8 People Who Were Executed and Later Found Innocent - NakedLaw by Avvo.com

8 People Who Were Executed and Later Found Innocent

95 Comments
May 5, 2010 at 12:28 am  •  Posted in Crime & Lawsuits by  •  95 Comments

It’d be nice to think our judicial system is totally infallible, but unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Innocent people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit more often than anyone would like to admit, and in some cases, people who were later found to be innocent have actually been put to death.

Here are 8 people who were executed and innocent.

1. Cameron Todd Willingham—In 1992, Willingham was convicted of arson murder in Texas. He was believed to have intentionally set a fire that killed his three kids. In 2004, he was put to death. Unfortunately, the Texas Forensic Science Commission later found that the evidence was misinterpreted, and they concluded that none of the evidence used against Willingham was valid. As it turns out, the fire really was accidental.

2. Ruben Cantu—Cantu was 17 at the time the crime he was alleged of committing took place. Cantu was convicted of capital murder, and in 1993, the Texas teen was executed. About 12 years after his death, investigations show that Cantu likely didn’t commit the murder. The lone eyewitness recanted his testimony, and Cantu’s co-defendant later admitted he allowed his friend to be falsely accused. He says Cantu wasn’t even there the night of the murder.

3. Larry Griffin—Griffin was put to death in 1995 for the 1981 murder of Quintin Moss, a Missouri drug dealer. Griffin always maintained his innocence, and now, evidence seems to indicate he was telling the truth. The first police officer on the scene now says the eyewitness account was false, even though the officer supported the claims during the trial. Another eyewitness who was wounded during the attack was never contacted during the trial, and he says Griffin wasn’t present at the crime scene that night.

4. Carlos DeLuna—In 1989, DeLuna was executed for the stabbing of a Texas convenience store clerk. Almost 20 years later, Chicago Tribune uncovered evidence that shows DeLuna was likely innocent. The evidence showed that Carlos Hernandez, a man who even confessed to the murder many times, actually did the crime.

5. David Wayne Spence—Spence was put to death in 1997 for the murder of three teenagers in Texas. He was supposedly hired by a convenience store clerk to kill someone else, but he allegedly killed the wrong people by mistake. The supervising police lieutenant said “I do not think David Spence committed this crime.” The lead homicide detective agreed, saying “My opinion is that David Spence was innocent. Nothing from the investigation ever led us to any evidence that he was involved.”

6. Jesse Tafero—In 1976, Tafero was convicted of murdering a state trooper. He and Sonia Jacobs were both sentenced to death for the crime. The main evidence used to convict them was testimony by someone else who was involved in the crime, ex-convict Walter Rhodes. Rhodes gave this testimony in exchange for a life sentence. In 1990, Tafero was put to death. Two years later, his companion Jacobs was released due to a lack of evidence…the same evidence used to put Tafero to death.

7 & 8. Thomas Griffin and Meeks Griffin— The oldest case on this list dates back to 1915. The Griffin brothers, two black men, were convicted of the murder of a white man. The reason they were convicted is because Monk Stevenson, another black man suspected of committing the murder, pointed to the brothers as having been responsible. He later admitted the reason he blamed them is because they were wealthy, and he assumed they had the money to beat the charges. The Griffin brothers were completely innocent, but they were put to death nonetheless.

Related articles:

About 

95 Comments

  1. Kevin / November 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm / Reply

    The first sentence in this article is silly on its face. If anyone thinks anything in the earthly world is ” infallabal” , you are a fool. Of course there are people who are innocent that have been executed. It’s terrible for sure. But even forensic evidence is falable.
    All you can do is make it as fair as possible and continue to make the process better. But that’s just the way it is.

  2. Black Ceaser / July 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm / Reply

    @sovereign citizens – you were making good sense until you jumped the shark and started talking about people having babies and you having use your hard earned money to pay for them. That Attention Deficit Disorder is a beast. Try to remember to take your meds before you post a comment.

  3. been there, still there / April 14, 2014 at 3:56 am / Reply

    While I agree with some of the comments here, others make me just see red. Today is April 14th 2014 and I just watch a documentary on a man named Anthony Graves who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He spent 18 years on death row before being PROVEN innocent. If more effort were to be given in PROVING his guilt, he would never have spent 1 day in jail much less prison. He was convicted on one mans testimony , the real person who committed the murders said that Anthony helped him kill 5 people. That’s it. that all the evidence they had and he was to die for it. Later just before his execution , the man finally said he had lied and that Anthony had nothing to do with it and that he didn’t even know Anthony. Anthony spent 18 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. He missed being a father, his son was grown when he got out, he spent 18 very long years fearing for his life. Anthony is not alone, there are hundreds of innocent men and women on death row not to mention the ones doing a life sentence. And for those of you who think prison is over rated , trust me when I say to some doing life, death would be a welcome event. Yes inmates have a bed to sleep in, but you live in a 5X 8 cell and that bed is hard and uncomfortable, yes they have 3 meals a day, if you love eating turkey everyday and on occasions a mystery meat and always over cooked veg. , of course you’ll eat anything if you’re hungry enough, and sure they can watch tv a little but you can only watch at certain times and only what the prison says you can watch. You are told what to do and how and when to do it. The guards harass and taunt you and you are always watching your back because the possibility of attacks from other inmates is ever present.. You can’t smoke or have any money in your pockets. You have no means of relieving stress. You are subject to searches 24 hours a day, something a lot of guards find entertaining and do it just because they can. You are belittled , harassed , dehumanized , and bullied each and every day. and that’s from the staff more than other inmates. They take your dignity and your pride. Yes you have free medical care, not true, inmates are charged $5.00 for a medical visit, that is when they get around to seeing you. God forbid you have a tooth ache, there is no preventive care, your teeth rot and they ache, and it could takes weeks to see a dentist and in the meantime you are not given anything for pain. How do I know this? My husband has been in prison for 26 years for a crime he did not commit. He was convicted of 1st degree murder based on the” felony murder rule” ( look it up ) He had nothing to do with the murder but yet he is in prison doing a life sentence, the man who did the murder pled no contest to second degree murder, was sentenced to 15 years and was out in 4 years. I defy anyone to tell me that is fair. The truth is in my opinion that our judicial system stinks. There is so much corruption from police officers to judges, it is unreal. It’s easy for some of you to judge others without knowing all the facts and to you I say, you are as corrupt as our judicial system is. Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes. How do I feel about the death penalty ? I feel it should only be used in extreme cases, only when the person has been PROVEN to have committed a heinous crime, serial killers comes to mind. Only those that could never be trusted on the outside. Then and only then do I support the death penalty. I think life sentences and the death penalties are handed out like candy, with little or no actual proof of guilt. Texas is not alone in this, all states that recognize the death penalty is guilty of over use of this sentence. I hope non of you ever find yourself on the other side of the law trying to prove your innocence. Or how about your son or daughters, would you still support the death penalty if your son or daughter were wrongfully accused. It could happen very easily. … Have a great day and God bless.

