MISSOURI (USA): RICHARD STRONG EXECUTED
June 9, 2015: Richard Strong, 47, Black, was executed, despite the fact that four Justices of the Supreme Court would have granted him a stay and despite evidence that he suffered from severe mental illness.
A broad challenge to Missouri's secretive lethal injection process (Zink v. Lombardi) has yet to be resolved, and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan voted to stay Strong's execution because of that challenge. However, five votes are needed to stay an execution. In addition, Strong's original trial counsel failed to adequately explore his mental illness and the mental problems in his family. After a fuller investigation, Strong was diagnosed with major Axis I illnesses, including: Major Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Schizotypal Personality Disorder, and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Strong's counsel asked the Supreme Court to spare his life because society's standards of decency have turned away from executing people with such severe mental problems. Strong was sentenced to death in 2003 for the October 2000 fatal stabbing of his 23-year-old girlfriend, Eva Washington, and her daughter from a previous relationship, Zandrea Thomas. He left Alyshia Strong, his baby with Washington, unharmed. He acknowledged the crime but could not understand why he did it.
Alyshia Strong, now 14, said she has forgiven her father andÂ pleaded for clemency in the days before his execution.
Strong becomes the 4th inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri, the 84th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989, the 16th in the U.S. this year, and the 1410th overall since the nation resumed executions in 1977. (Sources: St. Louis Public Radio, Huffington Post, 09/06/2015)