New Jersey

NEW JERSEY – Exonerated death row survivors spread message to halt death penalty – Kirk Bloodsworth and Shujaa Graham

february 20, 2014

Two men who were on death row before being found to be wrongly accused spoke Thursday night in Newark at the invitation of advocates who would like to abolish the death penalty.

Kirk Bloodsworth and Shujaa Graham, members of Witness to Innocent, shared their experiences at the University of Delaware as part of a series of events supported by a group of local religious leaders and the Delaware Repeal Project.

In the coming days 15 members of Witness to Innocent will attend events at Delaware churches and community hubs, including the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington, in an effort to promote Senate Bill 19, which would end the death penalty in the state.

On Saturday, a group of local religious leaders plan to gather to call on state leaders to support the measure during an event at Limestone Presbyterian Church, 3201 Limestone Road, in Wilmington. The public is invited to gather at the church at noon Saturday to speak to members of Witness to Innocent, see a presentation and take part in a roundtable discussion.

Bloodsworth was the first person in the United States to be exonerated by DNA evidence, according to Witness to Innocent, where he serves as director of advocacy. In 1985 he was sentenced to death in Baltimore County, Md., for the murder and rape of a 9-year-old girl. A year later, DNA evidence revealed he was wrongly convicted, according to his profile on the Witness to Innocent website.

Graham was sentenced to death after the 1973 slaying of a prison gaurd in California, according to Witness to Innocent. His conviction was overturned in 1979 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Two years later he was found innocent and released, according to Witness to Innocent’s profile of Graham online.

Update : Autumn Pasquale Murder: Two Brothers Charged In Killing Of 12 Year Old New Jersey Girl


Two brothers have been charged with murder in the death of 12 year old Autumn Pasquale.

According to Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton, the brothers, ages 15 and 17, face a number of charges including first-degree murder, theft, conspiracy and tampering with evidence. At this point, the names of the two teen suspects are not being released.

At an afternoon press conference, Dalton said the brothers lured the young girl to their Clayton, N.J., home. Authorities allegedly found Autumn’s BMX bike and backpack in the brothers’ home. According to The Associated Press, one of the brothers traded in BMX bike parts.

Dalton said the boys’ mother played an important role in the case. She came forward with information she had seen on her son’s Facebook account, which ultimately led police to the boys, he said.

Police said the brothers turned themselves in to authorities on Tuesday.

Autumn disappeared on Saturday while riding her bike. Her body was found Monday in a recycling bin near her home.

“There’s evil everywhere, even in the small town of Clayton,” the girl’s great-uncle, Paul Spadofora, told reporters after the discovery.

An autopsy performed earlier Tuesday revealed Autumn died from blunt force trauma and strangulation. There were no signs of sexual assault, police said.

Police have not yet commented on a possible motive.

According to Dalton, Autumn would have turned 13 next week.

“This is a very sad day for the Pasquale family,” Dalton said. “Our hearts go out to the family and to all the residents of Clayton who stood together in support of this young girl.”


A 12-year-old girl disappeared on Saturday while riding her bike, and several agencies have been working night and day to find her.

Autumn Pasquale, of Clayton, N.J., was last seen leaving her home on a white Odyssey BMX bike at around 12:30 p.m., the South Jersey Times reports. Her parents, upon realizing she didn’t make it to a friend’s house, reported her missing at about 9:30 p.m.


Autumn Pasquale Missing

She’s described by posters on a Facebook page set up to help find her as blonde, 5-foot-2 and weighing 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing navy blue shorts underneath navy blue sweatpants, a yellow T-shirt with “Clayton Soccer” on front, and bright blue high-top sneakers.

If you have any information on her whereabouts, please call the Clayton Police Department at 856-881-2300.


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Death Penalty Methods, State by State

The death penalty laws in each state and the District of Columbia. Six states with the death penalty have not had an execution since 1976: Connecticut, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, NewYork and South Dakota.
ALABAMA – Lethal injection unless inmate requests electrocution
ALASKA – No death penalty
ARIZONA – Lethal injection for those sentenced after Nov. 15, 1992; others may select injection or lethal gas.
ARKANSAS – Lethal injection for those whose offense occurred after July 4, 1983; others may select injection or electrocution.
CALIFORNIA – Lethal injection unless inmate requests gas.

COLORADO – Lethal injection.

CONNECTICUT – Lethal injection.

DELAWARE – Lethal injection.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – No death penalty.

FLORIDA – Inmate may select lethal injection or electrocution.

GEORGIA – Lethal injection.

HAWAII – No death penalty.

IDAHO – Firing squad if lethal injection is”impractical.”

ILLINOIS – Lethal injection; electrocution authorized if injection is ever held to be unconstitutional.

INDIANA – Lethal injection.

IOWA – No death penalty.

KANSAS – Lethal injection.

KENTUCKY – Lethal injection for those convicted after March 31, 1998; others may select lethal injection or electrocution.

LOUISIANA – Lethal injection.

MAINE – No death penalty.

MARYLAND – Lethal injection for those whose offense occurred on or after March 25, 1994; others may select injection or gas.

MASSACHUSETTS – No death penalty.

MICHIGAN – No death penalty.

MINNESOTA – No death penalty.

MISSISSIPPI – Lethal injection.

MISSOURI – Lethal injection or lethal gas; statute leaves unclear whether decision to be made by inmate or director of state Department of Corrections.

MONTANA – Lethal injection.

NEBRASKA – Electrocution.

NEVADA – Lethal injection.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Hanging only if lethal injection cannot be given.

NEW JERSEY – Lethal injection.

NEW MEXICO – Lethal injection.

NEW YORK – Lethal injection.

NORTH CAROLINA – Lethal injection.

NORTH DAKOTA – No death penalty.

OHIO – Lethal injection.

OKLAHOMA – Electrocution if lethal injection is ever held to beunconstitutional; firing squad if both injection and electrocution are
held unconstitutional.

OREGON – Lethal injection.

PENNSYLVANIA – Lethal injection.

RHODE ISLAND – No death penalty.

SOUTH CAROLINA – Inmate may select lethal injection or electrocution.

SOUTH DAKOTA – Lethal injection.

TENNESSEE – Lethal injection for those sentenced after Jan. 1, 1999; others may select electric chair or injection.

TEXAS – Lethal injection.

UTAH – Lethal injection; firing squad available to inmates who chose it prior to passage of legislation this year banning the

VERMONT – No death penalty.

VIRGINIA – Inmate may select lethal injection or

WASHINGTON – Lethal injection unless inmate requests

WEST VIRGINIA – No death penalty.

WISCONSIN – No death penalty.

WYOMING – Lethal gas if lethal injection is ever held to be unconstitutional.