Death Row Prisoner Who Had Execution Halted Three Times Has Been Executed
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Featured Image Credit: Credit: Missouri Department of Corrections/Wiki Commons
A Missouri death row inmate whose execution was overturned three times has been killed by lethal injection.
Carman Deck, 56, was sentenced to death in 1998 for the double-murder of James and Zelma Long, whom he shot in the back of the head and robbed at their home in the eastern town of De Soto.
Local police said he confessed to the killings, but his defence then argued it was a false confession.
On appeal, his first conviction was overturned as a result of a procedural error. He was then sentenced to death again, but it was overturned by the US Supreme Court, which ruled that him being kept in shackles in court may have influenced the jury.
In 2008, a third jury also landed on the death sentence, but this was vacated by a federal judge, who argued there wasn't enough evidence to warrant such a punishment.
This was overturned in 2020 by a federal appeals court, and further appeals to reverse it again were denied by the Supreme Court. Republican Governor Mike Parson also declined his request for clemency.
Deck was executed by lethal injection in Bonne Terre state prison yesterday, 3 May. He was pronounced dead at 6:10pm CT.
Anne Precythe, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, said following his death (as per CNN): "Tonight, justice was served."
Missouri plans to execute Carman Deck tomorrow. As with almost every person condemned to death, Carman's life story involves a series of societal failures and personal traumas that culminated in a horrible crime. This execution will only further perpetuate the cycle of violence. pic.twitter.com/SAfEL9rws1— Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean) May 3, 2022
However, Deck's attorney Elizabeth Carlyle described his eventual execution as 'unjust and immoral', saying he'd 'endured a pattern of abuse, neglect and abandonment, which was mitigating evidence the Missouri Supreme Court called substantial'.
Carlyle cited family members who 'transformed him from a nonviolent thief into the person who committed two terrible murders', and how the third jury didn't hear any testimony from those who could illustrate his 'horrific childhood'.
Outside @GovParsonMO’s office this afternoon, a handful of advocates want Parson to grant Carman Deck clemency. The governor says the state will move forward with the execution of Deck later today for the murders of a De Soto couple Zelma and James Long back in 1996. #moleg pic.twitter.com/PFo8B75WcC— Emily Manley (@EmilyManleyTV) May 3, 2022
She continued: "Due to the passage of time caused by the State of Missouri, the jury did not hear from a single live witness who knew Carman before the crime.
"This botched process simply provides insufficient guardrails to support taking Carman's life. Life imprisonment without parole would have been a just and adequate punishment for him."
In his final written statement, Deck said: "My hope is that one day the world will find peace and that we all will learn to be kind and loving to one another.
"We all are a part of this journey through life, connected in every way. Please give love, show love, BE LOVE!"
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