I feel really guilty that I haven’t been keeping up with Death Penalty Information Center as much as I usually do, but life seemed to get away from me because of university studies and jobs and life.
There are currently 3,170 prisoners on death row in the United States. California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Alabama have the top five largest death row populations in the country. 32 have been executed this year, all by lethal injection, a third of which have been in Texas.
There are 13 upcoming executions in 2012:
October 18: Anthony Haynes, Texas
October 24, Bobby Hines, Texas
October 28-3: Bonald Moeller, South Dakota
October 31: Donnie Roberts, Texas
November 6: Garry Allen, Oklahoma
November 8: Mario Swain, Texas
November 8: Hubert Michael, Pennsylvania
November 14: Brett Hartmann, Ohio
November 14: Ramon Hernandez
November 15: Preston Hughes, Texas
December 4: George Ochoa, Oklahoma
December 11: Roy Ward, Indiana— stay likely
December 12: Rigoberto Avila, Texas
John Ferguson was scheduled to die tomorrow, but was granted a single stay of execution. His case is currently pending. He has a history of severe mental illness and should be in a secure psychological ward in a prison, not on death row.
As early as 1965, court records indicated that Ferguson was having “visual hallucinations.” One doctor said Ferguson “did not know right from wrong nor the nature and consequences of his acts.” A psychological diagnosis in 1975 warned that Ferguson “has a long-standing, severe illness which will most likely require long-term inpatient hospitalization” and that he was “dangerous and cannot be released under any circumstances.” Ferguson was released the following year and committed a series of murders. Now, 35 years later, he is scheduled to be executed on October 18
Anthony Haynes, who is scheduled to die tomorrow, was 19 when he killed an off-duty police officer in Houston. He had no priors and his lawyers failed to introduce mitigating evidence. He has a history of mental health problems. His father, a retired Assistant Chief Investigator for the Houston Fire Department, is asking for clemency.
The death penalty clearly against the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church, and Catholics must do all they can to help end this abhorrent practice. If you live in California, the death penalty will be on the ballot this November, and please think about voting to end it.