Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Process lacks assurance of a painless death, legislators say in letter

Local News


2 death-row inmates in N.C. seek clemency

Process lacks assurance of a painless death, legislators say in letter

Associated Press

Two condemned prisoners scheduled to die in the next 10 days want their executions stopped because they say the method of execution used in the state doesn't assure their deaths will be painless.

"This is a movement that is starting to take hold across the country," defense attorney Robert Zaytoun said Tuesday after a private clemency meeting with Gov. Mike Easley, who has been asked to spare both prisoners' lives.

The meeting for James Edward Thomas came on the same day that 30 Democratic members of the General Assembly sent Easley a letter asking him to suspend executions in the state.

The state can't be certain that its method of lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, the letter said. Their letter cited Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's recent decision to issue a moratorium there after a botched execution and indicated that eight other states had halted executions to review the lethal injection process.

In 2003, the N.C. Senate became the first legislative body in the South to pass a moratorium bill, but House supporters were never able to move the proposal forward.

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 inmate scheduled to die at 2 a.m. 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 die for the 1991 murder and robbery of a Fayetteville teenager.

Thomas, 51, is scheduled to be executed Feb. 2 for the 1986 slaying of Teresa West in Raleigh.

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