USA - Texas. Jedidiah Murphy, 48, White, was executed on Oct. 10

USA - J. Murphy (TX)

19 October 2023 :

OCTOBER 10, 2023 - Jedidiah Murphy, 48, White, was executed on Oct. 10, which is World Day Against the Death Penalty.
Murphy was pronounced dead at 10:15 p.m., 25 minutes after the lethal injection began at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.
Murphy was one of at least twelve halachically Jewish prisoners on death row in America
Criminal attorney Alan Dershowitz and Jewish death-penalty opponents made an eleventh-hour plea to Governor Greg Abbott for clemency. Dershowitz has filed clemency paperwork on behalf of Murphy.
Murphy's case has also gained the support of other anti-death-penalty activists, notably Death Penalty Action and one of its project organizations, L'Chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty. ("L'Chaim" is Hebrew for "To Life.") Cantor Michael Zoosman, a former Jewish prison chaplain and co-founder of L'Chaim!, has been corresponding with Murphy for years.
Murphy was sentenced to death in Dallas County in 2001 for murdering Bertie Lee Cunningham, White, 79, after hijacking her car on October 4, 2000. Murphy, 24 at the time, was high on cocaine, and later used the victim's credit cards to purchase alcohol and cigarettes.
At the time he committed the crime – for which his spiritual adviser Rabbi Dovid Goldstein of the West Houston Chabad-Lubavitch says he has deeply repented – he was suffering from severe mental illness.
“To the family of the victim, I sincerely apologize for all of it,” Murphy said while strapped to a gurney in the Texas death chamber and after a Christian pastor, his right hand on Murphy’s chest, prayed for the victim’s family, Murphy’s family and friends and the inmate.
“I hope this helps, if possible, give you closure,” Murphy said.
The execution took place hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an order that had delayed the death sentence from being carried out. The high court late Tuesday also turned down another request to stay Murphy’s execution over claims the drugs he was injected with were exposed to extreme heat and smoke during a recent fire, making them unsafe and leaving him at risk of pain and suffering.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday had upheld a federal judge’s order from last week delaying the execution after Murphy’s lawyers filed a lawsuit seeking DNA testing of evidence presented at his 2001 trial.
But the state attorney general’s office appealed the 5th Circuit’s decision, with the Supreme Court ruling in Texas’ favor.
In their filings, Murphy’s attorneys had questioned evidence of two robberies and a kidnapping used by prosecutors to persuade jurors during the penalty phase of his trial that Murphy would be a future danger — a legal finding needed to secure a death sentence in Texas.
Murphy admitted he killed Cunningham but had long denied he committed the robberies or kidnapping. His attorneys argued these crimes were the strongest evidence prosecutors had to show Murphy would pose an ongoing threat, but that the evidence linking him to the crimes was problematic, including a questionable identification of Murphy by one of the victims.
Murphy’s lawyers had said he also had a long history of mental illness, was abused as a child and was in and out of foster care.
Murphy was the sixth man executed in Texas this year, the 583rd overall since Texas resumed capital punishment in 1982, the 20th in the U.S. put to death this year, and the 1,578th overall since the country resumed executions in 1977.
Tuesday marked World Day Against the Death Penalty, an annual day of advocacy by death penalty opponents.
3 more executions are scheduled in Texas this year.


other news