Texas: Jedidiah Murphy executed – on World Day Against the Death Penalty and under psychological torture
Four hours late because of final pending appeals and petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court, 48-year-old Jedidiah Murphy was executed by lethal injection Tuesday night in the U.S. state of Texas. He had kidnapped, stolen from and murdered a 79-year-old woman in 2000.
Murphy’s own career is once again typical of a death row inmate in the United States. First neglected as a child, then abandoned, systematically abused and mistreated, he was already addicted to alcohol and traumatized as an early teenager. During the crime, he said he was under the enormous influence of cocaine, so he could hardly remember it.
Nevertheless, he took responsibility for his actions. In his last words, he addressed the relatives of his victim, asking for forgiveness and expressing his hope that his death would give them peace.
The execution of Jedidiah Murphy took place on the World Day Against the Death Penalty, whose focus this year is on the aspect of “torture.” Opponents of the death penalty said Murphy was the best example of the death penalty as torture.
A legal tug-of-war at various judicial levels over a stay of execution and its cancellation made his final hours a nerve-wracking ordeal – not just for Murphy, but for everyone involved.
In the end, none of the arguments helped – neither pointing out the dubiousness of the chemicals used, which may have suffered from smoke and heat from a major fire in the execution building a few weeks ago, nor arguing over the sentencing issue and whether Jedidiah Murphy would have posed a danger to society in the future. In any case, the more than 20 years in prison do not seem to have borne that out for Murphy, a devout Jew.