Two inmates to be put to death in Texas,
Missouri, as overall U.S. executions drop
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[October 28, 2014]
By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - Two U.S. inmates
convicted of murder as teenagers are scheduled to be put to death on
Tuesday and early Wednesday at a time when the number of executions in
the United States is on pace to be the lowest in two decades.
Texas plans to execute Miguel Paredes, 32, who was convicted with
two co-defendants of killing three people in 2000.
In Missouri, Mark Christeson, 35, is scheduled to die by lethal
injection early on Wednesday. He was convicted of killing a woman
and her two children 16 years ago.
The number of executions is likely to total about 35 in the United
States this year, which would be the lowest number since 31 inmates
were put to death in 1994, according to the Death Penalty
Information Center, which monitors capital punishment.
There were 39 executions in the United States last year.
The yearly number of executions since the U.S. Supreme Court
reinstated the death penalty in 1976 peaked at 98 in 1999.
Difficulties with carrying out the death penalty and the high cost
of prosecutions have helped drive the numbers lower in recent years,
analysts have said.
Troubled executions in Oklahoma, Arizona and other states this year
forced officials to review new combinations of lethal injection
drugs and caused lawyers representing death row inmates to question
whether the new mixes violated U.S. constitutional protections
against cruel and unusual punishment.
Oklahoma has delayed until 2015 three executions planned for this
year to implement new death penalty protocols following errors in an
Paredes and two co-defendants were convicted of fatally shooting
rival gang members Adrian Torres, Nelly Bravo and Shawn Cain. The
victims' bodies were rolled in a carpet, taken to a remote area near
San Antonio and set on fire, the Texas Attorney General's Office
READY TO DIE
Parades was 18 at the time of the killings and was jailed as a minor
for murder. His co-defendants received life sentences.
Paredes told the San Antonio Express-News he was ready to die for
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"For me, what matters is that people really get to see the reality
of the death penalty, that it's affecting people that are invisible,
like my son, my loved ones, my family. They're the ones really
carrying that burden," he told the paper in an interview published
over the weekend.
Christeson was convicted of killing Susan Brouk, her 9-year-old son
and her 12-year-old daughter in 1998 near her home in southern
Christeson and his cousin broke into the home and raped Brouk,
according to court documents. They then took the Brouks to a pond
where Christeson cut the throats of the mother and son and threw
them into the water. They suffocated the daughter and threw her into
Christeson's attorneys argued in an appeal to the Supreme Court on
Monday that his court-appointed attorneys had abandoned him and
failed to meet deadlines for appeals.
Seventeen former judges have filed a brief with the Supreme Court
supporting a stay of execution based on problems with Christeson's
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas and Carey Gillam in
Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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