  4. stacy / November 19, 2013 at 11:46 am / Reply

    I’m just saying ‘Houston, we DO have a problem…’

  5. stacy / November 19, 2013 at 11:35 am / Reply

    Doesn’t anyone remember George Bush Jr., as the Governor of Texas, refused to reconsider new DNA evidence in the cases of those accused of murder and sentenced to death? If I remember correctly there were some 200 + on death row.

  6. KnDvAbGdL / November 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm / Reply

    all of you act surprised…(smirking) like you didn’t know what to expect!!

  7. diana martinez / October 4, 2013 at 10:26 am / Reply

    i believe that capital punishment is such bull

  8. Duncan / October 2, 2013 at 11:14 am / Reply

    Wow..is right! Death penalty cases should only be determined with factual forensic evidence, not on eyewitness testimony, my opinion:)

  9. rango / September 27, 2012 at 3:32 am / Reply

    The reason for mistakes are political. Governor’s and Police commissionaires have to please they voters and reach certain quotas of solved cases.Often the investigations are done quickly and without all the facts. Coming to the court appearance if you are uneducated,black and have no money for a good lawyer,it is easy to end up guilty.
    Finally the prosecution often builds their careers on those wins,and sleeps well, despite their mistakes…!!!

  10. ireT22 / September 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm / Reply

    I know I’m a bit late posting here but since I’m not sure where I stand on the death penalty I often go online to read and just now happened a cross this site.

    One of the reasons I’m on the fence is because for the most part court cases are played out like a board game, where outsmarting the opponent is helped by having money to buy extra players, being smart enough with word games to make or break witnesses or keep that tell all piece of evidence out, or in some cases a win or lose could be nothing more than luck.

    The legal system seems to have some sort of crime =punishment structure, or at least they do their best to have a punishment fits the crime clear up until death penalty cases. For instance robbery is a crime and obviously should be punished, but if I’m understanding correctly in some states if a person is in on a robbery, designated job they away driver” and someone gets killed, they are charged as if they pulled the trigger. A case in the next courtroom could be a serial killer who has documented in detail all his killings, but in the shock of it all that evidence was gathered without a search warrant so can’t be used.

    That said and now reading that some of the executed may have been innocent makes me think the risks out weigh the benefits. Or if used it should be reserved solely for those who’ve committed crimes like the murder of 9 year old Jessica Lundsford, the double murder of Christian & Christopher Newsome, the double murder of Carol & Reggie Sumner etc Killing is wrong, no doubt, but being a driver/ lookout, or being chased after a robbery and blindly firing, killing someone still shouldn’t be in the same category as someone who steals a 9 year old out of her bedroom, holds her for almost 3 days, raping etc her then burying her alive.

    My other constant question with the death penalty is what does it do to the families of the person executed. Do they too resort to things like drugs and drinking to numb the pain, causing them to repeat similar crimes, this time possibly involving the death of one of mine/your innocent family members? Over and over I read or hear about multiple family members ending up arrested over the years for things like murder, some say it’s hereditary but is it? It also seems that often those convicted and sentenced to LWOP or death tend to try to push relatives away from a life of crime, using their bad choices and where they are as an example. What happens to them when that voice stops at the hands of authorities? Do they throw their hands up in the air thinking serves you right dad, or do they obsess about evening the score, again possibly involving our friends and family.

    That combined with all the money required to take death penalty cases through the system I tend to think that LWOP would be the better choice all around in the majority of these cases.

    • NoNeedforNamecalling / July 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm / Reply

      I too am very late posting here. Actually a person referenced this page in a debate on another site.

      I can see you put a lot of thought into this, and despite the disagreements we might have, one thing you said stood out to me.

      “…being chased after a robbery and blindly firing, killing someone still shouldn’t be in the same category as someone who steals a 9 year old out of her bedroom, holds her for almost 3 days, raping etc her then burying her alive.”

      Obviously kidnapping, rape, and the other charges are irrelevant. In that case, the murderer did it on purpose. In the hypothetical situation, I would have to say this. If you are pulling the trigger of a gun, you should know what you are shooting at. Blindly firing shows a sense of recklessness. To me, a person who killed someone by throwing the gun behind their shoulder and popping off a few shots is a careless monster and should be given the same punishment as the person who saw a man on the street who looked funny to him, pulled out a knife, and stabbed him to death.

