Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Cruel Punishment Inflicted on Brian Christopher Thomas With Near Castration or With Electrocution of Daryl Holton? Update Death Penalty 10-3-07
Talk about cruel and unusual punishment. Brian Christopher Thomas walked into Henry Hudson's Pub wearing a Texas Longhorns T-shirt. Unfortunately, he was in Oklahoma Sooner territory and soon was bombarded with "trash talk" from 53-year-old Oklahoma fan Allen Michael Beckett. According to Thomas, when he went to the bar to pay his tab, Beckett grabbed him in the crotch. Thomas was pulled to the ground. Patrons tried to break it up. When the two men were separated, Thomas "...could see both of his testicles hanging on the outside of his body," according to Thomas' attorney, Carl Hughes.
Thomas received over 60 stitches to repair the wound. Beckett's attorney, Billy Bock, admits Beckett commented about Thomas' shirt, but said it was just good-natured ribbing. Later, Bock claims that Thomas approached his client at the bar and threatened him.
"My client is a little man, and this guy (Thomas) is 30 to 40 pounds bigger than him...He's bigger, stronger, younger and probably faster, and he aggressively leaned in and touched my client and threatened to beat him up. ... My guy was defending himself and just took control of the situation," said Bock. Carl Hughes, disagrees with Bock's client's alleged defense.
Thomas' attorney disputes Beckett's version. Beckett is a 53-year-old church deacon, federal auditor and former Army combat veteran. Beckett pleaded not guilty. Beckett will be back in court Oct. 4, two days before the Sooners play the Texas their annual football game. Whether deserving or not, the punishment seems much more cruel then Daryl Holton's Execution.
Daryl Holton, 45, was electrocuted to death at 1:25 a.m. CDT Wednesday at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Holton on 11-30-97, had murdered Steven 12, Brent 10, Eric 6, and their half sister Kayla 4 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. His ex wife had allegedly restricted his visitation with the children and this was apparently a revenge type murder. Tennessee Prison officials used a wet sponge and metal plate on Holton's head to administer the voltage. Holton chose the electric chair over lethal injection. (Under Tennessee law, death row inmates can choose their method of death if their crimes were committed before 1999. He should have chose death of natural causes... old age!)
Holton was a Gulf War veteran. He confessed to 1977 murders in which he lined up the children at his uncle's auto repair garage and shot them, two at a time. Holton said he killed the children because his ex-wife hadn't let him see them for several months. He intended to also kill his ex-wife and himself but turned himself in without further killing.
Crystal Holton, mother of the children, issued a statement: "Today all the anger, hatred and a long time of nightmares can finally leave me. It will be replaced by all the sweet innocent wondrous love that only a child can give. And I am blessed that I have and will always have that love times four."
Holton was represented by David Raybin. Holton came within a day of execution a year ago before a federal appeals court issued a stay. (Gov. Phil Bredesen put in effect a 90-day death penalty moratorium at the time. )
80 attorneys petitioned the Tennessee Supreme Court to stop the electrocution, saying it was cruel and unusual punishment. But the Court disagreed.
Holton suffered from severe depression when he committed the murders. He may have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from his military service in the 1991 Gulf War. A Department of Correction spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said a decision on an autopsy will be left up to Tennessee's medical examiner.
Amy Staples, a member of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing, said the group opposes the death penalty no matter how gruesome the crime.
So regardless of the alleged offense, which was worse? Electrocution or Near Castration?
Update on Death Penalty 10-3-07: Texas highest criminal appeals court late Tuesday stayed the lethal injection of a 28-year-old Honduran man who was scheduled to be put to death Wednesday.The reprieve by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was granted a week after the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a form of lethal injection constituted cruel and unusual punishment barred under the Eighth Amendment. On Thursday, the Supreme Court stepped in to halt a planned execution in Texas at the last minute. This is a signal for all states to wait for a final ruling on lethal injection before any further executions.