State News

2 N.C. Inmates Want to Halt Executions

Posted January 23, 2007

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution

— Two North Carolina death row inmates scheduled to die in the next 10 days have asked the courts to stop their executions because they say there's no guarantee they'll die painlessly.

Also Tuesday, 30 Democratic members of the General Assembly asked Gov. Mike Easley to suspend executions immediately until the state can assure its method of lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

State Sen. Eleanor Kinnaird, D-Orange, said in a statement that a bill creating a legislative study commission on lethal injection would be filed "in response to the mounting evidence that the procedure used to execute prisoners in North Carolina has the potential to cause undue and excruciating pain."

Seth Effron, a spokesman for Easley, said Tuesday that "the governor will follow the law as he is required to do." He did not offer additional explanation.

The court filing in North Carolina, entered late Monday, contended the state can no longer assure that a doctor will monitor the execution for problems. State law requires a doctor to attend the execution, but the North Carolina Medical Board approved a policy last week that forbids the doctor from participating in any way, including the monitoring of an inmate's consciousness.

The inmate scheduled to die Friday, Marcus Reymond Robinson, 33, was moved Tuesday to a cell block at Central Prison in Raleigh where guards will watch him around the clock.

Robinson was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder and robbery of a Fayetteville teenager.

The request for a temporary restraining order also was filed on behalf of James Edward Thomas, 51, who is scheduled to be executed February 2 for the murder in 1986 of Teresa West in Raleigh.

Lawyers said a drug used in executions to induce sleep before the inmates are killed is short-acting and could allow the prisoners to awake, paralyzed by another drug, and suffering extreme pain. They said veterinarians use a longer-acting barbiturate to euthanize animals.

"The lack of adequate standards for administration of the chemicals, the lack of qualifications of the personnel involved in the process and the combination of the three particular drugs used in the defendants' protocol create a grave and substantial risk that plaintiffs will be conscious throughout the execution process," the filing said.

Attorneys also cite Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who recently intervened to impose a moratorium after a botched execution. It also said eight other states had halted executions to review the lethal injection process.

The request for a temporary restraining order was in Wake Superior Court and state attorneys said early Tuesday they hadn't formally received a copy of the lawsuit.

Robinson's attorneys also asked a Cumberland County judge to stop the execution, but he refused and the case was appealed Monday to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Robinson's attorney have asked Easley to stop the execution with his executive clemency power. Lawyers for Thomas were meeting Tuesday with Easley while death penalty protesters gathered for a rally at the state Capitol.

Defense lawyers said the execution also should be stopped because two federal judges are considering whether the state's execution process is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

The state Department of Correction uses a brain monitor to help determine if the inmate is asleep or needs additional drugs during an execution.


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  • laguerita0707 Mar 15, 2007

    hate is all i seem to see here. revenge and hate solve absolutely nothing. unfortunalty soon people are too blind with pain, grief and hate to see or comprehend what's right and what's wrong. nothing i acn say is going to change the mind of any of you people here so why bother.. murder is murder . rather it's done in the street or state sanctioned.

  • green_eyes Jan 23, 2007

    who cares if they suffer a painful death? they should have been executed years ago..the victims are the forgotten ones..these jerks deserve no mercy.

  • scfair Jan 23, 2007

    Exactly - who cares if they suffer! My sister was murdered almost 26 years ago by a psychopath who was released two years before his sentence was completed in Canada because of good behavior and prison overcrowding! The families of the victims don't get an early release or anything. They suffer forever. I can't stand when I read about anything to do with stopping executions. Why?

  • tinawalker Jan 23, 2007

    Does anyone else find it hilarious that we kill a man to show that killing someone is wrong? YEAH-I am totally uneducated, but DUH-? Let's start sending rapists to prison not to be punished but to be raped, let's start sending people doing drive bys down a dark road with hunters----deer rifles loaded/safety off-ready-aim-fire. That'll show um---

  • medic333aa Jan 23, 2007

    This is the most ridiculous things I've heard. The MD's oath is "to do no harm." If the MD is there to sign the death certificate, they are "doing no harm." To try and use the physician against this and say that it is in-humane is something that should have been thought about before they took someone's life.

  • narck9 Jan 23, 2007

    "Two North Carolina death row inmates scheduled to die in the next 10 days have asked the courts to stop their executions because they say there's no guarantee they'll die painlessly". I suppose they didn't inflict pain on their victims. I hope they suffer the most incredible pain of their life. That is justice.

  • DriveBye Jan 23, 2007

    They should be set free, they are not responsible for their crimes it is societies fault, they are great citizens.

  • nrsnan Jan 23, 2007

    la gueurta.......with your logic....they why should there be any accountability whatsoever? I mean comon` if we shouldn't execute murderers because their families would suffer as well....they what the heck! Don't make anyone pay restitution for theft..because it would effect the economy of the entire familiy.....don't ask someone to pay damages ( or their insurance companies) for an accident that they were responsible for because that just causes all or our insurance rates to increase thus penalizing all of us...sorry...but your logic just doesn't fit. Teach your children now...that with their actions comes reactions...and consequences and be consistent! Maybe then...just maybe, we can start at home by teaching responsibility for one's actions it might help, even in a small way, keep crime down. I know it isn't a fix-all...but its a start. As far as this story......I agree with the majority here..I personally do not care one bit if they suffer a tiny bit. They earned that.

  • miss.lady252 Jan 23, 2007

    who cares if they suffer. The famileies of the people who died suffered and the people they killed may have suffered. It shouldnt matter. they should suffer too. The death penalty is to easy and non painful. I do not agree with it. I think if you get the death penalty it should be torture!!

  • deerslayer Jan 23, 2007

    Too bad..they should have thought about that before they killed someone. Crucify them!!!!