Friday, April 20, 2012

Delaware executes another 'volunteer'

The 15th Execution of 2012

Shannon M. Johnson volunteered to be executed. Delaware law mandates executions occur by lethal injection between 12:01 a.m. and 3 a.m. Johnson was pronounced dead at 2:55 a.m. , according to the USA Today.

Ever since Johnson was found guilty in 2008 of the murder of Cameron Hamlin, he has told any attorney, court or jury that would listen to hurry up and put him to death. Even though Johnson wanted to die his sister, Lakeisha Truitt, had led an effort to spare his life with the aid of the Federal Defenders office.

After gaining a stay for the second time in three days from a U.S. District Court judge late Thursday, it appeared Johnson might be spared.

But an appeals court judge's decision to allow the execution and the 2:15 a.m. decision by the full 3rd District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to not hear Johnson's case ended the legal challenges, reported the USA Today.

No one from Johnson's family was at the execution, according to Department of Correction officials, or spoke at the briefing at Vaughn Correctional Center near Smryna.

In the death chamber, Johnson did not appear to look at the witnesses after the curtains were opened. Johnson could be seen strapped to a table with his arms outstretched.He never raised his head to look around, though he could be seen blinking and licking his lips. He stared straight up at the ceiling, reported the USA Today.

When Warden Perry Phelps told him it was time for his last words, he spoke briefly in a low voice that none of the media witnesses was able to hear. "Loyalty is important. Without loyalty you have nothing. Death before dishonor," said Johnson, according to the Department of Correction.

A few moments after he stopped speaking his chest began to heave for a few seconds, then slowed and stopped. He did not appear to move again after that point.

According to the USA Today, Hamlin was an aspiring musician who had begun dating Johnson's ex-girlfriend, mother of a child by Johnson, in September 2006. On the evening of Sept. 24, 2006, Johnson shot and killed Hamlin as he sat in a car with the woman, who was able to escape. He then stalked the woman and on Nov. 10, 2006, he assaulted her and fired a gun at her. Prosecutors said the only reason he stopped the assault and fled is because his gun jammed.

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