  11. miami personal injury lawyer / January 18, 2012 at 7:08 am / Reply

    Its such as you read my mind! You appear to understand so much approximately this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you could do with some p.c. to pressure the message home a bit, however other than that, that is great blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  12. running headphones / January 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm / Reply

    Great items from you, man. I’ve consider your stuff prior to and you’re simply extremely excellent. I really like what you have received here, certainly like what you’re stating and the best way through which you assert it. You are making it enjoyable and you continue to care for to keep it smart. I can’t wait to learn far more from you. That is actually a great website.

  13. forum / December 29, 2011 at 8:57 am / Reply

    Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness on your post is just cool and i could suppose you are a professional on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to clutch your RSS feed to keep up to date with imminent post. Thanks one million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  14. Karen Belanger / December 19, 2011 at 10:54 am / Reply

    Dallas county Texas has one of the highest rates of wrongful convictions in the nation. Many men and woman spent more than a decade incarcerated before their convictions were overturned and they were released based on new trials and evidence. The majority of the people wrongfully convicted were of African American and Hispanic ethnicity. Imagine that (sigh).

  15. Can A Yeast Infection Cure Itself / December 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm / Reply

    I was suggested this blog through my cousin. I am no longer positive whether or not this submit is written by means of him as nobody else realize such precise approximately my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!

  16. You are all idiots / November 29, 2011 at 11:32 am / Reply

    Ruben Cantu also shot a police officer four times for no reason. The case was then dropped because of an improper search. I say good riddance.

  17. Hello very cool blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also?I’m glad to search out so many useful info here in the put up, we want develop more strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  18. Pingback: They Killed Troy Davis - Page 19

  19. Dan Merritt / September 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm / Reply

    It seems the majority of innocent men put to death happened in texass. Sick ferry is running on his record in texass, he should be running away from his backwards ass hillbilly-like slimy texass record.

  20. Pingback: Really? « my divine reason – words from an urban bohemian

  21. Pingback: What's An Acceptable Number Of Innocent People Being Executed? - Page 21 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

  22. Paul / August 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm / Reply

    This is bullshit. How can the court & the police make such foolish mistakes. I personally believe that using Capital Punishment as a deterrent is inconcinient as compared to the more humane way of long-term incarceration.

  23. Isaac / July 29, 2011 at 6:56 am / Reply

    I don’t understand how the judicial system can allow themselves to make such mistakes. This is done too many times!

  24. Amy / July 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm / Reply

    Anyone who thinks killing another human being is just as bad as the person who committed the murder! There’s only one person that will judge us in the end! I don’t care how many people say that religion has nothing to do with this or God. C’mon people, Thou shall not kill?? And if you believe in something so horrible what kind of human being are you? Killing is killing, I don’t care what kind of category you put it in! I believe that someone committing such a crime should spend the rest of their life in prison. How does killing someone justify anything? What kind of nation is this… and then we see other countries on how they execute their citizens. Aren’t we glad we are not part of their country, but then to go and support something like the death penalty?? Just plain dumb!!

    • Matthew Steward / October 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm / Reply

      Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Genesis 9:6

    • NoNeedforNamecalling / July 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm / Reply

      I believe in God, and support the death penalty. You bring up a good point with the 7th commandment. However, did God not also send his people, the Israelites, to battle on multiple occasions, sometimes ordering them to kill every man, woman, and child?

      Wait, are you saying the Bible contradicts itself? I say it doesn’t because I interpret the 7th commandment, as do many others, to mean “do not MURDER.” I would fight for my country, my family, and even myself. If someone tries to kill me, I could justify killing them in self defense, although I hope nothing like anything I stated would ever happen.

      You’re probably thinking (if you’re even reading this) “but couldn’t the death penalty be considered murder?” I see it this way. It’s called the justice system for a reason. Someone who is wronged deserves justice. If someone murders someone else, is proven guilty, and found guilty by a jury of his/her peers, then they deserve to die. They have earned it. I think they should be given time and counsel to accept Jesus, too.

      But living the rest of one’s life not having to worry about food, bills, or medical care in a facility where one can watch tv, read, and basically relax 24/7 doesn’t sound like justice to me. Don’t get me wrong, prison sucks. But I don’t think it’s fair.

  25. Pingback: If a cogent, succint, non-philosophical argument against the death penalty exists, it is this… « Lance Mohring

  26. Chaz Sohns / May 17, 2011 at 4:35 am / Reply

    Anyone who puts religion into a political matter is just plain stupid. Stop backing up you stupid fucking ideas with religion, its honestly the weakest thing to use a a source. Start using actual logic…

    ps. anyone who thinks im against religion is incorrect, i am religious too but i dont use it as a source to prove i am correct about a matter. (just simply stop using “God said this or the bible said this.”)

  27. gp / March 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm / Reply

    Also, Hey Trent you fucking idiot, Im coming over to take one of your family members and execute them by mistake. I bet your attitude changes a bit.

    My bad, Pigs or anybody named Trent, EAT A BULLET

  28. gp / March 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm / Reply

    you im glad my last name isnt griffin. That seems to be very unlucky.

    Poor Tafero, as soon as a pig is involved there has to be quick punishment. Even if there innocent

    Any pigs looking (EAT A BULLET!)

  29. TJ / March 1, 2011 at 11:00 am / Reply

    GIVING THE DEATH SENTENCE MAKES THE ”LEGAL” EXECUTONERS EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO GET RID OF… COLD BLOODED KILLERS. AND REMEMBER 2 WRONGS CERTAINLY DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT

    • Chaz Sohns / May 17, 2011 at 4:36 am / Reply

      3 lefts make a right.

