North Carolina will find itself in the national spotlight later this month with three - count 'em - three instances of state-sponsored killing on three successive Fridays. The story is all over the internets.
The first scheduled execution this year is on Jan. 26 for Marcus Reymond Robinson, 33, who was convicted in the June 1991 murder and robbery of Erik Tornblom. His attorneys plan to appeal to Gov. Mike Easley for clemency Wednesday. Easley spokeswoman Renee Hoffman acknowledged that the governor has received a request from Robinson's attorneys about a moratorium on the death penalty but declined additional comment.
James Edward Thomas, 51, is scheduled to be executed Feb. 2 for the 1987 killing of Teresa Ann West and James Adolph Campbell, 45, is scheduled to be put to death Feb. 9. Campbell was sentenced to death for the slaying of Katherine Price in 1993.
The state has scheduled three executions in a row before, the last time in late 2005, when Steven McHone and Elias Syriani were killed in successive weeks. Court action delayed an execution scheduled for the next week.
Keith Acree, a spokesman for the state Department of Correction, said he recalled other incidents of inmates being executed in successive weeks. "If you go back to the 1940s, you can find multiple executions on the same day, sometimes three a day," Acree said.
Gee, Keith, doesn't it just make you wish for the good old days?
As happens every time, these killings will be carried out in the wee hours, hidden from public view, as though the dark of night somehow sanctifies the act, makes it less heinous, less appalling. Shouldn't those who believe in state-sponsored executions be proud of doing their civic duty? Why aren't they pushing for guillotines in our town squares, with We the People gathering round for all their blood lust and festivities?