A Death Penalty Crimes List The Will Leave You Speechless

Crimes Punishable By Death

Death penalty crimes are part of a broader issue that has been debated for centuries, and there are many famous cases where the state executed people for crimes, some with more or more minor controversy.

Examples Of Death Penalty Crimes

The three most notable executions include Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, James Holmes, and Timothy McVeigh.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar got convicted for his involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing on 15 April 2013, where he killed three people (including an 8-year-old boy) and injured 264 others.

James Holmes

James received a death penalty conviction for killing 12 moviegoers at “The Dark Knight Rises” screening in Aurora, Colorado, on 20 July 2012.

Timothy McVeigh

Timothy was found guilty of detonating a truck bomb outside the Oklahoma City federal building on 19 April 1995.

Some other examples of famous death penalty crimes are:

Joseph Smith Jr.

Joseph Smith, Jr., convicted of killing three people in front of their children, was sentenced to death on 6 May 1994, and he was executed on 4 April 1995.

Michael Rafferty

Michael Rafferty, convicted of kidnapping and murdering eight-year-old Victoria (Tori) Stafford in Woodstock, Ontario, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole eligibility for 25 years on 29 October 2009.

Terri Lynn Rote

Terri Lynn Rote, convicted of shooting two Iowa police officers who had stopped her car because she had earlier flashed her lights at them and then sped away while trying to pull her over, was sentenced to death on 2 November 2017.

Potential Death Penalties For Crime

Capital crimes are contentious. They help argue for victims’ rights and an individual’s right to life. Many famous crimes could have led to the death penalty, including:

• The trial of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin in self-defense;

• The trial of Casey Anthony for killing her two-year-old daughter Caylee;

• The trials of OJ Simpson for murdering his wife and Ronald Goldman.

These cases have caused controversy about whether or not we should abolish the death penalty because it can be discriminatory against poor people and minority races.

However, some argue that the legal punishment of death for a crime is necessary to deter crime because criminals know they will get caught if they commit it.

Related: Examples Of Bad Leaders

How Popular Is The Death Penalty?

Many people are executed as a punishment for their crimes every day, while many get sentenced to death quickly. Some spend years in prison on death row, waiting for their execution without knowing when their life will end.

Over 70% of countries have abolished capital punishment as it is the cruelest, most inhuman, and undignified way of punishment.

However, many countries still have the death penalty in their constitution. The US is one of these countries where death is a legal penalty under the criminal justice system, as Trump restarted it after a 17-year pause.

Brandon Bernard Sentenced To Death

On 10 November, the US federal government executed Brandon Bernard, making him the 9th person to be executed since July.

Bernard, a Texas street gang member, was just 18 when imprisoned in 1999 for slaying Stacie and Todd Bagley in Texas.

Robert Owen, Bernard’s defense attorney, made every attempt to change his execution order into a life sentence. Owen also sent a clemency petition to President Trump.

Despite the clemency request from legal experts and activists, 40-year-old Bernard was put to death on Thursday night by lethal injection.

The execution of the youngest person in the country during the last 70 years attracted celebrities, legal experts, and anti-death penalty activists across America.

Bernard’s defense attorney, Robert Owen, called his execution “a stain on America’s  criminal justice system.”  

Should Capital Punishment Be Abolished?

According to activists, there should be no crimes eligible for the death penalty as it is inhuman and against human rights. It causes severe suffering and torture to the prisoners. Lethal injections used to kill convicts have the highest error rate.

Crimes that the death penalty can punish are discriminatory and do not offer blind justice. According to Mental Health America, almost 5-10% of prisoners waiting for execution have mental illnesses.

Apart from mental health, 40% of convicts waiting for judgment in these crimes that get the death penalty are Black, even though Blacks make up only 13% of US.

According to the United Nations, poor people are highly affected by crimes that constitute the death penalty as they can not afford representation to defend themselves.

Final Word On The Death Penalty

Bernard’s execution arose a wave of anger among the Americans. They also called for criminal justice reforms by terminating the death penalty, as many advanced countries did.

Consider Canada’s example; the murder rate dropped by 44% since the government stopped the execution. 

If we remove the idea of capital crimes, it won’t reduce America’s crime rate. We also need reforms in the criminal justice system to ensure non-discriminatory justice.


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