  30. Pingback: The Innocence project - Page 5 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

  31. brynda beeman / October 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm / Reply

    I see many people are saying “god said”. from what I know, god said nothing….the bible is written by humans, not god…..and…here’s something to chew on…why is it considered perfectly sane to believe in god and follow the laws of a book that is supposedly “his” word, but if a person says they talk to god or have seen god we say they are crazy. Does this make any sense whatsoever???? As far as the United States and it legal system…what a joke! Just like every other aspect of our government, money talks…so if you plan on committing a murder and don’t want to be put to death for it…just make sure you have a bunch of money, are a police officer, or have a politician in your back pocket, then there is no need to worry about being put to death for your crime

    • Chaz Sohns / May 17, 2011 at 4:37 am / Reply

      Brynda you are right, and i agree with you.

    • Matthew Steward / October 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm / Reply

      Does evolution make sense to you that people randomly came from nothing without design it is not possible to line up amino acids in all possible combinations moving one every minute in the length of time that evolutionists falsely suppose to be the age of the earth. And everyone will stand trial before the Judge of the world and if you have done one thing wrong you are guilty of high treason against a holy God. if you are not covered by His son’s blood you will be condemned to eternal death. Finally I am completely sane, but i do talk to God and whether or not you believe he exists you WILL bow before Him. I pray that you will bow voluntarily in this life instead of involuntarily in the next.

  32. Tonja / August 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm / Reply

    About half of the executed that were really innocent resided in what state??

    Texas!

    Houston, we have a problem…

  33. Pingback: Utah firing squad executes convicted killer - Page 24 - Political Forum

  34. Al / July 3, 2010 at 3:09 am / Reply

    the united states justice system should be modified to not guilty without any doubt and any further evidence that may arise later that would represnt an innocent wrong conviction. Also more attention and case reviews should be to those who claim not to be guilty and rather
    to quick conclusion of getting a conviction and in my opinion all the judges,Attornies,prosecutors including court clerks,police officers and other involved in the justice system who are in doubt should be terminated from their well paid and relaxed job by tax payers and not only innocent don’t die and also justice is done fairly and close to perfect in none criminal cases all over if we take away the corrupt part of justice system as well.

  35. Janice Robinson / July 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm / Reply

    You forgot one for sure that I have researched.
    First woman ever executed was Mary Surratt, she was executed for being a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.
    Since they didn’t allow John wilkes booth diary in as evidence she was executed on July 7th 1865 Mary was hanged. Later she was found innocent of wrong doing.
    http://www.surratt.org

  36. Pelon / June 24, 2010 at 4:06 am / Reply

    I just feel that Prosecuting Attornies who knowingly withhold, or persue an innocent accused, SHOULD receive the same sentence. As for those on death row, sorry, but we spend way too much money housing these people, Proven guilty, ONE retrial, either exonerated, and released within a week, or executed. I would rather have my tax dollars supporting my FELLOW AMERICANS fighting the war. That is all I have to say ’bout that.

  37. Trent / June 24, 2010 at 12:23 am / Reply

    KEEP the death penalty, execute faster and see if it doesn’t deter crime.

    I feel bad for 8 people. But for the bleeding hearts here. How many people would be alive today if repeat offenders had been properly sentenced and yes, executed. (and yeah, RAPE is a CAPITAL CRIME in my book).

    So, we want to throw up the mistakes of a system over 100 years, that has kept us civilized and relatively safe.

    The way it should work is that executions aren’t carried out in dark rooms in the far end of a prison.

    There should be gallows and firing squads, all set up line arena football.

    And youth offenders should be forced to watch, so they know where their path is leading them.

  38. Alex / June 10, 2010 at 11:33 pm / Reply

    I recently read about a Californian prosecutor who refuses to press for capital punishment but life in prison with no possibility of parole instead, if there is an iota of doubt about some of the evidence. She refuses to budge from that bold position despite getting lot of emotional flak.

    That principled stand is a welcome change in this nation where many AGs try to sensationalize cases just to win Governorships.

  39. James / June 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm / Reply

    This is not a rhetorical question. What do you people that are in favor of the death penalty think you should say to a person that is put to death even though they were innocent?

    • Tonja / August 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm / Reply

      Hmmm, can’t say much to a dead/executed person. Saying Sorry won’t cut it.

      Dead is dead, not much can be done at that point.

      Learn from the mistakes that led to this tragedy and not repeat them is all that can be done.

  40. Mark / June 10, 2010 at 2:58 am / Reply

    The justice system is human and human systems are never perfect. I think there are some crimes that are so heinous anything less than a death sentence is inadequate (I’m thinking of four small children here in New York executed when their drug dealer dad wasn’t home, killers not caught.) But the proof for a death sentence must be of the highest order, more than required for a conviction, more than an eyewitness who can be mistaken, or lying, even if guilt is decided “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If you think that innocent people don’t do time for someone else’s crime, you are wrong, but that doesn’t mean that the imperfect justice system should be shut down. It’s necessarily imperfect and it’s necessary. That said, every prosecutor should be grateful for the highest efforts of the defense bar. Those kinds of defense lawyers should let them sleep better at night.

  41. Carol / June 8, 2010 at 7:49 pm / Reply

    You get what you pay for-the gov HAS to put more money into both legal defense and legal prosecution systems. Our legal systems are massively overloaded and, as others have pointed out, there is not enough money to mount a good, fair, balanced case, an adverserial system that is the bedrock of our legal system.
    The govs are cutting funds from Legal Aid and other similar programs (on Long Island, NY, we also have pro bono programs such as Nassau/Suffolk Legal Services, the Suffolk County Pro Pono Project, pro bono projects run by law schools such as Touro Law School etc.) left and right. Attorneys in private practice are repeatedly stepping up to help but many attorneys are in dire financial straits themselves, working many hours for what comes out to less than legal wage (yes-we are out there). Attorneys who are not even experieced in particular areas are being flash-trained to help in many cases instead of there being dedicated specialists in the Legal Aid offices.

