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News Scan

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Woman Who Stabbed Husband 193 Times Resentenced:  Resentencing began today in the case against Susan Wright, convicted in a Texas court for the 2003 murder of her husband, reports The Houston Chronicle.  After stabbing her husband in their bed 193 times, Wright buried his body in the backyard.  She was originally sentenced to 25 years, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the punishment based on penalty phase ineffective assistance of counsel.  Her attorneys are expected to argue that Wright killed her husband in "sudden passion," which would cap her possible sentence at 20 years.

Los Angeles County Chips Away at Rape Kit Backlog:  Los Angeles county is on track towards eliminating its 5,000 backlogged rape kits by June 2011, according to the county sheriff's department.  Once the backlog is cleared, the county plans to implement a new system with improved inventory and testing procedures.  The Los Angeles Times has this story.

An Officer and a Serial Killer:  AP writer Charmaine Noronha reports an esteemed officer in the Canadian Air Force pleaded guilty today to murdering two women, sexually assaulting two others, and stealing underwear from dozens of women's bedrooms.  Until his arrest earlier this year, Col. Russell Williams served as commander of Canada's largest Air Force base.  But prosecutors today exposed his disturbing secret life, presenting photographs of Williams adorned in and engaged in sex acts with the stolen panties.  Warning the jury that the sentencing phase trial will include "extremely disturbing" evidence, prosecutors also claim Williams videotaped the murders and assaults.  Indicative of the shock felt by the Canadian military, one of Williams's former superiors referred to the officer/serial killer as "a very twisted individual."

Fed. Judge Grants Stay of Execution for Missouri Inmate:   A federal judge in Kansas City today granted a stay of execution for Roderick Nunley, a Missouri inmate scheduled to die on Wednesday.  In 1989, Nunley and a co-conspirator abducted, raped, and stabbed to death 15-year-old Ann Harrison.  Nunley pleaded guilty in an attempt to avoid the death penalty, but was sentenced to death by a county judge in 1991 (and later resentenced to death in 1994 after a Missouri Supreme Court ruling).  Nunley's last minute appeals concern his right to a jury and the Missouri three-drug execution method.  The state attorney general is appealing the stay to the Eighth Circuit.  Read the AP's story here.

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What is wrong with the judge staying this Missouri execution? Why do victims' families have to go through with this. At some point, the federal courts need to lose habeas power in death cases.

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