Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Romeo and the Death Penalty

Contributed by Dana Willhoit - Posted: January 7, 2008 9:58:29 AM

Edward Romeo, whose trial starts this week in the first-degree murder of 16-year-old runaway Rachael Martina, could face the death penalty if convicted. But even if the judge hands down a death sentence, would Romeo ever actually be executed?

These days that seems debatable. As of right now, the average stay on death row is 13.9 years. Nobody has been executed in Florida since December, 2006, when then-Gov. Jeb Bush ordered a temporary halt to all executions in Florida after problems occurred during the execution of Angel Diaz.

And today, the United States Supreme Court is debating whether the current methods of lethal injection are cruel and unusual. Specifically, they are considering the appeals of two inmates from Kentucky, but the majority of the states that have the death penalty use the same method of lethal injection as Kentucky.

George Wallace Brown was the most recent Polk County inmate on death row to die - but not by lethal injection. He died of natural causes. After being on death row for 16 years.
Dana Willhoit can be reached at dana.willhoit@theledger.com or 863-533-9070

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