August 31, 2012 |
GREENSBURG, Pa. - A man deserves to die by lethal injection for his role in the torture killing of a mentally disabled woman held captive in a dingy apartment for more than two days, a jury ruled Thursday. The jury delivered the death penalty instead of life in prison for Melvin Knight, 22, after hearing nearly two weeks of testimony about the death of Jennifer Daugherty in February 2010. Knight, who pleaded guilty to murder, is to have the sentence imposed Friday by Westmoreland County Court Judge Rita Hathaway.
June 1, 2012 |
The Philadelphia poet, painter, musician, and activist Aja Beech spent the Memorial Day weekend — whose official observance commemorates those who died serving their country — finalizing the annual "Execute Art Not People" event, which seeks to redirect state funds from prison death rows to arts and education programs. "With everyone volunteering time and space, we had to work around some very busy schedules — quite a round-the-clock labor of love," says Beech, noting this year's participation by Rittenhouse Square's Ethical Society, host of Friday's exhibition, and the Mural Arts Program, which will hold a related interactive painting session.
April 4, 2012
Former death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal has lost his last legal appeal. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected a challenge regarding forensic evidence in his racially charged case. The onetime Black Panther was found guilty in 1982 of fatally shooting Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal spent nearly 30 years on death row while pursuing numerous legal appeals. On March 26, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court's denial of the forensics claim. One of Abu-Jamal's appeals led a judge to order a new sentencing hearing.
March 29, 2012 |
The case of a Bristol Borough man on death row for gunning down two men at his former workplace in 2008 is back in Bucks County Court to determine whether he is mentally competent for an appeal. Robert Diamond, 36, has shown paranoid schizophrenic behavior since he has been in state prison following his guilty plea in 2009, forensic psychologist John O'Brien testified Wednesday on his behalf. "His responses on the surface are reasonable, but his answers to follow-up questions are disorganized and difficult to understand," O'Brien said.
March 2, 2012
The welcome decision by the Philadelphia courts to dramatically boost the fees paid to lawyers appointed to represent indigent defendants facing the death penalty strikes a long-overdue blow for justice. As long as Pennsylvania maintains what Supreme Court Justice Harold Andrew Blackmun famously called "the machinery of death," the state cannot afford to scrimp on fairness. Yet, for decades, the legal representation provided the poor in capital cases has been called into question by the courts themselves.
February 26, 2012 |
COLUMBUS, Ohio - As a young state senator 30 years ago, Paul Pfeifer helped write Ohio's death-penalty law. Today, as the senior member of the state Supreme Court, he's trying to eliminate it. It's not uncommon for sitting judges to change their minds about the death penalty - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun famously said in 1994 he would no longer "tinker with the machinery of death" - but Pfeifer may be the only one to argue so ardently against...
February 6, 2012 |
BEFORE LAST WEEK, the main question posed to 76ers coach Doug Collins and his team was about the next 2 weeks, which included seven games against some of the top teams in the league. Wins against Orlando and Chicago were impressive, before Friday night's 20-point loss to the Miami Heat. In that game, the Sixers stayed close before a 15-0 run by Miami in the final quarter allowed it to pull away. After the game, forward Andre Iguodala put it best: "You have to give [Miami]
January 29, 2012 |
Mumia Abu-Jamal has been moved into the general prison population for the first time since going on death row for the killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Susan McNaughton, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, said Abu-Jamal was moved Friday from the restricted housing unit at the Mahanoy facility in Frackville, Schuylkill County. In the restricted housing unit, Abu-Jamal had largely been in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day. Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 shooting death of Faulkner.
January 19, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rarely gives criminal defendants a second chance if they miss a deadline to file an appeal, but the justices did so Wednesday in the case of an Alabama death-row inmate, citing a "perfect storm" of missing lawyers and unopened letters. Cory Maples, who was convicted of killing two people in Alabama, was "abandoned" by his lawyers and lost his right to appeal because of "extraordinary circumstances quite beyond his control," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the 7-2 majority in Maples v. Thomas . Alabama is one of the few states that do not pay for lawyers to represent death-row inmates in their appeals, Ginsburg noted.
January 13, 2012 |
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said Friday that it would not conduct a new sentencing hearing for a Death Row prisoner whose sentence was reversed by a federal appeals court. The decision, announced at a brief hearing before Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner, means Saharris Rollins, 50 - found guilty and sentenced to death in 1987 in a drug-related shooting - will spend life in prison without chance of parole. Rollins' case is one of a series of Death Row appeals that have resulted in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit's vacating a sentence and ordering the District Attorney's Office to hold a new death penalty hearing or accept a life sentence.