10 Facts About Capital Punishment and Murder

  • February 16, 2010
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Lots of People Get Executed in Texas

Fifty-eight countries maintain the use of the death penalty under law and practice. However, the death penalty may be applicable in certain areas of the world during war. In the United States, the state of Texas has executed 449 people since 1976. Virginia has executed 105 criminals, Oklahoma 92, and Florida has performed 68 executions since 1976. Currently 3,300 people are on death row in the U.S., including 678 people in California, 402 in Florida, and 355 inmates in Texas. Surprisingly, only 13 people have ever been executed in California, although they far exceed any state in death row inmates. There were 51 executions in the U.S. in 2009, with fifty coming by way of lethal injection and one criminal was put to death in the electric chair. Texas executed 24 people in 2009 followed by Alabama with 6 executions. In 2007, New Jersey became the first state to repeal the death penalty in the modern system of capital punishment and New Mexico followed in 2009. Approximately 2,390 people were executed in 25 nations during 2008. Five countries in the world execute offenders under the age 18 at the time of the crime committed.

lots of people get executed


Execution by Elephant

Execution by elephant was a common method of capital punishment for thousands of years in South and Southeast Asia, especially India. Asian Elephants were used to crush, dismember, and torture prisoners in public executions. The elephants were versatile and well trained. They could kill victims immediately or slowly. It was important for ancient rulers to display absolute power over these wild animals. The use of elephants to execute people has been recorded in numerous contemporary journals. These accounts usually end with the elephants ripping off all of the condemned victim’s limbs. It often horrified European travelers. The practice was eventually stopped by the European empires that colonized the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. There is also evidence that Rome and Carthage used elephants for execution purposes. The intelligence of these animals made them the ideal executioners.

execution by elephant


Males Are Far More Likely to Kill

In the Western world, nearly 90% of all murders are committed by males. Males are also the victim of approximately 75% of all homicides. The highest percentages of people convicted of homicide are between the ages of 17-30. In America, murder is the leading cause of death for African American males aged 15 – 34. The fraction of murders solved in the United States has decreased from 90% in 1960 to 61% in 2007. In Boston only 36% of the homicides were solved in 2007. Some major factors affecting the arrest rate are witness cooperation and the number of police assigned to investigate individual cases.

Every area of the world has different rules and regulations regarding murder. In Canada, Italy, Sweden, Australia, and the UK, post-partum depression can be used as a defense against the murder of a child by a mother, provided that a child is less than two years old. In some law jurisdictions, a defendant accused of murder is not guilty if the victim survives for longer than one year and one day after the attack. It is known as the year and a day rule, but many countries have banned the law. Incidents of children and adolescents committing murders are rare. However it did occur in the cases of Mary Bell, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, Laurie Tackett, Joshua Phillips, and numerous school shootings.

males kill


Eddie Slovik

Eddie Slovik was a private in the United States Army during World War II. He remains the only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the American Civil War. Slovik was born to a Polish-American family in Detroit, Michigan. He was drafted into the U.S. military in 1944 and reported to Camp Wolters in Texas for basic military training on January 24, 1944. In August, he was dispatched to join the fighting in France. Slovik was one of 12 reinforcements assigned to Company G of the 109th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 28th Infantry Division. However, he became separated from his replacement detachment after an artillery attack. Slovik luckily found a Canadian military police unit and remained with them for six weeks before reporting for duty on October 7, 1944. The following day Slovik informed his company commander that he was "too scared" to serve in a rifle company and asked to be reassigned to a rear area unit. Slovik threatened that he would run away if not reassigned to a rifle unit. His request was denied, so on October 9 Eddie Slovik deserted from his infantry unit.

He walked several miles to a headquarters detachment and gave a note to a cook stating his intention to "run away" if sent into combat. Slovik was taken into custody and confined to the division stockade. During this time in history the 28th Division was scheduled to attack the Hurtgen Forest. It was common knowledge among American troops that the casualty rates were expected to be very high. Slovik was tried by a court on November 11, 1944. The nine officers of the court found Slovik guilty of desertion and sentenced him to death. On December 9, he wrote a letter to the Supreme Allied commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, pleading for clemency. However, desertion had become a systemic problem in France and Eisenhower confirmed the execution order on December 23, 1944. Eddie Slovik was executed by firing squad on January 31, 1945, near the village of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. He was 24-years-old. Over 21,000 American soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II, including 49 death sentences, but Slovik's was the only execution carried out.

eddie slovik


Bush Commutes Henry Lee Lucas

Since the death penalty was re-installed in Texas only one criminal has received a commuted death row sentence. It was Henry Lee Lucas, who is one of the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. After being arrested in 1983 Lucas confessed to involvement in around 600 murders, with an average of about one murder per week between his release from prison in mid-1975 and his arrest. A Texas-based Task Force suggested that Lucas committed 350 murders. He carried out many murders with an accomplice named Ottis Toole. However, he later recanted his confessions, and stated "I am not a serial killer.” I guess Texas Governor George W. Bush believed him because in 1998 Bush commuted his death sentence.

It was the only commutation in Bush's entire history as Governor of Texas. Over the years it has been recognized that the Texas State Task Force engaged in some very questionable tactics during their investigation. The state charged Henry Lee Lucas with many unsolved murders from all over the U.S. Claims have been made that he was used as a scapegoat for some strange murders. George W. Bush never released a statement indicating what specific factors contributed to his decision to commute Henry Lee Lucas sentence. In 2001, Lucas died quietly in his prison cell of natural causes.

lee lucas

Written by Bryan Johnson – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com Image Sources

Image sources:

  • The Maximum Prison Sentence in Nepal is 20 Years: http://www.psico.uniovi.es/edu/ag10-2000/Garavito.jpg
  • Crime and Homicide Rates: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmeyer5.jpg
  • Dangerous Areas of the World: http://images.chron.com/blogs/txpotomac/r146312_514211.jpg
  • Methods of Execution: http://thebsreport.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/firingsquad500.jpg
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg: http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/julius_and_ethel_rosenberg3.jpg
  • Lots of People Get Executed in Texas : http://www.allamericanpatriots.com/files/images/electric-chair.jpg
  • Execution by Elephant: http://deco-00.slide.com/r/1/176/dl/_k9obILg4D8rmKaFi8wZnbn9FTTaMbJ7/watermark
  • Males Are Far More Likely to Kill : http://www.editinternational.com/images/gallery/06-columbine-killers_low.jpg
  • Eddie Slovik: http://www.pngmilitarymuseum.org/history/bio_pages/images/EddieSlovik.jpg
  • Bush Commutes Henry Lee Lucas : http://tejiendoelmundo.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/henry_lee_lucas.jpg