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David Powell
David Powell
TEXAS (USA): POWELL EXECUTED FOR 1978 SLAYING OF POLICE OFFICER

June 15, 2010: The state of Texas executed David Powell, 59, for the murder of a police officer 32 years ago, after having lost a series of lengthy appeals and requests for clemency.
Powell was convicted and sentenced to death for the May 18, 1978 machine-gun murder of police officer Ralph Ablanedo, who stopped him on a traffic offense.
With the execution, Powell set a record for the longest period on death row in the state before being put to death, circumstances which had earned him support for clemency.
He also elicited wide support for becoming what some called a model prisoner and for his expressions of remorse for his crime.
Powell was a drug addict in 1978 when his car was stopped for a traffic violation by Ablanedo, then 26. The officer was hit several times by shots from a Russian-made AK-47 but managed to radio for help and describe his assailant before he died.
Powell was convicted and sentenced to death later that year. The verdict was overturned on appeal, but he was convicted at a retrial in 1991 and re-sentenced to death. That trial was voided as well on appeal, resulting in a third trial that reaffirmed the penalty.
But supporters said that Powell's 32 years on death row have proved the power of human redemption.
Amnesty International is one of many advocate groups that pleaded his case, saying in a report that over time, Powell has become "a model prisoner and an extraordinary human being."
"The traditional justification for the death penalty (is) retribution and deterrence," Amnesty said. "It is hard to imagine what further deterrence would be achieved by an execution 32 years after" the crime.
Defense attorneys said that Powell at the time of the murder was high on drugs and that he kicked his habit once in prison.
An Amnesty International report also cites testimony gathered from prison guards, inmates and a psychotherapist -- all attesting to the genuineness of Powell's transformation.
Powell's supporters also said that in his time behind bars, he has counseled fellow inmates and helped others learn to read.
Another issue raised was the mere fact of his long tenure on death row, which opponents of capital punishment consider cruel and unusual and thus a violation of the US constitution. Even retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has spoken out against this type of long wait on death row.
Powell's tenure on death row was among the longest ahead of an execution in the United States. Alabama earlier this year executed Thomas Whisenhant after 32 years on death row while Georgia in 2008 put to death Jack Alderman after 33 years. (Sources: Afp, 15/06/2010)

IRAN: MOTHER SENTENCED TO DEATH BY STONING
IRAN: TWO SENTENCED TO DEATH IN JAIL ABUSE CASE
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: CONVICT ON DEATH ROW OVER TWIN MURDER WITH CRICKET BAT
YEMEN: EIGHT SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG SMUGGLING
SAUDI ARABIA: SAUDI MAN EXECUTED FOR MURDER
USA: THE SUPREME COURT OVERTURNED THE DEATH SENTENCE OF BILLY JOE MAGWOOD
BAHAMAS: MAN GETS DEATH PENALTY FOR MURDER
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE FOR MURDER
EGYPT COURT SENTENCES MILITANT LEADER TO DEATH
CHINA: PAIR EXECUTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
CHINA EXECUTES DEALERS AHEAD OF INT'L ANTI-DRUG DAY
MALAYSIA: 14 DEATH-ROW PRISONERS GET PARDON
MAURITANIA HANDS DOWN DEATH SENTENCES IN CRIME CRACKDOWN
VIETNAM: COURT COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE IN PUBLIC LAND FRAUD CASE
SAUDI ARABIA BEHEADS AND NAILS MAN'S BODY TO CROSS
UGANDA: MOTHER, SON TO BE HANGED FOR MURDER
IRAN: MAN HANGED FOR RAPE
IRAN: ABDOLMALEK RIGI HANGED IN TEHRAN
PAKISTAN: DEATH SENTENCE FOR MURDER
PAKISTAN: THREE SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
UTAH: RONNIE LEE GARDNER EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD
VIETNAM TO REPLACE FIRING SQUADS WITH LETHAL INJECTION
ETHIOPIA: OFFICIAL GETS DEATH SENTENCE FOR SUPPORTING REBELS
INDIA: PRESIDENT COMMUTES DEATH FOR 8 TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT
NIGERIA: GOVERNORS BACK EXECUTION OF CONVICTED PRISONERS
IRAN: MAN EXECUTED FOR MURDER, RAPE
SOMALIA: FANS EXECUTED FOR WATCHING WORLD CUP
UAE: COURT COMMUTES DEATH PENALTY OF 65-YEAR-OLD WOMAN’S RAPIST
SAUDI ARABIA: MAN DECAPITATED FOR MURDER
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: MAN GETS DEATH FOR MURDERING WIFE

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