  42. Marilyn / May 29, 2010 at 5:24 pm / Reply

    How about suggestions to make our judicial system better? #1 Separate the executive, judicial & legislative branches of government. That’s the way the founding fathers designed our system. That means eliminate mandatory sentences and administrative actions that amount to punishment for being charged with an offense irrespective of whether you are found guilty or innocent. #2 Simplify the penal code. There is certainly a reasonable number of good laws that all can respect and obey. Get rid of the excess. The judicial system is overloaded. So many people are processed through it’s wham bam thank you mam. Under the current system the District Attorney’s office doesn’t have time to do a good job even if they wanted to. #3 Revisit the definition of justice. Have a national dialogue. Seems to me that justice has become equal to punishment. Is that really what most people think. I equate justice with the wisdom to do the right thing for all concerned parties.
    #4 revisit requirements for judges, DA’s etc. #5 for a real eye opener on crime reduction read Freakonomics on Why the Conventional Wisdom is so Often Wrong, or and Where have all the Criminals Gone.

    Hats off to the innocence project! I wish there were more like them, working to improve our currently out of control system. You believe in it only until it lets you down.

  43. Missy / May 29, 2010 at 3:55 am / Reply

    First, mistakes happen. This is not a perfect world. If you look into these cases mentioned above you’ll find the majority of them are because of people who were looking into the crimes with a specific person in mind as the guilty party. Read below for the one I don’t think should be on this list and why.

    Second, if you want to use this article as a platform for your ‘anti-death penalty’ argument you need to go do research to be sure this is all fact and not opinion. I don’t see a single reference or source cited for these claims. And I only say ‘claims’ because I personally haven’t researched them all so I can’t know one way or another if all of it is true.

    Third, I respect your religious opinions but please don’t press them on others and try to make it fact. Just stop, it’s really annoying.
    Philip I’m happy for you that you 100% believe in the bible but um……. “God instituted government. He also gave government the right to judge and punish. God told governments to give the death penalty for certain offenses”……. that’s b.s. Please stop as it makes me feel violent towards people like you. Why? Because you are trying to pressure others with your beliefs and you are trying to rewrite history based on your beliefs. The colonists instituted the government,etc.

    Fourth, Rose the prisons are full enough. Hell, even David Maust thought he should die for his crimes and killed himself in prison. Too bad more criminals of a similar caliber don’t take the same action and save others from having to do it.

    Jesse Tafero should not be on this list in my opinion because there is not a clear enough conclusion. He ended up with the murder weapon when they were caught. Of course they were caught after stealing the cop car.” They later disposed of the police car and kidnapped a man and stole his car. All three were arrested after being caught in a roadblock. When they were arrested, the gun was found in Tafero’s waistband.” “Ballistic tests indicated that one gun shot both policemen. Ballistic tests also showed that Rhodes definitely had fired a gun and that Tafero might have fired a gun or might have simply handled a gun after it was fired.”
    “The Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court found evidence compelling enough to overturn the conviction of Tafero’s co-defendant, Sonia Jacobs – a conviction based almost entirely on the evidence used to convict Tafero. ”
    In my opinion there is not enough evidence here to say that he did not shoot one of them himself. Was it mishandled? Probably. Was he guilty? We can’t know that aside from at the very least he was an accomplice after the fact. Why? He had the gun and was not driving, Rhodes was. By the way, it was his gun, registered to his girlfriend because he had a record and couldn’t get one.
    There are differences between Jesse and Sonia’s positions in this.
    Although I will say that his execution was wrong; in that, aside from it not being fully defended, it wasn’t done properly.
    Basically it all comes down to people and human nature.

    That’s my opinion mind you.

    • Janice Robinson / July 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm / Reply

      I hope you can afford a GREAT attorney if you are ever accused of any crime you are innocent of.

  44. Rose / May 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm / Reply

    I think the death penalty is a horrible thing. We are saying that we are taking your life because you are so horrible for taking someone elses life. That to me sounds like a hypocrite! How are we any better for that. Just because someone thinks its ok does not mean that it is. I believe if you put someone to death you are just as bad as the person who committed the crime. The real punishment, is for that person to rot in prison for the rest of their pathetic live. No punishment could be greater. Honestly, if someone has 2 spend their life in prison with no chance of getting out, the death penalty for them is something the will probably look forward to, its an easy way out. NO DEATH PENALTY! Thanks =)

    • Dave Jones / May 27, 2010 at 9:03 pm / Reply

      The problem with this argument is that many killers come to enjoy prison and rather enjoy it. Drugs, sex, entertainment, TV, movies, etc. all exist in prison, and those are things many killers would prefer to enjoy rather than die.

  45. philip / May 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm / Reply

    JAMES….. I didn’t say God was speaking to governments. God just gives governments the power to judge. That doesn’t mean that governments have a liscence to do what they want.

    There are verses in the Bible that tell us that God choses every ruler of every country and that God controls the hearts of all rulers.

    I don’t have blind faith. I realize that there are many unethical things going around in the world.

    Regarding the death penalty. I strongly believe that not enough murders are getting the death penalty. All this politically correct crap is one of the many things that is destroying America.

    • Janice Robinson / July 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm / Reply

      Rulers are to make decisions as a whole not to be any man’s judge. God says he is the one and only judge

  46. Jason Croft / May 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm / Reply

    I still think the death penalty is a good idea. Unfortunately nothing is perfect, so there will be mistakes, but over all the system works.

