|Roman Colosseum lit to protest an execution|
Governor Robert Benchley denied a request for clemency despite a letter from the sentencing judge who claimed that this was his first death penalty case and that his own lack of experience led him to impose the wrong sentence. The judge also noted the lack of experience of Mason's trial lawyers, a brother and sister team who each had been practicing less than five years and had no previous trial experience. They failed to present evidence that Mason was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime and failed to inform the jury about Mason's struggles with drug addiction, mental health problems, and that he was the victim of physical and sexual abuse.
This is the 36th execution in the United States in 2011, the fifth in Alabama. Derrick Mason is the fourteenth African American executed this year.