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Two of the farthest left black members of Congress are calling for a reprieve for Dylan Roof, the white supremacist who shocked America by shooting nine people after praying with them in Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel Church.
Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush — both members of the so-called ‘squad’ of progressive Democratic representatives — have called on new president Joe Biden to save the lives of Roof and 48 others currently on federal death row.
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could also be spared if Biden agrees to the move. His death sentence was overturned on appeal and the Supreme Court is currently weighing whether to take up his case for a final decision.
The plea from Pressley and Bush — supported by 35 Democrats in the House, including Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman — comes after former president Donald Trump ordered the execution of 13 killers in his last weeks in office in a legally mandated capital punishment spree unprecedented in modern times.
Before that flourish, only three federal prisoners have been put to death since 1963, the most notable being Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001.
‘State-sanctioned murder is not justice, and the death penalty, which kills black and brown people disproportionately, has absolutely no place in our society,’ said Pressley whose Massachusetts district covers the spot where the marathon bomb exploded, killing three and injuring hundreds more.
Two of the farthest left black members of Congress are calling for a reprieve for Dylan Roof (pictured), the white supremacist who shocked America by shooting nine people after praying with them in Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel Church
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (pictured) could also be spared if Biden agrees to the move. His death sentence was overturned on appeal and the Supreme Court is currently weighing whether to take up his case for a final decision
Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush — both members of the so-called ‘squad’ of progressive Democratic representatives — have called on new president Joe Biden to save the lives of Roof and 49 others currently on federal death row
Biden is known to oppose the death penalty and is unlikely to allow it during his term in office, but Bush and Pressley are pushing him to commute the sentences making it impossible for any future president to order their deaths
THE 35 HOUSE DEMS WHO WANT BIDEN TO COMMUTE DEATH ROW KILLERS’ SENTENCES
Jake Auchincloss (Mass.)
Karen Bass (Calif.)
Donald Beyer (Va.)
Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)
Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.)
Danny Davis (Ill.)
Diana DeGette (Colo.)
Dwight Evans (Penn.)
Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)
Alcee Hastings (Fla.)
Pramila Jayapal (Wash.)
Hank Johnson (Ga.)
Mondaire Jones (NY)
Ro Khanna (Calif.)
Barbara Lee (Calif.)
Andy Levin (Mich.)
Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)
Alan Lowenthal (Calif.)
Donald McEachin (Va.)
Marie Newman (Ill.)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.)
Mark Pocan (Wisc.)
Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
Haley Stevens (Mich.)
Bennie Thompson (Miss.)
Rashida Tlaib (Mich.)
Paul Tonko (N.Y.)
Ritchie Torres (N.Y.)
David Trone (Md.)
Juan Vargas (Calif.)
Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.)
Peter Welch (Vt.)
Nikema Williams (Ga.)
Two other notorious white nationalist murderers, Christopher Cramer and Ricky Fackrell would also be spared if their bid is successful.
Among the others are Chicago’s ‘Medicare Murderer’ Ronald Mikos, Kaboni Savage who was behind a spectacular firebomb attack in Philadelphia and dirty New Orleans cop Len Davis who ordered a hit on a woman who witnessed him beating a suspect.
Biden is known to oppose the death penalty and is unlikely to allow it during his term in office, but Bush and Pressley are pushing him to commute the sentences making it impossible for any future president to order their deaths.
Roof, 26, is currently the most infamous — and the youngest — of the killers facing lethal injection in the death chamber inside the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
He was just 21 when he went inside the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the south on the evening of June 17, 2015 and asked to take part in a Bible study class.
After around an hour the group started to pray and Roof took out a gun and started shooting, allegedly shouting: Y’all wanted something to pray about? I’ll give you something to pray about.’ He reloaded his gun five times, killing eight at the scene and injuring four, one of whom later died in the hospital.
Roof later said it was because he wanted to start a race war. A website titled The Last Rhodesian showed pictures of Roof posing with symbols of white supremacy and neo-Nazism along with a hate-filled manifesto he had written, in which he said he had been radicalized by the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Roof is currently appealing his death sentence, saying the judge should have prevented him representing himself at his trial.
Of the 49 prisoners on death row, 21 are listed as white, 20 black, seven Latino and one Asian by the anti-execution Death Penalty Information Center. All are men. Three, including Tsarnaev, have had their death sentences overturned but that decision is still subject to appeal from prosecutors.