    • bh021552 / June 12, 2010 at 3:20 am / Reply

      … as does summary execution.

      • bh021552 / June 12, 2010 at 3:23 am / Reply

        … and so do systems without the death penalty. All, or nearly all of those have lower murder rates than the US does, too. But then, that is true of most countries anyway.

  47. James / May 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm / Reply

    Philip – It was nice of god to speak directly to governments and have people put to death. I wonder does he speak to the President, King, Emperor, or maybe your state sentator or maybe even your mayor. I guess that is what the government in Germany was doing. Following gods orders. More to your point. I think it is a scary thought for someone to have such blind faith in our government. It is pretty simple by your rules, as long as the government releases a statement “INNOCENT MISTAKE” any action is ok.

  48. philip / May 26, 2010 at 6:32 am / Reply

    Craig…. I never said that because it our judicial is better, it is ok to kill innocent people. It is wrong and a mistake. But all of the people in the above cases were never PROVEN innocent. Some just think they were. And they are entitled to their oppinion. I believe 100 percent in the Bible, and God institiuted government. He also gave government the right to judge and punish. God told governments to give the death penalty for certain offenses.

    Craig….. I BELIEVE ANYONE WHO MURDERS SHOULD GET THE DEATH PENALTY. I NEVER SAID IT WAS OK FOR AN INNOCENT PERSON TO BE PUT TO DEATH. AND THAT HAPPENS LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF THE TIME. If I intentionally kill someone then I deserve death.

    Just because our government makes a mistake doesn’t mean the death penalty should be banned.

    Craig… if you accidentally kill someone while you are driving, it doesn’t mean that that responsibility should be taken away from you. And the same is true with government. It doesn’t excuse your neglegence or the governments when INNOCENT mistakes are made. BUT IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THAT RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD BE BANNED.

    I would see you point of view if our government were intentionally killing innocent people. But they are not.

    • bh021552 / June 12, 2010 at 3:19 am / Reply

      Phillip, you miss the point. Our system assumes innocence until proven guilty, not the converse. In our system, people are not found “innocent”, they are found “not guilty”.

      So also, the title of the article is a misnomer for America. If we lived in Soviet Russia or any number of current dictatorships, you point would have merit.

    • Hyena / August 27, 2010 at 2:55 am / Reply

      “and God institiuted government.”

      Like in Iran or Saudi Arabia?

      Thankfully we have the First Amendment.

  49. Craig / May 26, 2010 at 1:59 am / Reply

    To Phillip, Mike, James and Monica…

    Phillip… your excuse for the execution of the innocent is that our justice system is better than that of Iran or some other hell-hole. Yes… I’m sure knowing they are being executed by a better system should make it all better.

    Mike… had you spent 10 seconds typing almost anything into any search engine on the web you could have easily come across a number of cases where DNA testing years after the fact exonerated a number of people who are now dead, and a great number now sitting on death row. In Illinois, the Cook County prosecutor was fire for torturing prisoners into confessing. This only came to light after too many people he convicted, some of which were executed or sitting on death row, were found to be innocent when DNA testing was conducted. Contrary to popular belief… DNA is not performed all the time. Even if test results prove a person’s innocence, it does not prevent them from getting convicted because the State is not always compelled to provide the results to the defense. Often, it takes another appeal to a higher court to overturn a conviction even when DNA testing proves someone else had to have committed the crime.

    James… you are a bit closer to the problem… it is our judicial system. Today, many judicial seats go to the person who raises the most money for the election, not to the most knowledgeable judge. As for jurors, it is not likely anyone you know will ever be convicted by 12 jurors of whom even one is a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or a CPA. The State does not want these people on the jury because they cannot be swayed from looking only at the logical facts. I am an engineer and have been called to jury duty two times. In both cases, the first and only question I was ever asked was, what did I do for a living? After answering working as a civil engineer, I was dismissed by the state from participating and sent home. I know I will never have to sit on a jury.

    Monica… I find your answer to the problem (increasing the rate and quantity of the killing) in competition for Phillip’s excuse, and some where in the neighborhood of “We need to kill then faster… and don’t worry… it will be good for the system?”

    I hope none of you ever have to be the one sitting on the hot seat… innocent, but sentenced to death anyway because no one gave a tinkers damn to find the real killer. But assuming none of you ever have to face such a fate… and assuming the innocent keep getting killed… what would you consider as an expectable number of deaths per year, per state? Moreover, which of you would be willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of the system? How about you Phillip?

  50. Hazel / May 26, 2010 at 1:40 am / Reply

    I agree with anyone aganist the death pentaly how dare anyone take anyone esle’s life . It’s not our duty or right to kill anyone not even for revenage I understand it could hurt us having our family and friends killed but not a god given right to kill another human being for a mistake or that have’s thier morals wrong. I hate reading these time if things I support punishment for your actions in jail but not death let our superior god be the judge of that not a flesh,blood,and heart beating person . Would you pull out a gun on someone that crashes your car or cuts you off no … Then why the extreme to have someone out of world put them in jail for life. For all I care but don’t take a life that you don’t deserve to take or right to do. Thank you

  51. philip / May 25, 2010 at 10:56 pm / Reply

    Zzzzz…. what was that OSMFAC? You said you were ACCUSSED…. but you were not CONVICTED!!! There’s a BIG difference. (Btw, we never said our judiciary was perfect. But it is the best in the world! Compair it to any other country in the world.)

    • Hyena / August 27, 2010 at 2:54 am / Reply

      I believe he said he did not lose his life. There was no mention of conviction in his statement regarding his false accusation, only the loss he suffered due to it.

