Photos: Ten executions gone horribly wrong on World Day to End the Death Penalty
At 10 a.m. in the State Capitol, capital punishment opponents, including Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, will commemorate World Day to End the Death Penalty. Among other things, the event is scheduled to feature "reflections of the death
Big photos below.
penalty's biased and unjust application." But what about when executions go wrong? That's the subject of the following post, first published in April: It highlights nine startling stories assembled by CU Professor Michael Radelet, plus one shocker from Westword's archives. Get the details below.
Note that the text for the following items is culled from Radelet's item "Examples of Post-Furman Botched Executions," shared by the Death Penalty Information Center, except the final item, derived from Alan Prendergast's 2012 post "Eddie Ives's botched execution and replacing the noose with the gas chamber."
Frank J. Coppola
August 10, 1982. Virginia. Frank J. Coppola. Electrocution. Although no media representatives witnessed the execution and no details were ever released by the Virginia Department of Corrections, an attorney who was present later stated that it took two 55-second jolts of electricity to kill Coppola. The second jolt produced the odor and sizzling sound of burning flesh, and Coppola's head and leg caught on fire. Smoke filled the death chamber from floor to ceiling with a smoky haze.
Frank James Coppola.
Jimmy Lee Gray
Sept. 2, 1983. Mississippi. Jimmy Lee Gray. Asphyxiation. Officials had to clear the room eight minutes after the gas was released when Gray's desperate gasps for air repulsed witnesses. His attorney, Dennis Balske of Montgomery, Alabama, criticized state officials for clearing the room when the inmate was still alive. Said noted death penalty defense attorney David Bruck, "Jimmy Lee Gray died banging his head against a steel pole in the gas chamber while the reporters counted his moans (eleven, according to the Associated Press)." Later it was revealed that the executioner, Barry Bruce, was drunk.
Jimmy Lee Gray.
Continue for more examples of executions gone horribly wrong.