Sunday, 25 February 2007

NORTH CAROLINA----inmate seeks do drop appeals and be executed

North Carolina - inmate seeks to drop appeals and be executed

Inmate: Don't delay execution----A state policy dispute has halted 4 other lethal injections. Allen Holman wants his shot

Allen Holman wants to be executed. But with North Carolina's death penalty on hold, the state may not be able to fulfill his death wish.

Prison officials set Holman's execution for March 9. Four other death row inmates have seen their executions indefinitely delayed by filing lawsuits about a doctor's role in the death chamber.

A recent policy issued by the medical board forbids doctors from participating, but the state has been ordered to have a doctor there to monitor the proceedings.

Holman, 47, of Morrisville, has yet to file a lawsuit seeking a halt. He fired his lawyers. He dropped his appeals. He once wrote a judge demanding that he be executed. "I'm requesting the state of North Carolina's justice system to do their jobs of seeing my sentence carried out to the fullest!!" Holman wrote in 2002.

Holman isn't the only one who wants to see his execution go forward. His stepdaughter is ready to witness the injection of lethal drugs into the man who killed her mother.

"I'm really hoping and praying that this will happen," said Deborah Hartless, 39, of Baltimore. In July 1997, Holman shot Linda Holman to death in the parking lot of an Apex convenience store.

Hartless said she was surprised that Holman took his stepchildren into consideration when he decided to drop his appeals.

Last year in federal court, Holman testified, "I would like closure for me and all my ... everybody connected to my case," Holman said. "I would like to drop my appeals and the state to carry out the sentence."

Hartless said, "He wants to give some kind of peace to the families, which blows my mind."

It's not clear on what grounds Holman's execution may be delayed without his approval, but legal experts say the state likely will not be able to carry out the sentence.

"I don't think it's a question of whether the person who wants to be executed opposes it or not," said Duke University law professor Jim Coleman, a death penalty opponent. "The question is whether the execution is constitutional."

On Wednesday, Wake Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens halted his fourth execution after the inmate sued prison officials saying they cannot ensure the inmate will not experience cruel and unusual punishment without a doctor's participation.

Last month, the N.C. Medical Board passed an ethics policy forbidding doctors from participating in an execution in any way beyond being present.

That ethics edict conflicts with a federal judge's order last year that required a doctor to monitor an inmate's consciousness so the execution would pass constitutional muster.

State caught in web

And so, prison officials have been negotiating with the medical board to see whether a solution can be found. Eventually, the dispute will come back before Stephens to determine whether the final proposed execution procedure is constitutional.

"If our method of doing executions is unconstitutional, they're not going to carry it out," said Rich Rosen, a UNC law professor who opposes the death penalty.

Holman's former lawyers, Alexander Charns and Mary Pollard, are not commenting. It's unknown what they might do. But in similar situations in the past, the inmate's family members have filed lawsuits seeking to halt the execution and try to force the inmate to proceed with the appeals.
Holman has said his relatives support his decision.

Wake Assistant District Attorney Susan Spurlin said that in the months before her death, Linda Holman lived in fear of her husband. She nailed down the windows of her home so he couldn't break in. She installed an alarm system. She petitioned neighbors to change the name of the street where they lived so it would be easier for police to find.

A desperate 911 call

On July 28, 1997, a desperate Linda Holman called 911 as she sped away from her husband, going 90 mph along N.C. 55 toward Apex. During the 911 call, she pleaded for help saying her husband was ramming her car. "My husband's trying to kill me ... He's chasing me," Linda Holman told the dispatcher. "Oh please, God! Oh please, I don't want to die now."

Linda Holman turned into the parking lot of a convenience store at the intersection with Olive Chapel Road. An Apex police officer pursued Allen Holman, who circled back around to the mini-mart and shot his wife. He then went to the couple's home, held off police with gunfire, then shot himself in the stomach.

At his trial, Holman said he would rather be executed than spend the rest of his life in prison. Holman told the judge that he wanted to tell jurors that he was not sorry that he killed his wife.

When the judge asked if he had any concern that the jury may sentence him to death, Holman said, "I'm going to die as a piece of state property either way. There's only a little bit of difference as to the time of death."

(source: News & Observer)

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