Tsarnaev, 27, and his older brother Tamerlan, planted pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The bombs exploded causing mass panic. Many of the 280 injured lost limbs.
The brothers, American citizens who had immigrated from the Russian republic of Chechnya, then went on the run and killed MIT police officer Sean Collier during a bid to steal his gun. Three days after the bombings as cops tried to arrest Tamerlan, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drove at them, dragging his brother under the vehicle for 30 feet. Tamerlan died in the hospital.
Tsarnaev, who was shot during the arrest attempt, was arrested the next day, hiding in a boat.
Roof, 26, is currently the most infamous — and the youngest — of the killers facing lethal injection in the death chamber inside the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Tsarnaev, 27, (right) and his older brother Tamerlan, planted pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon
He was just 21 when he went inside the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the south on the evening of June 17, 2015 and asked to take part in a Bible study class
The Boston Marathon bombs exploded causing mass panic. Many of the 280 injured lost limbs
Are these men’s lives worth saving?
Besides Dylan Roof and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, these are the others currently on Federal death row.
Shannon Agofsky, 49: With his brother, Joe, he abducted banker Dan Short from his home in Benton County, Arkansas, and took him to Short’s bank across the Missouri border, where they stole $70,000. The brothers then killed Short and dumped him in a lake. Agofsky is on death row for stomping fellow prisoner Luther Plant to death inside a federal penitentiary in Texas in 2004. His brother died in prison in 2013.
Billie Allen, 43, and Norris Holder, 45: Holder was awarded $500 a month after losing part of his leg in a train accident, which he always withdrew from the Lindell Bank & Trust branch in the Forest Park area of St. Louis. In March 1997 he took Allen with him to get the money and they returned four days later armed with two assault rifles, a shotgun and 200 rounds of ammunition. They fired 16 shots in the robbery, killing security guard Richard Heflin. They got the idea for the raid from watching the movies Heat and Set It Off.
Aquilia Barnette, 47: He turned up at the Charlotte, North Carolina, home of his former girlfriend Robin Williams in April 1996 and threw in a firebomb, which failed to kill her. The next month he hijacked a car, killing the driver, leaving his body in a ditch, before driving to Williams’s mother’s home where he found his ex. She ran, he caught her and dragged her back to the house by her hair and then killed her with two shots.
Kenneth Barrett, 59: Barrett was a drug dealer in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, who had told friends he wanted to ‘go out in a blaze of glory’ when he got wind of a September 1999 raid on his home. He opened fire on a convoy of police vehicles and as State Trooper David ‘Rocky’ Eales got out, he shot him three times, killing him. Barrett’s death sentence was overturned this week on the grounds that he had ineffective counsel, but that decision could be appealed.
Brandon Basham, 39, and Chadrick Fulks, 43: The two small-time criminals escaped from the Hopkins County Detention Center in Kentucky in November 2002, using a makeshift rope from bedwear. They then set off on a multi-state trip, stealing cars along the way, eventually ending up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where they followed Alice Donovan’s blue BMW into a Walmart parking lot. They kidnapped Donovan, 44, and after Fulks raped her, Basham took her into the woods where he shot her. Her body has never been found.
Brandon Basham (left) and Chadrick Fulks (right) kidnapped a woman and after Fulks raped her, Basham took her into the woods where he shot her. Her body has never been found
Anthony Battle, 58: Battle was serving a life sentence in federal prison in Atlanta for the 1987 murder of his wife, when he bludgeoned correctional officer D’Antonio Washington to death with a hammer because he was ‘tired of being bossed around.’ He confessed to the December 1994 murder of Washington with an insanity defense but was sentenced to death.
Robert Bolden, 57: Bolden and two others robbed a bank in St. Louis in October 2002. In the parking lot, they were approached by security guard Nathan Ley who tried to wrestle Bolden’s handgun from him. After a brief struggle Bolden shot Ley twice, in the jaw and in the head, killing him.
Meier Brown, 50: Brown went to the post office in Fleming, Georgia, in November 2002 to get his family’s mail. After going home, he got the idea to return, this time with a knife. He jumped over the counter, tripped and fell into postmistress Sallie Gaglia, cutting her. He then decided he had to kill her as she would recognize him, and he stabbed her 10 times, leaving her face down on the post office floor. The robbery netted Brown $1,175 in money orders.
