Life on Death Row
Posted April 22, 1998
RALEIGH — 44-year-old Wendell Flowers is scheduled to die at 2 a.m. tomorrow inside Raleigh's Central Prison.
Barring a last minute appeal, Wendell Flowers will soon move from a Central Prison holding cell to a gurney in North Carolina's death chamber to be executed by lethal injection.
Flowers is the first African American executed by our state since 1961, when Theodore Boykin died by lethal gas.
Death penalty opponents who will hold a vigil for Flowers call the scheduled execution racist.
The group contends that while roughly a quarter of the state's overall population is minority, minorities make up nearly two-thirds of the people on our death row.
"The people on death row in the us are not like a cross section of people in the us. They tend to be poor people of color."
While minorities make up a majority of North Carolina's death row, they also make-up roughly two-thirds of the state's total prison population.
An expert on capital punishment at Duke University said that race is a factor in who is sentenced to die, but it's the race of the victim that tends to sway jurors to vote for death.
"If the victim in a murder case is white, then the defendant, whatever his race is, is more than four times as likely to get the death penalty than if the victim had been black."