Two death row inmates were executed Thursday in Alabama and Texas, in the southern United States, bringing the number of executions in the country to 23 this year.
In Alabama, Casey McWhorter, 49, was executed for the murder of the father of one of his friends, when he was just 18 years old.
He was sentenced to death in 1994 for the shooting death the previous year of Edward Lee Williams, who found him, his son and another teenager ransacking his home. The two other young people, aged 16 and 15, were not sentenced to death, being minors at the time of the events.
The death sentence was pronounced by ten of the jurors to two, the unanimity of the jury being not required in Alabama. This state is, with neighboring Florida (southeast), one of only two in the United States to be able to sentence people to death without a unanimous verdict.
Casey McWhorter was pronounced dead at 6:56 p.m. local time on Thursday, according to state authorities.
In Texas, David Renteria, 53, was executed for the kidnapping and murder of a five-year-old child in 2001.
At his trial, he denied being the murderer of the little girl, Alexandra Flores, kidnapped leaving a hypermarket where she was doing Christmas shopping with her parents.
He said he had been forced under threat by a gang to get rid of the child’s body, found burned the day after his kidnapping.
Before his execution, David Renteria asked the girl’s relatives for forgiveness. He was pronounced dead on Thursday at 7:11 p.m. local time, according to a press release from the Texas authorities.
These two deaths bring to 23 the number of executions that took place in the United States in 2023, all carried out by lethal injection, in five American states.
Texas is the state that executes the most, with eight executions this year, ahead of Alabama which put two condemned people to death.
Alabama has announced plans to execute a convict, Kenneth Smith, in January 2024, by nitrogen inhalation, which would be a world first. In this type of execution, death is caused by hypoxia (oxygen depletion).
According to a recent Gallup poll, 53% of Americans support the death penalty for those convicted of murder, the lowest level since 1972, when the Supreme Court blocked executions in the United States until their recovery four years later.
Capital punishment has been abolished in 23 American states, while three others, California (west), Oregon (northwest), Pennsylvania (northeast) observe a moratorium on its application.
published on November 17 at 7:31 a.m., AFP
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