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Last night the state of Georgia executed Marcus Wellons, the state of Missouri executed John Winfield, and tonight the state of Florida plans to carry out the execution of John Henry. If all goes as scheduled, three African American men will be executed within 24 hours, and each of these executions will have been shrouded in secrecy.
“We are calling it a Night of Shame for our nation,” commented Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. “The rest of the country is moving away from the death penalty, the public is increasingly uneasy with this practice as evidenced by the waning support for the death penalty, and there continue to be allegations of misconduct, such as in Missouri where a corrections officer was blocked from making a statement in support of clemency for John Winfield. Despite all of this, these states are stubbornly forging ahead with executions.”
These executions are the first since the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma at the end of April, and they distinguish Missouri, Georgia and Florida as outliers in the national trend away from the death penalty. The secrecy problem has been one of a number of flaws and failures of the death penalty underlying a national call for a halt to all executions.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty put out a call to halt executions nationwide after the horribly botched execution of Clayton Lockett at the end of April. Thousands have signed on and state abolition coalitions along with their community partners have put out similar calls to halt all executions in their respective states.
“We are disappointed but determined,” stated Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. “We renew the call to halt all executions along with millions of other Americans who know that it is time for the death penalty to end. We will increase the intensity of our organizing and public education efforts and we will ultimately prevail.”