  52. OSMFAC / May 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm / Reply

    Those of you who seem to believe there has never been a proven case of someone being wrongfully put to death need to get your heads out of your butts! Do a Google search for the innocence project and read up.

    The death penalty for those who give false testimony regarding those who are given the death penalty??…wow…really?? Maybe one day you will find yourself in the same position as the innocent men and women who have suffered at the hands of our wondrous justice system. I am all for punishing criminals, but I have been the falsely accused; I may not have lost my life, but I lost enough to make me wish I had.

  53. Fred Caldwell / May 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm / Reply

    In 1985 I was stabbed through the heart by a thief who stole a fishing knife from my shop. I do not have a soft spot for criminals. Prior to 1995, I believed if a person was found guilty of murder by 12 jurors, I would volunteer to pull the switch and rid the planet of the monster who committed the murder. But then, I and my family got a front row seat regarding HOW an innnocent person can be found guilty of 1st degree murder. I happened to be that person’s main alibi witness and was not permitted to take the stand at her trial. She’s in the 16th year of a 26 to life sentence for a crime she had nothing to do with. Her name is Cheri Lynn Dale. You can imagine how I feel about voting for the death penalty now.

    • DerpyHooves / October 26, 2012 at 1:11 am / Reply

      How were you stabbed through the heart and survived?

  54. James / May 25, 2010 at 7:19 pm / Reply

    I have not decided on where exactly I fall on the death penalty. Do I believe in it? Maybe, in a perfect judicial system, however, there has never been one and never will be. So if there is someone wrongly put to death. who would that person have to be to, not be worth having the penalty? Would that person be Summer Fey, Philip, Mike, Laverne, or even myself. 2 main points, is taken someones life away treated so non-chalantly now that if the wrong person is executed, Oops, sorry, no big deal, we will get it right next time. And, Who do you trust with your life or your childs life on the line? Do you trust your neighbor, the Governor, the school principle, the lady that cut you off driving and flipped you off? Is it easier to trust in people that you don’t know and are far removed from you? Or is it easy to trust in these people because it is not you that is being executed……..

  55. patti / May 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm / Reply

    BAN THE DEATH PENALTY.. if they are guilty life in prison with out possibility of parole is a harsh enough punishment, if they are inocent they can be set free

  56. Mike / May 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm / Reply

    I agree with James and Phillip. There has NEVER been a case of Capital Punishment that has been proven wrongful. What you present in this article does cast a doubt, but has no prof that some one was put to death unjustly.

  57. Monica / May 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm / Reply

    We need the death penalty. Laws need to be in place to deter lying witnesses. Such as death penalty to them if innocent has been put to death due to false testimony.

    We need more states to actually carry out the death penalty not less.

    99.99% deserve to be put to death due to heinous crimes. Period.

    • Hyena / August 27, 2010 at 2:51 am / Reply

      So, even though states with capital punishment have higher levels of violent crimes then states that do not? If all evidence points to the fact that capital punishment actually leads to an increase in violent crimes, what is the rationale?

  58. "Laverne" / May 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm / Reply

    I think I find “James” to be the most sound-headed comment here. Because he’s right…people don’t question…they don’t challenge the “experts” to provide any offerings of credibility…the assumption seems to be: “If they (the experts) are in a position of authority…then they must be right” Hmmm…does that mean that every school yard bully is “right”?…as they wield the authority of a Punk who rules through intimidation?

  59. "Laverne" / May 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm / Reply

    The theft of gift of life from a person is the most profound larceny in existence. People die every day for a multitude of reasons…foolishness seems to reign supreme…self-entitled, self-indulged egotists parade themselves as “experts”…assigning to THEMSELVES the right of judgment upon another…yet clearly they are flawed and in error.

    Lean ye not upon thine own understanding…but in all your ways acknowledge HIM and HE will direct your paths.

    Yet also…if you kill another…then so shall another kill you.

    You reap what you sow…it’s that simple. If they sow injustice…how great will their “reward” be? What “reward” comes to the unjust? Fire & brimstone…wailing…and gnashing of the teeth.

  60. philip / May 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm / Reply

    Summer fey…. its not about making someone feel pain. You are not reincarnated. Do you remember your “past” life?…. no. The murderer took a life that will never live again. So the murderer shouldn’t necessarily feel pain. He should lose his only life he has to live.

  61. philip / May 25, 2010 at 4:48 pm / Reply

    Oh. And I can tell mrskenl doesn’t read his Bible…. you obviously don’t realize how God approved of the killing of murderers… Gods law even said to kill thieves and those who used magic…

    • Alyssa / May 31, 2010 at 6:06 pm / Reply

      God also said to send the murders to him! How do you presume we do that if we don’t execute them.

    • Erika / August 17, 2010 at 11:23 pm / Reply

      The Bible also said we are not one to judge only he does. But as we all know there will be a judgment day and those people who were killed by the DP will be judge and those who accused them will pay eye for an eye. (per bible)

  62. Summer Fey / May 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm / Reply

    I do not believe the death penalty is a right thing to do. And two wrongs don’t make a right, either. Just because one person commits a wrong doesn’t mean another wrong should be committed by the court. “An eye for an eye” only leads to more blindness.
    Personally, I believe in reincarnation, and death gives you release and another chance to come back and do it right the next time. If you feel that someone should suffer punishment for committing a crime, then give them the sentence of life without parole. How much worse could it feel than to sit in a cell for the rest of your natural life and think about what you did?

  63. philip / May 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm / Reply

    All of these cases just proved they got out of the death penalty. It doesn’t prove that they were innocent. If you purposely take a life, you should lose your own.

