Capital punishment just ain’t working.

It’s bad enough that we keep killing innocent people, but the totally insane? That’s just not right. From the AP:

The Richmond federal appeals court has put off execution for death row inmate Percy Walton until a lower court fully addresses claims that he is mentally retarded and insane.


The ruling noted that Doctor Ruben Gur, director of the brain behavior center at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Walton once expressed a desire to “get a Burger King” after his execution.

This guy came just three days from being put to death.

Virginians Against the Death Penalty reports that the guy keeps nothing in his cell other than a big pile of packets of salt, sugar, and pepper. He refuses to bathe. Guards call him “Horse,” short for “Crazy Horse.” He thinks that he’s invisible when he closes his eyes. He has insisted to his lawyers that he doesn’t mind being put to death, since he’ll come back to life.

Man, oh, man.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

2 replies on “Capital punishment just ain’t working.”

  1. “It’s bad enough that we keep killing innocent people, but the totally insane?”

    I dunno, I think it’s a lot worse to kill an innocent person. This individual, though pitiful, is pretty much useless. At least an innocent person has a possibility of contributing something to society.

    Virginians Against the Death Penalty say:

    “Four of the most recent grants of clemency to death row inmates nationally have been based on the inmate’s extreme mental illness … reflect[ing] a greater understanding of the ravages of severe schizophrenia, its biological cause, and the need for compassion and treatment rather than condemnation for sufferers.”

    The need for compassion and treatment, rather than condemnation? By that logic, why even put Walton in jail?

    I understand not executing him (because I am against the death penalty in almost all cases; excepting, say, high treason or genocide). And I do think he deserves some pity. But, I mean, he killed an 80-year-old couple for no reason and needs to be separated from society, not just given inpatient mental healthcare.

  2. You’re quite right, he should never see the outside of a prison again, sane or insane. Yes, given that he’s plainly insane, he does deserve treatment and to be treated humanly. That said, he’s plainly wicked dangerous and needs to be separated from society for society’s sake.

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