Day: March 1, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Joe D’Ambrosio becomes 140th person exonerated from death row

 Tell governor Kasich

Time out on Executions in Ohio

Joe D’Ambrosio has just become the 140th death row exoneree, and the sixth man exonerated from                    Ohio’s death row. Joe was wrongfully convicted of murdering 19-year old Anthony Klann in Cuyahoga County in 1989. Following a 2006 ruling that overturned his conviction, Joe was eventually freed in March 2010 and all charges were dismissed.

Since March 2010, prosecutors and the attorney general’s office have been appealing the dismissal but appeals courts have upheld the ruling.  The exoneration is made official because today (January 23, 2012) the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal by prosecutors.

Ohioans to Stop Executions and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty welcome Joe to freedom, and congratulate everyone on the legal team and everyone else who has stood by Joe and advocated for him all of these years.

Now it is time to Take Action!

Joe D’Ambrosio’s conviction was overturned because Cuyahoga County prosecutors withheld ten pieces of evidence that would have exonerated D’Ambrosio at his 1989 trial and implicated another man in the crime. Instead Joe spent twenty-one years on Ohio’s death row for a crime prosecutors knew he did not commit.

It’s crystal clear that executions must stop in Ohio.  No one should be executed under a system of justice while that very system is being closely examined to assess its fairness and accuracy.

This exoneration comes at a time when Ohio is already examining the many aspects of Ohio’s capital punishment system. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor recently established a Joint Task Force for this purpose which has just begun its work. The Joint Task Force should be allowed to operate without the undue pressure of ongoing executions. Currently, Ohio has at least six executions scheduled over the next year.

Today, Ohioans to Stop Executions again calls on Governor John Kasich to issue an immediate moratorium on all executions until the Ohio Supreme Court’s Joint Task Force completes its thorough review of Ohio’s death penalty system.

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TEXAS – Last hour of George Rivas- execution February 29, 2012 – EXECUTED 6.22 p.m

Last statement

Yes, I do. First of all for the Aubrey Hawkins family, I do apologize for everything that happened. Not because I am here, but for closure in your hearts. I really believe that you deserve that. To my wife, Cheri, I am so grateful you’re in my life. I love you so dearly. Thank you to my sister and dear friend Katherine Cox, my son and family, friends and family. I love you so dearly. To my friends, all the guys on the row, you have my courtesy and respect. Thank you to the people involved and to the courtesy of the officers. I am grateful for everything in my life. To my wife, take care of yourself. I will be waiting for you. I love you. God Bless. I am ready to go

Aubrey Hawkins, the police officer killed by t...

Aubrey Hawkins, the police officer killed by the Texas Seven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5:59p George Rivas will be strapped to a gurney, arms extended, and an IV for the lethal injection will be inserted in both arms. Once He’s strapped down, the warden will call for witnesses to enter the two observation rooms.

5:58p Once witnesses are in place, guards will ask George Rivas if he wants to make a final statement. He said he did.

5:48p Guards move George Rivas from his holding cell, 15 feet to the execution chamber. The lethal injection procedure is scheduled to begin a few minutes after six o’clock.

5:22p One of George Rivas’ four witnesses did not appear for his execution. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins will attend instead.

5:03p Three drugs are used in the lethal injection cocktail. That used to cost about $86, but the price has recently skyrocketed to more than $1,300 because the state has been forced to resort to a more expensive substitute for one of the drugs being used.

5:01p “I met with him a few minutes ago along with the warden and the chaplain, and Rivas stated that he’s… all these years he’s made it clear that he’s ready to go,” said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “He did say that he was going to make a last statement.” Rivas is said to have made several personal calls from a phone provided by the prison, He asked five friends to witness his lethal injection.

4:50p More than 15 Irving police officers are standing outside the Walls Unit where George Rivas will soon be executed for killing Irving Officer Aubrey Hawkins on Christmas Eve 2000.

4:42p The widow of Irving police Officer Aubrey Hawkins, who was killed by George Rivas, will not attend the execution. She told News 8 that she felt no closure after being present at the last execution of a Texas 7 gang member in 2009.

4:40p George Rivas was served barbequeue chicken for his final meal, just like the other inmates at the Walls Unit.

4:30p George Rivas’ appeals have all been denied. Clemency is denied. The state says attorneys for the convicted killer do not plan a last-minute challenge to the scheduled 6 o’clock execution.