Texas executes Napoleon

The death sentence was carried out for 25-year-old Napoleon Beazley in Texas. The man was given a lethal injection.

Capital punishment stirred much dispute in the USA long ago, but this time, the issue caused an even active debate.

Napoleon Beazley committed a crime at the age of 17. Eight years ago, in 1994, Beazley killed John Luttig, 63, the father of a federal judge during a carjacking of the man’s Mercedes.

It was his first crime, which, at the same time, was his last one. Napoleon Beazley had never been arrested before and never was a witness at legal proceedings. Beazley was known as a good student and an athlete in Grapeland; he also regularly attended the church. People usually described him as kind, polite, respectful, courteous, etc.

One of Napoleon’s tutors was a witness during the trial. His words were, “Good people sometimes do awful things, but they should not be so severely punished.”

Right after committing the crime, Beazley told his friends that he “had made an awful mistake” and participation in the killing was “the stupidest thing he had ever done.” The man also mentioned how he was struck with the thing he had done, and he said that “he thought the killing each day.” Napoleon Beazley spent eight years in a cell reading and writing, trying to reconcile himself with his conscience.

Before the execution of the death sentence, 25-year-old Beazley made a written statement, to repeat once again, that the crime had been really very awful. “Eight years ago, I committed a crime that I so much regret now. It's my fault," Beazley wrote. "I violated the law. I violated this city, and I violated a family — all to satisfy my own misguided emotions. I'm sorry. I wish I had a second chance to make up for it, but I don't."

In his words, John Luttig was dead, but he, Napoleon Beazley was alive and would be happy for the chance to turn over a new leaf, to live honestly. “Nobody will benefit from this capital punishment," the young man wrote. International and American law enforcement organizations made a harsh protest against the practice of Texas putting youths to death for crimes they committed while under age. It was stated that the death sentence for youths disagrees with fundamental principles of US Justice, which calls for punishment adequate to extent of one’s guilt and leaves the death sentence for “the worst from the worst.” Youth is a transition period of our life; the time when cognitive abilities, emotions, opinions, control over emotions, identity, and even the brain are still in progress. Indeed, immaturity is the reason why we do not let people under eighteen to assume responsibilities pertaining to adult life, such as military service, voting, signing contracts, drinking alcohol, etc.

Many organizations, such as the American Bar Association, American Psychiatric Association, Children's Defense Fund, National Mental Health Association, Child Welfare League of America, and American Society for Adolescent Psychology, protest against the death sentence for youth. Like the UN, the EU Human Rights Commission, the Council of Europe, and the Vatican also made their strictest protests against the execution of youth.

However, despite the great support of the world community, Napoleon Beazley was convicted to die in Texas. Texas is one of the US’s five states where under-age criminals are sentenced to death. Ten executions were carried out in Texas since 1976. Eight more convicted prisoners are waiting for execution in jail. US President George W.Bush, while the governor Texas governor, passed 131 death sentences. Napoleon Beazley became number 132.

Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru

Photo from BBC archives

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/29/41913.html

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