In brief: March 2023


In Texas, corrections officials executed two men this month, Gary Green and Arthur Brown, Jr. Texas has killed five men this year. With last week’s withdrawal of the March 30 death warrant for Anibal Canales, Jr., its last execution scheduled for this year is set for April 26, when the state plan to kill Ivan Cantu.

Brown was sentenced to death for killing four people in Houston in 1992. He maintained his innocence until he died, insisting that prosecutors withheld evidence indicating he was not the shooter, the Texas Tribune reports

Green was sentenced to death for the 2009 killing of his estranged wife, Loretta Armstead, and her daughter, Jazzmen Montgomery. CBS News reports that Green’s legal team did not file appeals to halt his execution and that Green apologized to his victims’ family members stating that he killed “two people that we all loved, and I had to live with that while I was here.”

In Idaho, a federal judge granted a stay of execution for Gerald Pizzuto, Jr., who was set to be killed today. The Idaho Statesman reports this was the second time a death warrant for Pizzuto was canceled. His last expired in December because the state could not obtain lethal injection drugs; this month’s was stayed to give Judge B. Lynn Winmill time to review filings in the case. According to the Statesman, this was the fifth time overall that the state has tried to kill Pizzuto since his 1986 conviction. The 66-year-old Pizzuto was convicted of the 1985 murders of Berta Herndon and her nephew Del Herndon.

Also in Idaho, the House passed a bill earlier this week allowing the state to kill people sentenced to death by firing squad, CNN reported. HB 186 restricts the use of firing squads to cases in which lethal injection drugs aren’t available or when a court rules that lethal injection executions are unconstitutional. The bill, which has a veto-proof majority, now goes to the governor. The last firing squad execution in the U.S. was in Utah in 2010. South Carolina, Mississippi, and Oklahoma also permit execution by firing squad.

In New York, a jury in the federal death penalty trial of Sayfully Saipov, found guilty of driving a truck onto a New York City bike path, killing eight people, in 2017, saying he was motivated by Isis, voted for a life without parole sentence instead of death earlier this month. Saipov will be sent to the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado after he is formally sentenced. This was the first capital case prosecuted by DOJ since President Biden took office. Despite Biden’s stated opposition to the death penalty and Attorney General Merrick Garland’s moratorium on federal executions, DOJ continues to pursue death sentences.

However, U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday that they will no longer seek the death penalty for a Minnesota man already on death row but awaiting resentencing for the kidnapping and killing of college student Dru Sjodin in 2003, theMidland Daily News reports.


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