Well, I guess if you patted his shoulder that made it okay…
I tend to lean against capital punishment and it’s things like this that almost make me topple over and start to spin:
A murderer whose claims of mental retardation were rejected in court was executed Wednesday after struggling with guards and pleading for his life until the last moment.
Lewis Williams, 45, was put to death by injection for fatally shooting a 76-year-old woman during a robbery at her Cleveland home in 1983. Four guards were needed to lift the 117-pound Williams from his knees and pry his hand off the edge of a table before carrying him into the death chamber. As he was strapped to the execution table, he cried, “I’m not guilty. God, help me.”
At least nine guards restrained him as they prepared his arms and inserted needles. One guard standing at his head alternately restrained him and patted his right shoulder to comfort him.
Williams kept pleading even as the warden pulled the microphone away after his final official statement: “God, please help me. God, please hear my cry.” He was pronounced dead at 10:15 a.m.
Here’s Amnesty International on the late Lewis Williams.
…one of the three judges on the Sixth Circuit issued a strong dissent on the Williams case. She wrote that his trial lawyers’ preparation for the sentencing phase had been “wholly inadequate”, and that if they had “simply discussed Williams’s life with core family members” they would likely have discovered mitigating evidence of his dysfunctional and abusive family background. This included the sexual molestation by a cousin at the age of five; physical abuse â€“ whippings three to four times a week, including with extension cords â€“ that Williams was subjected to as a child by his father; his witnessing of the physical abuse of his mother by his stepfather; his father’s drug abuse and Lewis Williams’s own resort to illegal drugs, including cocaine, by the age of 13, and Lewis Williams’s low IQ (at the age of 11, his IQ was assessed as 76, indicating possible borderline mental retardation).
The federal judge also wrote that if the trial lawyers “had taken the time to obtain Williams’s school, juvenile, and treatment records”, they would have discovered that his mother had sought psychological treatment for him at the age of 11. The boy had begun running away from home around the age of eight or nine. The jury heard extensive evidence that Williams had been in trouble with the law as a juvenile, but were given none of the mitigating background that could help to explain it. The Sixth Circuit judge wrote that if the trial lawyers had investigated fully, they would have found evidence that the juvenile justice system had failed to meet his psychological and emotional needs.
The judge concluded that a description of Lewis Williams’s background “might well have influenced the jury’s appraisal of Williams’s moral culpabilityâ€¦
(thanks to Bonnie for the link)