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article imageApplication of the death penalty is a Southern tradition

By Carol Forsloff     Mar 29, 2010 in Crime
There are 22 individuals scheduled to be executed from now through the month of October, with Texas the leader in the death penalty.
Texas has 11 people scheduled to die as part of its capital punishment system. The state continues to lead the nation in both its sentencing and application of the death penalty. The next highest ranking belongs to Ohio.
Franklin DeWayne Alix, age 34, and a black male, is scheduled to be executed tomorrow. He received the death sentence on November 12, 1998 when he was 23 years old. Alix is a 10th grade graduate and was born and raised in the State of Texas. His prior occupation is unknown, and he had no prior convictions at the time of his conviction.
According to Texas records, Alix murdered a black male on January 2, 1998. He had first kidnapped and raped the sister of the victim. Then he forced the victim to return to her apartment complex in Houston, where he loaded up his car with two televisions, a VCR and some stereo equipment. The victim of the shooting returned home and was chased down by Alix who subsequently shot him in the back.
Just yesterday Kathleen Garcia, who is a victims advocate and grief expert, and member of New Jersey's Death Penalty Study Commission on Capital Punishment, underlined her opposition to the imposition of the death penalty. She believes it is actually harmful to victims. She explains her position like this: "Make no mistake – I am a conservative, a victims’ advocate and a death penalty supporter. But my real life experience has taught me that as long as the death penalty is on the books in any form, it will continue to harm survivors". Garcia continues, by asserting that the death penalty is costly and harmful as victims families face years of trials and re-victimization. Furthermore victims families don't receive ongoing services, such as peer support and counseling to help them get through those years.
Garcia goes on to say the death penalty must be ended and replaced with life without parole. She suffered through the murder of a family member in 1984, but has found the death penalty to be much more harmful than helpful.
Just a few days ago a recently-elected Judge, Kevin Fine, said, according to the Houston Chronicle:
“Based on the moratorium (on the death penalty) in Illinois, the Innocence Project and more than 200 people being exonerated nationwide, it can only be concluded that innocent people have been executed. It’s safe to assume we execute innocent people.”
It is expected the judge's ruling will be appealed.
From 1976 to 2008 Texas has led the country in executions having 36.9% of the total with 66% of those on death row non-white. 80% of all executions have been performed in the former slave-holding states, plus Oklahoma, reflecting the Southern tradition of executions.
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