'll do. A spokesman would say only that the governor will follow the law as required.

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • finallysingle Jan 24, 2007

    Lynching would be much better,short term and long term,especially for the punk that has that smirk on his face !!!Where's the needle ? It can't happen soon enough.

  • deerslayer Jan 24, 2007

    On the scriptural basis for the death penalty; the Old Testament is stretching it a bit. We live under the New Testament and it says quote" Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. Foe there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will recieve condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God for good. BUT IF YOU DO WHAT IS EVIL, BE AFRAID FOR IT DOES NOT BEAR THE SWORD FOR NOTHING; FOR IT IS A MINISTER OF GOD, AN AVENGER WHO BRINGS WRATH UPON THOSE WHO PRACTICE EVIL..Romans 13:1-4. These people should die. The jury and authorities have sais so and they have God's blessings. If you have a problem with that take it up with Him.

  • superman Jan 24, 2007

    the doctor is present to make sure nothing goes wrong. the guy is there to be killed- so in the event the injection doesnt work we can go to plan 2. shoot him between the eyes. but not before we talk to him and make sure that he understands that plan no 1 didnt work and we will be going to plan no. 2. maybe give him a coke and burger while they get the gun loaded and he can think about what he did for a little longer.

  • lkattner71 Jan 24, 2007

    For your information God is not spelled with a lower case "g". This country was founded on a belief in the one true God of the universe, it saddens me that society now treats Him as an annoyance and an unwelcomed intrusion rather than what he is, a loving, accepting King..it saddens me because of the state of humanity and the lack of reverence for anything..anything at all. This story demonstrates just how lost people are when God is not involved...perhaps it isn't a bad idea to consider following His law as opposed to following the laws created by imperfect, self serving human beings.

  • jabservices Jan 24, 2007

    Their coherent and diverse attributes to society cannot be tolerated or accepted under these sporadic and outrageous aptitudes. Therefore we have rules in place. So....exterminate these bastards before they suck anymore money from us poor paying tax payers!!!

  • crckttsgr Jan 24, 2007


    I like your way of thinking!!

  • 777 Jan 24, 2007


    Leviticus 11:9-12 and Deuteronomy 14:9-10 forbid people to eat shellfish. I hope you don't enjoy crab, shrimp or lobster.

    I suppose if you want to follow laws created 5,000 years ago by a primitive, patriarchial society, then you can do so in your personal life. But please don't presume to think that it should be any basis for the laws of modern society. And if you're going to cite god as the "true author", please don't forget that we have a diverse population in our country, and no one's personal god has the right to govern over everyone in our society.

  • dolphins Jan 24, 2007

    why keep them locked up that is taking are tax money if they did wrong they did it execute them stop taking are tax money

  • highergame4me Jan 24, 2007

    I wonder how those attorneys representing the inmates would feel if the inmates had killed one of their loved ones???To me, the victims in the cases, hard as it may be, need to go forth and have their voices heard...God Bless the Victims and their Families!

  • RDUTEC Jan 24, 2007

    In Gen 9:6 the bible does say that whoever commits murder shall himself be killed. Also Exo 21:14, Lev 24:17, Num 35:16. Exo 23:7 does address the murder of an inocent person. Also Deu 19:12 dictates that the family of the murdered kill the murderer. The bible differentiates between MURDER (that of an inocent person) and that of KILLING (reserved for those guilty of murder and or to protect ones self).
    This is of course open to interpertation, and many have spent many a day studying the manuscripts. There are as many interpertations as there are those studying. All too often those doing the studying, have made up their minds before hand and address only the portions that support their ideals. Personally I would reserve capital punishment to only the very worst of crimes