    Our judiciary system is not perfect, but I dare you to compare it to any other judiciary system in the world. The law has the right to judge and kill. ALL people under the law (all US citizens) do not have the right to judge or kill.

    I say…. death penalty to all killer.

    • Hyena / August 27, 2010 at 2:49 am / Reply

      The government had the right to judge and kill in Nazi Germany and in Cambodia under the Khemer Rouge, too. How did that work out?

      Compare it with every other system in the world. Why does America have the largest prison population in the world? (And no state in the EU has capital punishment.)

  64. James / May 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm / Reply

    It is easy to give one side of the story here, and just have everyone believe that is exactly the way it is. Who wrote this and with what credibility? Being mere sheep starts at the lowest level. how many times have you heard for example “Police officers can’t talk on their cell phone while driving, its the law.” Well in fact in NY, Officers are exempt from that law. But ignorant people that are completely clueless, hear something from one of their clueless friends and quote it as fact and even live it as fact thinking that its true. Making judgements on any issue is very difficult, and then to use a statement like above as any basis without a name to look up and hold accountable borders on obscene.

  65. mrskenl / May 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm / Reply

    That’s why God tells us not to kill. Not even should we kill those in jail. Those who lost their lives will get their justice in the True ending of this world, unfortunately they had to pay an unfair price of their lives on this earth. But those who testified against them or didn’t speak up to correct it will also receive their just reward as well… hell fire.

    This is why I’m against the death penalty.

  66. Tiffany / May 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm / Reply

    It is a tragedy when someone who is innocent is put to death. However, this is our legal system flawed or not. Innocent until proven guilty by a jury of our peers. It is the responsibility of the lawyers to bring reasonable doubt. If the evidence is circumstantial as it seems to be in these cases, why could reasonable doubt be determined? There are more guilty then innocent on death row. Join a fight to save the innocent currently awaiting thier death sentence.

    • Brittany / December 14, 2010 at 8:41 pm / Reply

      I have a minor in Criminal Justice. What they taught me in college, is not what is being practiced in the courts. You are no longer innocent until proven guilty. It is now the accused job, to prove that he/she didn’t do, what they are being accused of. If there isn’t enough evidence supporting their claim of innocence, then off to the poky! Why is it, that judges can put a no contact order on two people and leave it on for as long as they want? It is politics. The more people in the system, the more jobs are needed to hold the system in place. I am for corpral punishment. You steal they cut your hand off! Jails are empty and people keep a real close eye on those one handed individuals. It works….make people accountable for their actions! OOOOps! Did I say a nonamerican thing? What would we do if the government wasn’t there to take care of us? Oh that’s right, what we used to do when we founded this country! Work our asses off and be proud of ourselves and our country and our freedoms. No lets just cry because the economy is in the toilet, because we are too good to do the jobs that we sent to the overpopulated and growing 3rd world countries. Obama might try to bring Socialism here, because he thinks we are dumb and lazy enough to fall for it, but there are still people like me that like a good fight!

  67. Jamie / May 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm / Reply

    I came here from an email entitled, “This Month’s News: The Dark Side of the Death Penalty”.

    What’s the light side of the DP?

  68. Sovereign Citizens / May 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm / Reply

    The problem is not with Capitol Punishment. The problem is with our justice system, too eager to get an conviction. The Capitol Punishment part is fine as long as your putting to death the real person that is guilty of taking ones life if they took another Man’s Sovereign Right to live. Hell, if we have the right guy, I dont want to pay for him otherwise if he is guilty, and otherwise will be taking up jail space for the rest of his life for him thinking its right to take ones life. No, Im sorry, I work hard for my money. I cant even enjoy the things I want to do with my money, I got to give it to my government so they can pay the people on welfare who thinks its okay to sit home all day, have fun, have sex, have baby’s so the working man can pay for it, and the people in jail that are unfit to be out. Now its how we convict them needs to be the process looked at here.

  69. EA / May 7, 2010 at 12:20 am / Reply

    I’m not even surprised.

  70. Tom Gadd / May 6, 2010 at 8:57 pm / Reply

    When the death penalty is involved, the failure of our justice system is especially heartbreaking. All the cases cited above have many, many more details which were not presented here. Some of the executed may have been mentally compromised or coerced or deceived into confessing. Some of the above may actually have been guilty of the crime for which they were executed. Abolishing the death penalty would not stop peoples’ lives from being wasted behind bars for a life sentence, even if they get out before their life has run out. Our justice system is the best system we have for determining guilt. Still, it sometimes fails, as all human systems do. There are other, more compelling reasons to abolish the death penalty. Irreversibility aside, has anyone considered that it may be a bad idea to allow the State to have the power of life and death over citizens when the State decides what a capital crime is?

    • Hyena / August 27, 2010 at 2:47 am / Reply

      I agree with everything stated, except the statement: “Our justice system is the best system we have for determining guilt.”

      I do agree that the United States has some very adept principles that have inspired the world regarding the rights of citizens and a fair trial. I think, in practice, it may not be as adept. Why does the United States have the largest prison population in the world?

      This does not mean I completely disagree with the statement, but that I don’t think it is unequivocal. It is possible that we just have penalties that are too harsh. Or maybe Americans are just criminal by nature. Maybe our culture produces criminal behavior. Or maybe we tend to find too many people guilty. (I don’t know.)

  71. Nay to death penalty / May 6, 2010 at 8:05 pm / Reply

    Yay death penalty.

    Way to go. Does even ONE innocent death still excuse it?

  72. Nova / May 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm / Reply

    Raise your hand if you think capital punishment is a good idea.

  73. anonymous / May 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm / Reply

    Wow.

Leave a Reply