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

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.

18 comments:

jon said...

Ouch! Cruel is too kind for what they did to that man in the bar!


Jon

Thomas said...

Hate to start a riot, but I think Daryl Holton was temporarily insane when he committed those crimes. He seemed like he was not only a victim of post traumatic syndrome from the war but also a victim of parental alienation. I don't know the circumstances, but I can tell you bad things happen when Dad's do not get to see their children post dissolution of marriage!

Thomas

Anonymous said...

Think I will destroy all my old Long Horn shirts!

Anonymous said...

Big 12 is serious business!

california surfer dude said...

Speaking of Big 12, after all the damage from pulling, he might have reached that land mark.

Surfer Dude

hillary P. said...

Never an excuse to execute someone's life. Only God should have the power to take life.


Hillary P.

Ms. Calabaza said...

. . . don't believe in capital punishment. I agree with Hillary P.
So, for me the Daryl Holton sentence case should have been life w/o possibility of parole.

As for wearing the Longhorn shirt, I remember a time, I was young enough and naive enough to wear a NY Yankees jacket into Harvard's Bookstore. I got a few comments. What was I thinking?

Legal Pub said...

Ms. Calabaza, Good thing they do not serve alcohol at the Harvard bookstore or you and your Yankee shirt may not have made it out of the store in one piece. LOL.

Holton is an interesting story. If he had had Mary Winkler's attorney, does any one think he may have gotten a better verdict and sentence?

colleency said...

I think Winkler got off way too easy. But I don't think her crime compares to Holton's - She claims she killed a man who abused her (who's to know) - But he lined up and shot his 3 children.

It could well be that depression over parental alienation played a big part - but killing your children to prove that you deserved to see them???

By the way, like Ms Calabaza, I don't beleive in capital pumishment, so I don't believe he deserved to die fo rhis crimes.

Legal Pub said...

Colleency, I agree, Holton's offense is awful. But he was a certied "mentally insane" at the time. He had severe depression. He was a Gulf vet with post traumatic stress disorder. His ex wife refused to let him see the kids. He flipped out and killed them. He came to his sense in time not to kill his ex. He turned himself in to police. Told them what he did and how he deserved to die.

He was sick. He showed true remorse. He plead guilty as charged. He was executed.

Winkler said she was abused (although apparently she had never told anyone that before the murder nor had she sought treatment.)

She allegedly shot her preacher husband in the back and apparently watched him die as he begged for help (dabbing blood from his lips.)
She got a couple months in a mental health facility and a couple months in jail. She never really expressed remorse, he deserved it attitude remains.

Different treatment? Hard to argue otherwise from a legal stand point.

Legal Pub said...

Colleency, I agree, Holton's offense is awful. But he was a certied "mentally insane" at the time. He had severe depression. He was a Gulf vet with post traumatic stress disorder. His ex wife refused to let him see the kids. He flipped out and killed them. He came to his sense in time not to kill his ex. He turned himself in to police. Told them what he did and how he deserved to die.

He was sick. He showed true remorse. He plead guilty as charged. He was executed.

Winkler said she was abused (although apparently she had never told anyone that before the murder nor had she sought treatment.)

She allegedly shot her preacher husband in the back and apparently watched him die as he begged for help (dabbing blood from his lips.)
She got a couple months in a mental health facility and a couple months in jail. She never really expressed remorse, he deserved it attitude remains.

Different treatment? Hard to argue otherwise from a legal stand point.

colleency said...

Horribly different, and plainly unjust, treatment.

It's tragic that he realized what he'd done, accepted resonsibility, suffered with that responsibility, experienced true remorse - and was executed. At that point it's vengence. (in my opinion).

And the woman - from the details you provide - sounds like a sociopath.

Still - Holton was severly depressed and suffered from PTSD - I'd want to keep the kids away, too, or go with supervised visitation. Don't know if that's parental alienation, or just common sense precautions.

Legal Pub said...

Colleency, I think you are right. You would definitely want supervised visitation with someone who is mentally ill. Holton showed so much remorse for his crime, he would not even allow himself to be defended. He was documented to be very mentally ill before his death. By the time of his death, he had recovered enough to know that what he did was so wrong that in his mind he deserved death.

There is some poetic irony in the tragic life and death of Daryl Holton. His crime inexcusable, his conduct after the crime exemplary starting with turning himself in and taking responsibility for his crime and ultimately his excepting his fate of execution.

Some professionals who look at this crime with hind sight recognize that the crime may have been forseeable and with supervised visitation and treatment, may have been prevented. Perhaps, even hindsighted vision is clouded, but all should agree that if such crimes can be prevented, failure to try to promote such early healing should not be tolerated.

colleency said...

Tragic all around - poor, poor man; poor, poor kiddos ...

I hope they have found Peace - and he, forgiveness - wherever they are.

Anonymous said...

ouch! no other word describes it said the high pitched Michael Jackson look alike!

Anonymous said...

Castration is bad! Lorraine Bobbett can talk about that situation...

But capital punishment is barbaric.

Anonymous said...

Could you imagine a you tube story on castration?

Anonymous said...

You Tube would not even touch this story!