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article imageReview: ‘Inside Death Row’ Special

By Alexander Baron     Jan 19, 2013 in Crime
Michigan City - Trevor McDonald is better known as a newscaster, but since his "retirement" he has been presenting documentaries, including this one in which he visits the Indiana State Prison.
We've seen these sort of programmes before, but this one provides a rare insight into some unusual characters. In spite of its title, the two part series Inside Death Row is not solely about death row inmates. Among others, Sir Trevor meets a man who committed a double murder at the age of 13, and who has been behind bars ever since, including in the Indiana State Prison since 1989. In Britain it is altogether possible indeed likely that Ronald Sanford would have been paroled by now, but they do things differently in the "land of the free", and he is serving a total sentence of 170 years.
Another of those Sir Trevor talks to is a man who has an English wife, who married him four years ago. Yes, there really are women like that; fortunately we didn't meet her. This man was convicted only of one murder, unfortunately his victim was a police officer.
Actually, although all these men have done bad or even terrible things, none of them is or seems as odious as Robert Gleason who was executed by the State of Virginia this week by the now unusual method of the electric chair.
Gleason was convicted of a 2007 murder and has been executed after an unusually short wait, a wait that is even shorter when one considers he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for this murder. He went on to murder two men in prison: a mentally ill elderly cell mate, and another prisoner he managed to strangle through a wire fence. Obviously a man who will even contemplate committing murder under such circumstances can never be allowed to associate with other prisoners, and can be incarcerated only under the tightest security including a heavy escort when allowed out of his cell.
Even so, Gleason would most likely have spent many more years on death row if he had not waived his appeals, in spite of his lawyers arguing that he was mentally impaired. Of the 1900 or so inmates currently incarcerated in this maximum security gaol, only 12 are currently facing the same fate as Robert Gleason. It remains to be seen how many of them deserve to die, but at least one of them believes he does.
For those who can receive it, Inside Death Row is currently on iplayer, otherwise watch out for it on YouTube.
More about Indiana state prison, robert gleason, trevor mcdonald, Electric chair, Murder
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