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News Scan

Iowa Senator Seeks to Reinstate Death Penalty: The Associated Press reports Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson (R) announced he plans on introducing legislation to reinstate the death penalty in January. The move was prompted by the discovery of the bodies of two young girls, 8- and 10-years-old, who had been missing since July. Currently in Iowa, the most serious cases of kidnapping or rape, like murder, allow for a life sentence. Sorenson argues the state needs a more severe punishment to deter criminals from killing their victims. The state repealed the death penalty in 1965.

FL Set to Execute Ex-Officer Turned Killer:
The Associated Press reports ex-police officer Manuel Pardo is set to be executed Tuesday night at the Florida State Prison. Pardo was convicted of killing nine people during a crime spree that lasted three months. Pardo was fired from the Florida Highway Patrol in 1979 for falsifying traffic tickets.  He was fired from another Florida police agency in 1986 for lying to a court in the Bahamas for a colleague on trial for drug smuggling. After being fired, Pardo went on a crime spree killing six men and three women during a series of robberies. He argued that he was doing society a service by killing his victims, most of whom were involved in drugs. 

AR Killer Strangles Cellmate: Justin Lewis of KATV News reports that convicted murderer Robert Holland used a bed sheet to strangle his cellmate to death Friday in Arkansas. Holland was serving a life without parole sentence for murder since November 1991. His victim was serving 48-months for failing to register as a sex offender, and would have been parole eligible on March 15. 

DNA Links IL Inmate to Unsolved Murder:
Frank Main and Jon Seidel of the Chicago Sun-Times report inmate Michael Escort has been charged with murder in Illinois. Escort allegedly raped, beat, and strangled a woman to death in an abandoned building in 1989. His DNA was matched last week to a sample taken from the victim at the crime scene. Escort was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault in 1991, and was eligible for parole Dec. 23. 

No Death Sentences in NC  This Year: The Associated Press reports no murderers have been sentenced to death in North Carolina in 2012. Despite the state sentencing 400 to death and executing 43 since adopting a death penalty law in 1977, this is the first time no one was sent to death row in any given year. The state has sentenced 24 murderers to death since 1999.  Executions have been on hold since 2006 due to a pending lawsuit challenging the role of doctors in executions.

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