US death row author William Van Poyck executed #deathpenalty


Petition to get Bill off Death Row

AP | Jun 13, 2013, 07.07 AM IST

STARKE, FLORIDA: A US man who orchestrated a deadly prison van ambush in 1987 in an attempt to free a prisoner has been executed.

William Van Poyck died on Wednesday evening by injection at the Florida State Prison.

“Set me free,” were his final words.

His case drew international attention because Van Poyck published three books and maintained a blog while on death row. He wrote recently about his pending execution.

The 58-year-old had been convicted of murdering prison guard Fred Griffis.

Van Poyck and Frank Valdes ambushed a prison van outside a doctor’s office in a failed attempt to free James O’Brien. Prison guard Fred Griffis was fatally shot after he threw the van’s keys into the bushes to foil the escape.

Van Poyck and Valdes were captured following a car chase.

In his appeals, Van Poyck argued that Valdes fired the fatal shots. The Florida Supreme Court last week rejected Van Poyck’s latest appeal involving Valdes’ widow, who says her husband told her he was the shooter.

In 1999, Valdes was stomped to death in prison. Seven guards were charged with his death, but none were convicted.

Van Poyck wrote an autobiography, “A Checkered Past: A Memoir,” saying his purpose was not to elicit sympathy but “to put a human face on me and convicts in general.”

“He is deeply remorseful for the ending of Fred Griffis’ life,” his sister Lisa Van Poyck told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The family of Griffis has said in interviews that they were frustrated that news stories focused on Van Poyck, the crime and his writings — and not the victim.

HIS LAST  LETTER 
Dear Sis~
Tomorrow Elmer will be executed and I’ll be next up to bat, with 15 days to live.   A situation like this tends to make you reflect on the elusive nature of time itself, which some folks – physicists and metaphysicists alike – claim is an illusion anyway. Real or not it sure seems to be going someplace quickly!

This may be my last letter to reach you before you begin your journey down south to be by my side for my final days. These many visits I’ve recently received from those who love me have been a blessing for me.  I’m acutely aware that some guys on death watch have absolutely nobody to help them bear their burden during their last days and hours on earth, not a soul willing to share some love.  It’s a terrible thing to die all alone…  I continue to be inundated with letters of support and love from around the world, many from kind-hearted strangers, and many similar blog posts which you’ve shared with me.  Many are very moving, and all are deeply appreciated. I am humbled.  While I’ve answered many I simply cannot respond to them all in my allotted time remaining.  As my shortening days inexorably telescope down my focus turns ever inward as I wrestle with the timeless questions of the universe that have puzzled man since the dawn of consciousness here on Schoolhouse Earth.

I read in a recent newspaper article that the brother and sister of Fred Griffis, the victim in my case, are angry that I’m still alive and eager for my execution.  These are understandable human feelings.  I have a brother and sister myself and I cannot honestly say how I would deal with it if something happened to you or Jeff at the hands of another.  I have thought of Fred many times over the years and grieved over his senseless death.  I feel bad for Fred’s siblings though if seeing another human being die will truly give them pleasure.  I suspect when I’m gone, if they search their hearts, they will grasp the emptiness of the closure promised by the revenge of capital punishment.  There’s a lot of wisdom in the old saying “An eye for an eye soon makes the whole world blind.”

All is well with me here in the death house.  I’ve been blessed with a strong body and a stout mind and spirit, more than sufficient to see me through this final passage.  The deep love of others, freely given to me by those I’m honored to call my friends, helps ease the journey.  The one thing I am absolutely certain of after 58 years on this rock is that LOVE is the foundation of the cosmos, the very essence of what we call God.  This is the one lesson we all must learn, and will learn in due time, and which gives me my peace.

Light & Love,
Bill

 

America’s Death Penalty Is Barbaric


 

By Mary Hamer

04 February, 2013
Countercurrents.org

*PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the Barbaric nature of America’s Death Penalty. I will give examples of several Death Row prisoner’s Executions to illustrate the Savage & Sadistic nature of Capital Punishment.

* MISSION STATEMENT: This essay is an attempt to get close to the Truth about the United States ‘ Death Penalty. I will give examples of American Executions including a case of a botched Florida Lethal injection & a botched Florida Electrocution. This paper is Not about Condemning President Obama’s, Congress’s & American citizens’ policy on Capital Punishment, but rather this essay Is about exposing the Truth about the Revengeful, expensive & irrational Death Penalty.

