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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Marion Wilson Execution

And Also: The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction is an interesting argument (by a children's book reviewer) for the practice.  Though it does not only benefit younger children, the benefit of engaged (not just audiobooks) reading in respect to them is the main focus. 

I thought we were going to get a break from executions, but Marion Wilson's execution (over twenty years after the crime) was scheduled by Georgia (second of year). He has the dubious honor to be the 1500th execution since the death penalty was rebooted in the 1970s. One summary of the crime:
It was the night of March 28, 1996. Donovan Corey Parks [black] had left the home he shared with his father and brother in Milledgeville, Georgia, to buy cat food. The 24-year-old worked full-time as a prison guard, but that day, he’d done a shift at the Winn-Dixie where he worked to make ends meet. As he exited the local Walmart, Parks was approached by 19-year-old Wilson and 18-year-old Robert Earl Butts Jr. Witnesses said Butts asked if Parks could give them a lift. “And the victim, being the nice guy he was, said, “Sure, I’ll give you a ride,” then-District Attorney Fred Bright told jurors in 1997. The pair had a sawed-off shotgun. Soon after that, Parks was dead from a blast to the head.
The article has some filler but the basic idea is that we don't know who pulled the trigger, he has a horrible childhood, questionable defense and others who committed similar crimes did not get a death sentence. The usual arbitrariness even among a case that normally seems straightforward. Note too he would overlap with recent claims to draw the line at 21. And, we have another long time on death row scenario.  Usual suspects.

The ill-named Robert Earl Butts Jr. has already been executed.  Looking at the final challenges, key is the argument that there is no clear evidence that Wilson was the one who specifically murdered Parks and the prosecutor lied when making the case in sentencing phase.  Thus, it is not clear the death sentence met the rules of due process in regard to properly determining if Wilson is one of the rare people who should be sentenced to die.  The execution was scheduled at 7PM and the the Supreme Court only handed down (without recorded dissents) a denial after 9PM.

Given the limited number of executions and the importance of the matter, I continue to think it would be helpful to summarize the final arguments and say why they were rejected.  It would be educational at least for the justices opposing the death penalty or repeatedly concerned (Sotomayor) to rotate here.  Realize this might be repetitive but see value in it. 

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