Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Broom Bristles at New Execution Ruling

Convicted killer Romell Broom (who shares a name with the cleaning tool used by the Nazis to brush sand off their tanks during the desert campaigns of World War II) received bad news today when the state of Ohio decreed that Broom was once again eligible for execution following a botched attempt in 2009. During that failed episode, prison officials tried for two hours to find a suitable vein to inject the lethal drugs into, but their efforts were...well, in vain.

Rumor had it that Broom ingested an entire box of antihistamines the day before to dehydrate himself and shrink his veins, but one of his attorneys---the unfortunately named Adele Shank---disputed that charge (Several of Shank's clients received harsh punishments for smuggling a shank into prison before the warden realized that these were just standard attorney-client meetings).

Broom is now eligible for a second execution attempt, despite the fact that he was stuck with needles at least 18 times during the last try, causing him to cry and scream. One of the state's prosecutors swore that the execution team wasn't trying to hurt Broom---they were merely trying to kill him.       

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Hole Truth About Ernest Lee Johnson

Death row inmate Ernest Lee Johnson, scheduled for execution in the state of Missouri next week, has made an interesting last-minute appeal to save his life. Johnson claims that a small hole in his skull--the result of an operation to remove a tumor back in 2008--should disqualify him from his death sentence because of complications that might arise during the lethal injection procedure.

I find Johnson's argument specious at best, and here's why. First of all, readers of Last Suppers: Famous Final Meals from Death Row already know that anyone with the middle name Lee shouldn't be trusted to begin with. Second, if a hole in the head prevented people from meeting their obligations, then many politicians and a fair amount of reality TV show producers would be claiming the same privileges on a daily basis.

Incidentally, Johnson received his death sentence for a gruesome triple homicide during which the victims were beaten with a hammer, stabbed with a screwdriver, and shot.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tsarnaev Sorry or Just Surly?

Victims and their relatives finally got to hear Dzhokhar Tsarnaev speak today as he was formally sentenced to death for his part in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Now the youngest man on death row in America, Tsarnaev appeared in court looking like a young Bob Dylan, or a young mad scientist, or perhaps some bizarre man-goat with brown flames sprouting from his head.

"If there is any lingering doubt, I did it, along with my brother," Tsarnaev said during his short speech. "I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done. Irreparable damage."

Many of the people in the courthouse doubted Tsarnaev's sincerity. Some went so far as to say they didn't believe a word he said. Perhaps part of that skepticism came from Tsarnaev's remarks about how he would spend his final years on death row.

"Hopefully I'll be listening to plenty of Justin Bieber music, because that man is the most talented musician to ever grace this earth," Tsarnaev said. "And if I'm lucky enough to have a TV in my cell, I plan to watch marathons of Dance Moms and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. These fine examples of the dramatic arts stimulate my intellect and help me analyze the world in new and exciting ways."

When asked about his choice of a last meal before his execution, Tsarnaev thought for a moment then replied, "Probably just a large plate of Brussels sprouts, and perhaps some canned beets. You know, something delicious and purely decadent. With a glass of New Coke to wash it all down, because man, that was so much better than the old stuff."

Before leaving the courtroom, Tsarnaev glanced at his audience and added, "Seriously, I mean it. I'm being completely honest here." Eyewitnesses think Tsarnaev might have muttered "Not!" under his breath as he walked away, although they admit that the word was unclear and could have been "Bot" or "Cot" or "Nut."