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Daryl Atkins
Daryl Atkins
VIRGINIA (USA). ATKINS' DEATH SENTENCE COMMUTED TO LIFE

January 17, 2008: The death sentence for Daryl Atkins was commuted to life in prison after York-Poquoson Circuit Judge Prentis Smiley found that prosecutors had failed to turn over potential favorable evidence to his lawyers during his 1998 murder trial.
Atkins, togheter with co-defendant William Jones were charged in the Aug. 16, 1996, killing of  Eric Nesbitt, 21.
Jones, then 26, testified against Atkins at trial, saying Atkins, then 18, fired the shots that killed Nesbitt, and a jury convicted Atkins of capital murder. Jones later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Atkins was sentenced to death despite evidence offered by the defense that he was mentally retarded, with an IQ of 69.
His death sentenced was first overturned in Jan. 1999 because of tecnicalities, but then again confirmed in Aug. 1999. His appeal went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled on June 20, 2002 (see) that it's unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded. It is the famous “Atkins v. Virginia” case. A new jury decided in 2003 that Atkins wasn't retarded and upheld the death sentence, but that verdict was also overturned because of errors made during the trial.
In Aug 2005 a new York County jury found Atkins to be not mentally retarded and that he could be executed. In June 2006 the state Supreme Court overturned that verdict, citing more trial errors. A new trial on Atkins' retardation was ordered for Apr. 2008, when allegations surfaced that prosecutors withheld evidence during the original 1998 trial.
Last year, Leslie Smith, one of Jones' attorneys, came forward with allegations that prosecutor Cathy E. Krinick coaxed Jones to change aspects of his story during an August 1997 interview at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.
Smith testified at an earlier hearing in December that Krinick turned off a tape recorder during the interview with Jones after his statements didn't match up with the physical evidence of the shooting. While the tape was off, he said, Krinick led Jones back through the events of that night, coaching him on what to say. When the recorder was turned back on, Jones told a different version of his story.
According to evidence presented Thursday and during the December hearing, the recorder was off for a total of 16 minutes during the two-hour interview. (Sources: Daily Press, 17/01/2008)

CHINA. THREE INDONESIANS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR CARRYING DRUGS
AFGHANS PROTEST AGAINST DEATH SENTENCE FOR REPORTER
IRAN. FIVE HANGED FOR MURDER
IRAN. JUDICIAL CHIEF MUST NOW APPROVE PUBLIC EXECUTIONS
SAUDI ARABIA. TWO MEN BEHEADED FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING BOY
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. FINGERPRINT LEADS TO DEATH SENTENCE
IRAN. ARAB SEPARATIST HANGED IN KHUZESTAN
QATAR. APPEAL COURT UPHOLDS DEATH PENALTY VERDICT
IRAN. RARE EXECUTION FOR CORRUPTION CARRIED OUT
SAUDI ARABIA. NIGERIAN WOMAN AND PAKISTANI BEHEADED
IRAN PUBLICLY HANGS TWO CONVICTED OF RAPE AND MURDER
INDIA. ONE GETS DEATH FOR ABDUCTION, MURDER
IRAN. FIRING SQUAD EXECUTES MAN WHO RAPED 17 CHILDREN
VIETNAM. 3 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
BANGLADESH. 10 PEOPLE SENTENCED TO DEATH IN POLICE-SLAUGHTERING CASE
PUERTO RICO LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN AGAINST DEATH PENALTY
SAUDI ARABIA. THREE BURMESE IMMIGRANTS BEHEADED
RUSSIA. IT IS NOT TIME TO ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY - MP
SAUDI ARABIA. TWO SAUDIS, YEMENI BEHEADED
IRAN. PUBLICLY HANGED FOR MURDER
CHINA. TWO UGANDAN CITIZENS PARDONED
AFGHANISTAN. DEATH PENALTY FOR YOUNG JOURNALIST WHO REPORTED ON THE CONDITIONS OF WOMEN
LIBYA. TWO GHANAIANS EXECUTED FOR MURDER
CHINA SAYS DEATH PENALTY FAIRER AFTER KEY REFORM
CHINA. EX JUDGE CALLS FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY
SAUDI ARABIA. TWO MEN BEHEADED FOR DRUG SMUGGLING
RUSSIA. PACE HEAD URGES PUTIN TO ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY
CHINA PAYS $11.56 A DAY TO WOMAN WRONGLY JAILED
SAUDI ARABIA. THREE BEHEADED FOR MURDER, RAPE
NORTH KOREA. THREE SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER ILLEGAL FILMS

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IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
  BELARUS EXECUTES TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS  
  MALAYSIA: GOVT HALTS EXECUTION OF 1,200 DEATH ROW INMATES  
  JAPAN HANGS CULT LEADER SHOKO ASAHARA, 6 OTHERS FOR 1995 TOKYO SUBWAY SARIN ATTACK  
  SOMALIA - DEATH PENALTY AND TERRORISM  
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