*KEY SECTIONS: The Key Sections of this paper are: I. Lethal Injection. II. Electrocution. III. Asphyxiation. IV. Hanging. V. Firing Squad.

I. FLORIDA ‘S BOTCHED LETHAL INJECTION of ANGEL DIAZ. 2006.

Execution : “Lethal injection executions generally end within 15 minutes, with the inmate unconscious after the first 3-5 minutes; Diaz’s took 34 (min.), and he was conscious for at least the first 25. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections initially claimed that Diaz felt no pain during the execution, but a coroner’s investigation (contradicted) that claim.” What Went Wrong: “Lethal injection ordinarily begins with the intravenous injection of pentothol, which purportedly brings about a coma and makes the effects of later drugs painless. The trouble is that the needle went through Diaz’ vein and into soft tissue deep in his arm, making the injection itself excruciating and possibly preventing the pentothol from taking effect. Tortured to Death: “Eyewitness reports indicate that Diaz was still moving and attempting to speak (or, perhaps, scream) more than twenty minutes into the execution, suggesting that he was still conscious and in pain. … His death was almost certainly slow and excruciatingly painful–and with his body frozen by the pavulon, he would have had no way of expressing that pain.” (1)

II. FLORIDA ‘S BOTCHED ELECTROCUTION of ALLEN LEE DAVIS. 1999. “Before he was pronounced dead … the Blood from his mouth had poured onto the collar of his white shirt, and the blood on his chest had spread to about the size of a dinner plate, even oozing through the buckle holes on the leather chest strap holding him to the chair.” A. His execution was the first in Florida’s new electric chair, built especially so it could accommodate a man Davis’s size (approximately 350 pounds). Later, when another Florida death row inmate challenged the constitutionality of the electric chair, Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw commented that “the color photos of Davis depict a man who — for all appearances — was brutally tortured to death by the citizens of Florida.” B. Justice Shaw also described the botched executions of Jesse Tafero and Pedro Medina (q.v.), calling the three executions “Barbaric spectacles” and “acts more befitting a Violent murderer than a Civilized state.” C. Justice Shaw included pictures of Davis’s dead body in his opinion. D. The execution was witnessed by a Florida State Senator, Ginny Brown-Waite, who at first was “shocked” to see the blood, until she realized that the blood was forming the shape of a cross and that it was a message from God saying he supported the execution.E. (2) To Florida State Senator Brown-Waite: Why didn’t the blood-shaped cross on Mr. Davis’ shirt signify God’s Condemnation of Florida’s Death Penalty?

* ALABAMA ‘S ELECTROCUTION of JOHN EVANS: 1983.

“ In 1983, the electrocution of John Evans in Alabama was described by an eyewitness as follows:” “At 8:30 p.m. the first jolt of 1900 volts of electricity passed through Mr. Evans’ body. It lasted thirty seconds. Sparks and flames erupted … from the electrode tied to Mr. Evans’ left leg. His body slammed against the straps holding him in the electric chair and his fist clenched permanently. The electrode apparently burst from the strap holding it in place. A large puff of grayish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered Mr. Evans’ face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing began pervading the witness room. Two doctors examined Mr. Evans and declared that he was not dead.” “The electrode on the left leg was re-fastened. …Mr. Evans was administered a second … jolt of electricity. The stench of burning flesh was nauseating. More smoke emanated from his leg and head. Again, the doctors examined Mr. Evans. [They] reported that his heart was still beating, and that he was still alive. At that time, I asked the prison commissioner, who was communicating on an open telephone line to Governor George Wallace, to grant clemency on the grounds that Mr. Evans was being subjected to Cruel and unusual punishment. The request …was denied.” “At 8:40 p.m., a third charge of electricity … was passed through Mr. Evans’ body. At 8:44, the doctors pronounced him dead. The execution of John Evans took fourteen minutes.” Afterwards, officials were embarrassed by what one observer called the “Barbaric ritual.” The prison spokesman remarked, “This was supposed to be a very clean manner of administering death.” (3)

III. GAS CHAMBER, ASPHYXIATION: The introduction of the gas chamber was an attempt to improve on electrocution. In this method of execution the prisoner is strapped into a chair with a container of sulfuric acid underneath. The chamber is sealed, and cyanide is dropped into the acid to form a lethal gas. Execution by suffocation in the lethal gas chamber has not been abolished but lethal injection serves as the primary method in states which still authorize it. In 1996 a panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California (where the gas chamber has been used since 1933) ruled that this method is a “cruel and unusual punishment.” (4)

* ARIZONA ASPHYXIATION: Donald Eugene Harding. 1992. Death was not pronounced until 10 & ½ minutes after the cyanide tablets were dropped A. During the execution, Haring thrashed & struggled violently against the restraining straps. A TV journalist who witnessed the execution … said that Harding’s spasms & jerks lasted 6 min. & 37 sec.. “Obviously, this man was suffering. This was a violent death … an ugly event.” B. Another witness, (a) newspaper reporter … said “Harding’s death was extremely violent. He was in great pain. I heard him gasp & moan. I saw his body turn from red to purple.” C. One reporter who witnessed the execution suffered from insomnia & assorted illnesses for several weeks, two others were ‘Walking vegetables’ for several days.” D. (5)

*MISSISSIPPI ASPHYXIATION. Jimmy Lee Gray. 1983. “Officials had to clear the room eight minutes after the gas was released when Gray’s desperate gasps for air repulsed witnesses. His attorney, Dennis Balske of Montgomery, Alabama, criticized state officials for clearing the room when the inmate was still alive. Said noted death penalty defense attorney David Bruck, ‘Jimmy Lee Gray died banging his head against a steel pole in the gas chamber while the reporters counted his moans (eleven, according to the Associated Press).’ A. Later it was revealed that the executioner, Barry Bruce, was drunk.” B. (6)

IV. HANGING: “ The (historical) mode of execution, hanging , is an option still available in Delaware , New Hampshire and Washington . Death on the gallows is easily bungled: If the drop is too short, there will be a slow and agonizing death by strangulation. If the drop is too long, the head will be torn off.” (7)

V. FIRING SQUAD: “ Two states, Idaho and Utah, still authorize the firing squad . The prisoner is strapped into a chair and hooded. A target is pinned to the chest. Five marksmen, one with blanks, take aim and fire.” (8)

*CONCLUSION: America ‘s Death Penalty is Barbaric. President Obama, Congress & the American citizens are Responsible for these Savage Executions of human beings. Americans Sadistically support & witness these Cruel acts of Lethal injections, Electrocutions, Asphyxiations, etc.. Homo Sapiens are a Violent & Evil species. I, Mary Hamer withdraw my name from the Human race; I do not condone such brutal acts of Murder conducted in the name of the US Criminal justice system & American Freedom & Democracy.

Thank you. Respectfully, Mary Hamer MD. Florida , a Death Penalty state.

REFERENCES:

1. The Execution of Angel Nieves Diaz . By Tom Head. civilliberty.about.com › … › Crimes & Punishments › Capital Punishment .

2. Some Examples of Post-Furman Botched Executions | Death … www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/some-examples-post-furman- botched – exe … Referencing: A. Davis Execution Gruesome , GAINESVILLE SUN, July 8, 1999 , at 1A. B. Provenzano v. State, 744 So.2d 413, 440 (Fla. 1999). C. Id. D. Id., at 442-44. E. Mary Jo Melone, A Switch is Thrown, and God Speaks , ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, July 13, 1999, p. 1B.

3. The Case Against the Death Penalty – American Civil Liberties Union www.aclu.org › Capital Punishment .

4. The Case Against the Death Penalty – American Civil Liberties Union www.aclu.org › Capital Punishment .

5. Some Examples of Post-Furman Botched Executions | Death … www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/some-examples-post-furman- botched – exe … A.Gruesome Death in Gas Chamber Pushes Arizona Toward Injections , N.Y. TIMES, Apr. 25, 1992, at 9. B. Charles L. Howe, Arizona Killer Dies in Gas Chamber , S.F. CHRON., Apr. 7, 1992, at A2. C. Id. D. Abraham Kwok, Injection: The No-Fuss Executioner , ARIZONA REPUBLIC, Feb. 28, 1993.

6. Some Examples of Post-Furman Botched Executions | Death … www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/some-examples-post-furman- botched – exe…Referencing : A. David Bruck, Decisions of Death , THE NEW REPUBLIC, Dec. 12, 1984 , at 24-25. B . Ivan Solotaroff, The Last Face You’ll Ever See , 124 ESQUIRE 90, 95 (Aug. 1995).

7. The Case Against the Death Penalty – American Civil Liberties Union www.aclu.org › Capital Punishment .

8. [ The Case Against the Death Penalty – American Civil Liberties Union www.aclu.org › Capital Punishment .]

 

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