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July 26, 2008

Three more uneventful(?) lethal injections, including one with a political spin

As detailed in this DPIC list, Mississippi and Texas and Virginia all completed executions over the last few days, and I have not seen any reported problems with the lethal injection protocols used in these executions.  Perhaps all the Baze litigation has helped motivate state official to make extra sure that the lethal injection process is conducted in as carefully as possible.  I cannot recall reports of any serious problems with any of the 15 executions that have now taken place over the last three months since the Baze de facto moratorium was lifted after the Supreme Court's ruling.

Though technologically uneventful, this local report from Mississippi highlights that its execution had an interesting political spin as a result of the condemn's last words:

Before he died Wednesday evening, death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop apologized to his victim's family, thanked America and urged people to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. "For those who oppose the death penalty and want to see it end, our best bet is to vote for Barack Obama because his supporters have been working behind the scenes to end this practice," Bishop said....

A Lee County jury convicted Bishop in 2000 of participating in the murder of Marcus Gentry, who was beaten to death in December 1998 with a claw hammer. His body was found along a logging road near Saltillo.  Bishop did not deliver the fatal blows. He became only the eighth person put to death who did not directly kill his victim among the more than 1,100 executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 -- not including contract killings.

Bishop's final words were: "God bless America.  It has been great living here.  That's all."  Bishop called Gentry's beating death on Dec. 10, 1998, a "senseless and needless act."  Earlier in the day, Bishop described the fatal beating as "a fight that had gone too far," state Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said....

Bishop, who was mentally ill, asked a judge for the death penalty after he was convicted.... The other man convicted of Gentry's murder, Jessie Johnson, who was tried separately, is serving a life sentence. Protesters have used the disparity in the two sentences to illustrate the injustice they say is inherent in the death penalty.  Under Mississippi law, an accessory before the fact can be convicted of the same crime someone else commits.

I doubt the Obama campaign will be eager to embrace the endorsement of a mentally ill, now-executed defendant.  Nevertheless, the fact that Bishop coupled his political advocacy with a set of patriotic last words ("God bless America.  It has been great living here.") provides yet another example of intriguing realities that attend the final moments before a state imposes the ultimate punishment.

July 26, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink


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I know a lot of you will be attended "execution parties" or "killing soirées." Please drink responsibly, and use a designated driver.

Posted by: S.cute.us | Jul 26, 2008 1:01:19 PM

You're welcome to attend, if you wish.

Posted by: realist | Jul 26, 2008 4:04:39 PM

No thanks. I work.

I don't spend my time partying every time some state kill someone to please the masses.

Posted by: S.cute.us | Jul 26, 2008 5:21:18 PM

Come on, be a good sport. Bitterness does not become you.

Posted by: realist | Jul 26, 2008 7:02:59 PM

I am a good sport. I trust you will be having a drunken party tomorrow, because Iran is executing 30 people! Despite the fact that most Texans are criminals, Texas can't even come close to Iran's great record for killing people.


If we more like Iran it would be a 24-hour party.

Posted by: S.cute.us | Jul 26, 2008 7:11:23 PM

Bishop's naivete is likely one of the characteristics that landed him on death row in the first place.

Posted by: DK | Jul 26, 2008 8:19:10 PM

It turns out that Iran is a bunch of liberals and judicial activists that are soft on crime. The judicial activists were going to kill 30 people. Now it is just 29. This is an example of blatant judicial activism that clearly disobeys the constitution and the word of god.


Posted by: S.cute.us | Jul 27, 2008 10:03:19 AM

I think lethal injection is wrong. No one has a right to take anyone else's life, not even the Government.

Posted by: Vein Repair Utah | Aug 1, 2008 2:29:39 PM

Great Post. Thats funny that a death row prisoner supports Obama

Posted by: Alfred (Granite Guy) Morrisson | Sep 5, 2008 9:12:15 PM

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