Carlos Caro, 53: Caro was a drug smuggler, bringing narcotics over the border into Texas. He was sentenced to 30 years in 2001, his third conviction. In prison he became a leader of the violent prison gang, the Texas Syndicate. In December 2003, he strangled his cellmate Roberto Sandoval to death in prison in Jonesville, Virginia. He told investigators he had killed Sandoval because he had called him a ‘motherf***er.’
Wesley Coonce, 40, and Charles Hall, 49: Both men were in the mental health ward at the federal prison in Springfield, Missouri, when they attacked fellow prisoner Victor Castro, binding him and standing on his neck till he suffocated. Coonce, who was serving a life sentence for kidnapping and carjacking, was caught on camera making a throat-slashing sign to another inmate as he left Castro’s cell. Hall was behind bars for making threats against a federal judge and prosecutor.
Brandon Council shot bank tellers Donna Major, 59, and Katie Skeen, 36, dead during an armed bank robbery in Conway, South Carolina in August 2017
Odell Corley, 55: Corley and Edward Johnson were part of a gang planning to rob an isolated bank in northwest Indiana in August 2002. As they walked in, security guard Keith Hill approached and Johnson froze. But Corley — who now goes by the name Nasih Ra’id plowed on, shooting Hill, and leaving him a quadriplegic. He then went inside the bank where he killed tellers Chandler Simpson and Kay Peckat before fleeing empty handed.
Brandon Council, 35: Council shot bank tellers Donna Major, 59, and Katie Skeen, 36, dead during an armed bank robbery in Conway, South Carolina in August 2017. ‘His actions were premeditated. They were deliberate and they were intentional,’ prosecutor Everett McMillan said. The jury took just 32 minutes to find him guilty.
Christopher Cramer, 38, and Ricky Fackrell, 36: The two Utah men, members of the Soldiers of the Aryan Culture were in prison in Beaumont, Texas, when, after months of planning, they stabbed fellow white supremacist Leo Johns to death in June 2014. Cramer was originally sentenced for bank robbery and was convicted several times for attacking other prisoners. Fackrell was serving time for armed robbery.
Len Davis, 56: Davis was known as ‘Robocop’ during his time in the New Orleans Police Department. He was suspended six times in a five-year period before receiving the Medal of Merit. A woman called Kim Groves filed a complaint saying she had seen him beat up a man who he thought had been involved in the shooting of a cop in October 1994. Davis was tipped off and ordered her murder. A local drug dealer shot and killed Groves less than a day after she made the complaint.
Joseph Duncan, 57: Duncan was on the run facing child molestation charges when he bludgeoned Brenda Groene, her boyfriend Mark McKenzie and her 13-year-old son Slade to death near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in May 2005. He then kidnapped Groene’s other children, Dylan, 9, and Shasta, 8. Seven weeks later he was arrested as he and Shasta were eating at a Denny’s and staff and customers recognized the little girl from news reports. He had shot Dylan, whose remains were found at a campsite in Montana.
Joseph Duncan was on the run facing child molestation charges when he bludgeoned Brenda Groene, her boyfriend Mark McKenzie and her 13-year-old son Slade to death near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in May 2005
Joseph Ebron, 41: Ebron, a convicted murderer, killed fellow inmate Keith Barnes less than a day after Barnes had arrived at federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, in May 2005. Barnes had told correctional officers he feared he was in danger as he had given evidence against co-defendants in murder trials in Washington, D.C., but he was placed in the prison’s general population anyway. Ebron held Barnes down while another prisoner stabbed him to death.
Edward Fields, 53: The former prison guard hid in camouflage in Oklahoma’s Ouachita National Forest and shot campers Charles and Shirley Chick with a high-powered scoped rifle in July 2003. He shot Charles in the face and then as Shirley ran off, he shot her in the foot before catching her and dispatching her with a bullet to the back of the head. He later returned to the campsite and stole a few items from their van.
Sherman Fields, 46: Fields was in federal custody in Waco, Texas, on firearms charges in November 2001 when he bribed a correction officer to give him the key to the fire escape door in return for $5,000. After escaping, he visited his girlfriend Suncery Coleman and they argued about her seeing other men. After having sex, he shot her twice in the head and dragged her body to underbrush where it wasn’t found for two weeks.
