TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Community News Network

October 2, 2013

Study: Two percent of counties produce most executions

WASHINGTON — Sixty-two jurisdictions prosecuted the majority of criminals executed in the United States in recent decades, according to a new study.

An analysis released Wednesday by the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center found that while 32 states allow for capital punishment, most jurisdictions don't use it. Two percent of the counties in the country were responsible for 685 of the 1,320 executions from 1976, when the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, to 2012.

Harris County, Texas, executed 115 inmates, by far the largest total of any county. Jurisdictions in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arizona had executions numbering in the double digits.

In Northern Virginia, Prince William County had nine death-row inmates who were executed, and Fairfax County had five.

Virginia's Chesterfield (8), Virginia Beach City (8), Hampton City (5), Pittsylvania (5) and Portsmouth City (5) were also listed in the study.

Among the most high-profile executions arising from a Prince William case was that of John Allen Muhammad, who was part of a sniper team that gunned down 10 people in the Washington area in 2002. Federal authorities chose to prosecute Muhammad in Prince William in part because of Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert's record in capital cases. He has sent more than a dozen people to Virginia's death row.

Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said the study shows that criminals face vastly different odds depending on where their crimes were committed.

"There's an arbitrariness to the death penalty," he said. "Most of the counties in Virginia have never had an execution in this modern era."

Ebert said he seeks death sentences for criminals who are "the worst of the worst."

"Very few qualify for" capital punishment, Ebert said. "For some reason, Prince William seems to get people who qualify." Some prosecutors in the state favor the death penalty but have stopped enforcing it because of the expense and difficulty, he said. "We're sworn to enforce the law that exists, and it's repugnant to me to think that you're going to administer justice based on finances."

In the most recent execution in a Prince William case, Paul Warner Powell, who murdered one woman and raped and nearly killed her sister, died in Virginia's electric chair in March 2010. A 60-year-old man who was executed a year earlier had killed a young couple.

Another recent Prince William death sentence was overturned by a federal court because of the mishandling of retracted testimony. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled in May that the District Court judge went too far in halting a retrial, and prosecutors are free to pursue a new case against Justin Michael Wolfe in a drug-related killing.

Prince William is tied for 20th on the list of counties which have had inmates executed since 1976. There are seven counties smaller than Prince William, with its population of about 430,000, that saw as many or more executions in the past three dozen years.

In recent years, the use of capital punishment across Virginia has declined dramatically. The state has had fewer death sentences in the past five years than any period since the 1970s. While polls find a majority of Americans still favor capital punishment, support has been steadily declining since the mid-1990s.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

Front page
NDN Video
The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook