Posted: Nov 19, 2021 12:01 AM
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Bowing to intense political pressure, Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt, the Republican governor of one of the nation’s reddest states, commuted on Thursday the death sentence of convicted murderer Julius Jones. Stitt’s commutation of Jones, who was convicted for a first-degree carjacking murder in one of the most reliably pro-death penalty states, is but the latest troubling data pointing toward the possible ultimate abolition of the death penalty in America.In 2020, former President Donald Trump directed then-Attorney General William Barr to resume federal executions after a 17-year hiatus. From July 2020 through January 2021, the Trump-led Department of Justice oversaw 13 executions. The first to be executed during that stretch, Daniel Lewis Lee, robbed a family and, as the Justice Department’s website recounted at the time, “covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou.” The final man executed, Dustin Higgs, was convicted of directing the murders of three women in a wildlife refuge. He died unrepentant.But this July, President Joe Biden ordered Attorney General Merrick Garland to once again pause federal executions. “The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in th …
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