Marvin Gabrion, 67: Teenager Rachel Timmerman had accused Gabrion of raping her. Two days before he was due to stand trial in June 1997, Timmerman’s body was found in a lake, weighed down with cinder blocks. Her 11-month-old daughter Shannon has never been found. He is also suspected of murdering four other witnesses in the case, but their bodies remain missing.
Edgar Garcia, 41, and Mark Snarr, 45: The two were prisoners in the federal lock-up in Beaumont, Texas, in November 2007 when they both managed to slip out of their handcuffs. They stabbed prison officer DeWight Baloney 23 times with homemade shanks and then turned on another guard Josh McQueen, demanding his keys. Snarr ripped the keys from McQueen’s belt and they went to the cell of Gabriel Rhone, who they repeatedly stabbed, killing him.
Mark Snarr (pictured) stabbed prison officer DeWight Baloney 23 times with homemade shanks and then turned on another guard Josh McQueen, ripping the keys from his belt and they went to the cell of Gabriel Rhone, who they repeatedly stabbed, killing him
Thomas Hager, 47: Hager was a major crack cocaine dealer in Washington, D.C., who went into hiding at his girlfriend’s apartment after shooting and injuring two rivals in November 1993. Barbara White, who had had a child with a member of the rival gang, visited Hager’s girlfriend, and he decided he had to kill her as she might give away his location. He and three others went to White’s apartment where they stabbed her more than 80 times.
Richard Jackson, 51: College graduate Karen Styles went missing on Halloween 1994 when she was hiking in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. Three weeks later her naked body was discovered by a hunter, duct-taped to a tree. Near her were a pornographic magazine and a single rifle casing. She had been shot in the head and suffered 10 stun gun wounds, nine of them to her pubic region. Jackson was caught when officers traced the sale of the duct tape back to a local K-Mart.
Jurijus Kadamovas, 54, and Iouri Mikhel, 55: The pair who had moved to the States from the former Soviet Union went on a four-month spree of kidnappings beginning in late 2001. They targeted wealthy Soviet immigrants and received more than $1 million in ransom money from relatives of their five victims — but they killed them anyway and dumped their bodies in New Melones Lake near Yellowstone National Park.
Daryl Lawrence, 45: Lawrence robbed four banks in central Ohio between January 2004 and January 2005. During the last he shot and killed Columbus police officer Bryan Hurst, who fired back injuring Lawrence. He was arrested within days and immediately confessed to all four robberies.
Kenneth Lighty, 38: Policeman’s son Eric Hayes, 19, had turned to selling cigarettes laced with PCP in Washington, D.C. Lighty and Hayes got into an argument in January 2002 that ended with Lighty abducting the teen and driving him to Maryland where he shot him three times.
Ronald Mikos killed retired nurse Joyce Brannon, who was planning to testify against him in a fraud trial
Ronald Mikos, 72: Mikos, a podiatrist, known as the Medicare Murderer, killed retired nurse Joyce Brannon, who was planning to testify against him in a fraud trial. Mikos, the oldest man on death row, would forge patients’ signatures on documents saying he had performed surgeries on them. When he learned Brannon’s evidence could put him away in January 2002, Mikos took her to a church basement in Chicago and shot her six times at close range.
Jeffrey Paul, 44: Paul and an accomplice followed 82-year-old Sherman Williams into Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas in June 1995 because ‘he looked like an easy mark.’ The two robbed and beat Williams and kicked him so hard they knocked his eye out of its socket. Eventually they shot him in the head and shoulder and dragged his body off the trail, where it wasn’t found for four days.
James Roane, 55, and Richard Tipton, 50: They, along with Cory Johnson who was executed on January 14, were part of the Newtowne Gang in Richmond, Virginia. They were convicted in February 1993 of several capital murders arising from their drug trafficking. In early 1992 alone they were responsible for 10 murders. In one case. Douglas Talley, an underling who had mishandled a drug deal, was stabbed 84 times.
Julius Robinson, 44: Known as Scarface, Robinson was a wholesale drug dealer based in Fort Worth, Texas, distributing narcotics to a five-state area. He killed one man who he mistakenly thought was behind a hijacking that cost him $30,000 and then the brother-in-law of a man who had persuaded him to pay $17,000 for a block of wood covered in sheetrock that he thought were drugs.
