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News Scan

Move to Bring Back Firing Squad in Utah: A Utah lawmaker has announced his interest in reviving the firing squad as an option for executions. The Associated Press reports that Rep. Paul Ray believes that the firing squad is a more humane form of execution and is joined by lawmakers in other states who suggest that it is also the cheapest method. Utah eliminated the firing squad as a method of execution in 2004, however, inmates sentenced to death prior to that date still can choose it as an option. 

Jurors Outraged Over Killer's Early Release: A Texas man sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an elderly woman has been released from prison early, a decision that has upset some of the jurors who found him guilty nearly 20 years ago.  The Associated Press reports that Bernie Tiede was found guilty in the 1996 murder of an 81-year-old widow who body was found in a freezer at her home nine months after her disappearance.  Tiede wasn't supposed to be eligible for parole until 2027, but the District Attorney presiding over the case supported his early release citing new evidence indicating that Tiede was abused as a child. 

Alabama to Allow Death Penalty for Killers Who Violate Protection Orders: A new Alabama law passed earlier this year will allow the state's courts to sentence a murderer to death if the victim had a protection-from-abuse (PFA) order against the murderer prior to their death.  The Associated Press reports that the law, which goes into effect in July, was designed to protect people who have been involved in an abusive relationship.  The law has been named "Kelley's Law" in memory of Kelley Rutledge-Johnson, who was murdered in 2001 by her estranged husband who was barred from contacting her by a PFA.

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