Tuesday, March 20, 2012

R.I.P. Larry Puckett

Roman Colosseum lit to protest an execution
Mississippi executed Larry Puckett on March 20, 2012, for the murder of Rhonda Hatten Griffis in 1995.  Puckett, who was 18 at the time, admitted to being at the victim's home to burglarize it but insisted that it was Griffis' husband, for whom he was formerly employed, who committed the murder.

In the most recent legal challenge, Puckett's lawyers argued that the execution should be blocked because prosecutors kept African Americans off the jury and Puckett's former lawyers unreasonably failed to challenge his conviction on this ground.

Over five thousand people signed an online petition in support of  Puckett, and many gathered at the state Capitol on Monday to protest Puckett's execution and the execution of William Mitchell, which is scheduled for March 22nd. 

Jim Craig of the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, criticized Mississippi's legal system, which makes it impossible to fairly apply the death penalty:  "Even though these cases have been going on for a long time, they really have not had their day in court. Neither of these two men have had their day in court. And it is time for people to stand up and say so and demand real justice according to law."

This is the tenth execution in the United States in 2012, the second in Mississippi.

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