Alfonso Rodriguez, 67: Serial sex offender Rodriguez abducted 22-year-old Victoria’s Secret clerk Dru Sjodin from a parking lot in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in November 2003, just six months after being released from a 23-year prison sentence. Sjodin’s half-naked body wasn’t found until snow finally melted in Rodriguez’s hometown, Crookstown, Minnesota, the following April.
Julius Robinson (pictured) killed one man who he mistakenly thought was behind a hijacking that cost him $30,000
David Runyon, 50: The sole Asian on death row, Runyon was hired by Catarina Voss and her lover to kill her Navy Ensign husband Cory in April 2007, shortly after he returned from deployment in Korea. Catarina sent Cory to an ATM to get money from an account she had opened for him. He didn’t realize she had put just $5 in it. When he kept getting insufficient funds notices he hung around, giving Runyon time to find him and shoot him to death. Catarina then refused to pay Runyon a single cent. She is serving life in prison.
Gary Sampson, 61: In three days in 2001, Sampson killed three strangers who had picked him up as he hitchhiked. In two cases in Massachusetts, he bound and stabbed his victims. In the third in New Hampshire, he strangled his good Samaritan. He shouldn’t have been on the streets. The day before the first murder he called the FBI and tried to turn himself over a series of bank robberies, but the call got disconnected by a clerk.
Ricardo Sanchez, 37, and Daniel Troya, 37: They were part of a drug cartel in Florida that got into a dispute with fellow kingpin Jose Escobedo. They followed Escobedo along the Florida Turnpike in October 2006 and opened fire, killing him execution style. Escobedo’s wife Yessica tried to shield their two sons, Luis Julian, 4, and Luis Damian, 3, but all three were killed. ‘I have no confidence Mr. Troya wouldn’t do this again,’ the judge said as he sentenced them.
Thomas Sanders, 63: Sanders shot and killed his girlfriend Suellen Roberts in the remote Arizona desert after a Labor Day outing to the Grand Canyon in 2010. He then kidnapped Roberts’s 12-year-old daughter Lexis, driving her cross-country to Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, where he shot the girl four times and cut her throat.
Kaboni Savage, 46: The aptly named Savage has 12 convictions for murder and is on death row for ordering the October 2004 firebombing of a Philadelphia house where a federal witness was living. The resulting blaze killed six people. Savage was a high-level drug dealer, delivering tons of cocaine throughout eastern Pennsylvania. He allegedly killed one man after they got involved in a minor fender-bender, but he was acquitted because the only witness was also murdered, supposedly by him.
Thomas Sanders shot and killed his girlfriend Suellen Roberts in the remote Arizona desert after a Labor Day outing to the Grand Canyon in 2010
Kaboni Savage has 12 convictions for murder and is on death row for ordering the October 2004 firebombing of a Philadelphia house where a federal witness was living
Rejon Taylor, 36: Taylor abducted Atlanta restaurateur Guy Luck from his driveway in August 2003, shoved him in the back of his van and drove him to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he shot him on a remote road. Taylor had broken into Luck’s Buckhead home several times. On the last occasion he found papers showing that Luck had decided to press charges against the then-19-year-old for stealing his credit cards.
Jorge Torrez, 32: Torrez joined the Marines in order to evade suspicion for the May 2005 murder of two young girls, Krystal Tobias, 9, and Laura Hobbs, 8, in Utah. He had sexually assaulted them and removed their eyeballs. His death sentence was imposed for a separate murder, the strangulation of Navy Petty Officer Amanda Snell in Arlington County, Virginia. He also abducted a woman in northern Virginia, raped her and left her for dead in the snow.
Alejandro Umana, 36: A member of the notorious MS-13 gang, Umana shot and killed brothers Ruben and Manuel Salinas at Los Jarochitas restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina, in December 2007 after an argument about what music should play on the jukebox. Umana, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, is also suspected of at least four murders in Los Angeles.
Bruce Webster, 47: Webster was part of a five-man gang that kidnapped, raped and killed 16-year-old Lisa Rene after driving her across state lines from Texas to Arkansas in 1994 because her brother owed them $5,000 for a marijuana deal. A judge ruled in 2019 that Webster should not be executed as he is intellectually disabled, but an appeal of that decision is pending. Co-defendant Orlando Hall was executed in November.
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