Capital punishment in Louisiana
Capital punishment is legal in the U.S. state of Louisiana. A total of 659 individuals have been executed in Louisiana including 28 since 1976. Toni Jo Henry (January 3, 1916 - November 28, 1942), born Annie Beatrice McQuiston, was the only woman executed in Louisiana's electric chair (for the murder of Joseph P. Calloway). A total of 88 people are under a sentence of death in the state as of 13 October 2007. The current method of execution in Louisiana is lethal injection. Capital crimes in Louisiana are: First degree murder (premeditation does not have to be a part of it, but instead requires specific intent), and treason. Formerly the state also allowed execution for the aggravated rape of a victim under the age of 12. The Supreme Court, however, ruled it unconstitutional on 25 June 2008 in Kennedy v. Louisiana, saying "there is a distinction between intentional first-degree murder on the one hand and nonhomicide crimes against individual persons".
The jury decides the sentence and may give a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for capital offenses. A unanimous verdict is needed in order to convict a defendant of a capital crime and sentence to death. Clemency rests with the governor of Louisiana, who must have a recommendation from a board.
Executions in Louisiana are currently performed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary,. Louisiana's method of execution is lethal injection. Previous methods: Hanging up to 1981 and then other forms of electrocution for 61 people from 1941 to 1991.
- First degree murder:
- The murder was committed during the commission of, attempt of, or escape from a specified felony (aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, aggravated arson, aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, assault by drive-by shooting, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, terrorism, cruelty to juveniles, or second degree cruelty to juveniles).
- The victim was a firefighter or peace officer engaged in his or her lawful duties.
- The offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm upon more than one person.
- The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value.
- The victim was under the age of 12 years.
- The victim was 65 years or older.
- The murder was committed during an illegal drug deal.
- The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in "ritualistic acts".
- The murder was committed while the defendant was the subject of a restraining order protecting the victim.
- The murder was committed upon a victim who was a witness to a crime or was a member of the immediate family of a witness to a crime committed on a prior occasion.
Individuals executed since 1976
A total of 28 individuals convicted of murder have been executed by the state of Louisiana since 1976: The most recent Louisiana inmate to be put to death, Gerald Bordelon, waived his appeals and asked the state to carry out his sentence.
|Executed person||Date of execution||Method||Victims||Under Governor|
|1||Robert Wayne Williams||14 December 1983||electric chair||Willie Kelly.||David C. Treen|
|2||Johnny Taylor, Jr.||29 February 1984||David Vogler.|
|3||Elmo Patrick Sonnier||5 April 1984||Loretta Bourque and David LeBlanc.||Edwin Edwards|
|4||Timothy G. Baldwin||10 September 1984||Mary Lee Peters.|
|5||Ernest Knighton, Jr.||30 October 1984||Ralph Shell.|
|6||Robert Lee Willie||28 December 1984||Faith Hathaway.|
|7||David Dene Martin||4 January 1985||Bobby Todd.|
|8||Benjamin Berry||7 June 1987||Robert Cochran.|
|9||Alvin R. Moore, Jr.||8 June 1987||Jo Ann Wilson.|
|10||Jimmy L. Glass||12 June 1987||Newt Brown and Erlene Brown.|
|11||Jimmy Wingo||16 June 1987|
|12||Willie Celestine||20 July 1987||Marcelaine Richard.|
|13||Willie Watson||24 July 1987||Kathy Newman.|
|14||John E. Brogdon||30 July 1987||Barbara Jo Brown.|
|15||Sterling J. Rault, Jr.||24 August 1987||Jane Ellen Francioni.|
|16||Wayne Robert Felde||15 March 1988||Glen Thompkins.||Buddy Roemer|
|17||Leslie Lowenfield||13 April 1988||Shiela Thomas, Shantel Osborne, Carol Osborne, Owen Griffin, and Myrtle Griffin.|
|18||Edward R. Byme, Jr.||14 June 1988||Robert Johnson.|
|19||Dalton Prejean||18 May 1990||Louisiana State Police Trooper Donald Cleveland.|
|20||Andrew Lee Jones||22 July 1991||Tumekica Jackson.|
|21||Robert Wayne Sawyer||5 March 1993||lethal injection||Frances Arwood.||Edwin Edwards|
|22||Thomas Lee Ward||16 March 1995||Wilbert John Spencer.|
|23||Antonio G. James||1 March 1996||Henry Silver.||Murphy J. Foster, Jr.|
|24||John Ashley Brown, Jr.||24 April 1997||Omer Laughlin.|
|25||Dobie Gillis Williams||8 January 1999||Sonja Knippers.|
|26||Feltus Taylor, Jr.||6 June 2000||Donna Ponsano.|
|27||Leslie Dale Martin||10 May 2002||Christina Burgin.|
|28||Gerald Bordelon||7 January 2010||Courtney LeBlanc.||Bobby Jindal|
The only two people in the United States who were sentenced to die (after reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976) for committing a rape that did not result in death were convicted in Louisiana courts: Patrick O. Kennedy and Richard L. Davis. Kennedy's case has led to a challenge before the Supreme Court, which was heard in April 2008. The court ruled in their favor, overturning their death sentences but upholding their convictions.
On Saturday, August 29, 2009—the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina—a jury in Orleans Parish sentenced Michael Anderson to death on each of five counts of first degree murder for his execution style shooting of five teenagers on June 17, 2006 . The quintuple slaying, which occurred as the nation watched New Orleans begin to rebuild in the aftermath of the storm, drew national attention to the violent crime problems plaguing the city and prompted then-Governor Kathleen Blanco to call in the Louisiana National Guard to help the New Orleans Police Department patrol the streets of the city. The sentence was especially significant as it marked the first time in twelve years that an Orleans Parish jury had sent a person to the state's death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.
The prosecution of Rodricus Crawford for the murder of his one-year-old son in 2013 brought national attention to Caddo Parish, Louisiana and its controversial District Attorney (DA) Dale Cox, responsible for one-third of the entire state of Louisiana's death sentences since he became DA and an aggressive proponent of the death penalty. He was quoted by the New York Times as saying his chief goal as a prosecutor was to kill more people.
- Willie Francis
- List of wrongful convictions in the United States
- List of exonerated death row inmates
- Greenhouse, Linda. "Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape". The NY Times. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
- Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005)
- Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)
- "Classification–Where Inmates Serve Their Time." Inside the System: How Inmates Live and Work. Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections. 14/40. Retrieved on June 30, 2010.
- "Officials prep for Bordelon's execution Thursday." The Advocate. January 6, 2010. Retrieved on August 24, 2010. "Laborde said Bordelon has been moved from Angola's new Death Row facility to a cell at nearby Camp F, where the execution chamber is located"
- Loresha Wilson (13 December 2007). "Death for rapist: Jury says man should die for assaulting 5-year-old". Shreveport Times, Shreveport, LA. Archived from the original on April 21, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2008.
- Mark Sherman (2008). "Court Mulls Death Penalty for Child Rape". Associated Press. Retrieved January 11, 2008.[dead link]