by Alessandra Muglia
Joe Nathan James Jr. was sentenced to 50 years in prison in Alabama in July. An NGO’s denunciation: “The execution took longer than any other syringe in recorded US history.” Meanwhile, the second sentence since the beginning of the year falls in Texas
The longest execution to date in the United States took place in Alabama on July 28. “Three hours of pain and suffering,” according to the NGO Reprieve, which funded an independent autopsy and is now releasing the results. Joe Nathan James Jr., 50, was killed by a controversial lethal injection on July 28, despite desperate objections from the victim’s family, who were fighting for his life. The injection was scheduled for 6:00 p.m. but was postponed to 9:04 p.m. and he was not pronounced dead until 9:27 p.m.
According to US newspaper The Atlantic, the autopsy revealed that “a terrible thing was done to James while he was tied to a stretcher behind closed doors”. The hands and wrists (of the convict) – we read again – “were pierced with needles in all places that could be bent or bent”. Medical experts contacted by the newspaper, also based on photos of the body, concluded that the team in charge of the injection was “unqualified” and probably acted with “gross incompetence”. Some of the injuries also suggest that he was sedated before the final execution. “The execution of Joe Nathan James Jr. took longer than any other injection in the recorded history of the United States,” the newspaper concluded. James “underwent essentially two executions: a harrowing procedure behind closed doors and then a theatrical performance for witnesses,” Reprieve accused.
The last execution in Texas
Meanwhile, four months later, the executioner in Texas struck again. A 41-year-old man was executed on Wednesday for stabbing a real estate agent near Dallas more than 16 years ago. Sarah Walker was beaten and stabbed while showing a house robbed of a precious watch and ring. Kosoul Chanthakoummane received a lethal injection in Huntsville prison. His last words were for his mother, who watched him silently as he exhaled his last breath. While having 5 grams of the powerful sedative injected into his veins, the man turned his gaze to the woman: “Mom, I love you.” Instead, there was no family member of the victim, but Chanthakoummane’s thoughts went to them nonetheless: “I pray that my death will bring them peace,” he said just before. The victim’s father, Joseph Walker, who died last year, had opposed Chanthakoummane’s execution and told the Times Union in New York in 2013 that he had forgiven his daughter’s killer. Chanthakoummane was the ninth inmate to be executed in the United States that year. Despite Texas’ dismal record of death sentences in the United States, the state’s use of executioners is at an all-time low. Juries have handed down fewer death sentences in the past two years: most executions have been delayed mainly because of the pandemic.
The Texas precedent
This is Texas’ second death sentence since the beginning of the year. Last April, also in Texas, the life of the oldest inmate on death row was taken: Carl Buntion, a 78-year-old man convicted more than 30 years ago of killing a police officer at a traffic stop. His lawyers had made a final appeal to the Supreme Court to seek a stay, but it was denied and Buntion was killed by lethal injection.
August 18, 2022 (Modified August 18, 2022 | 10:16 am)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED