Defense attorneys and death penalty opponents were outraged Thursday over an execution in which the condemned man took more than half an hour to die, needed a rare second dose of lethal chemicals, and appeared to grimace in his final moments.
“I am definitely appalled at what happened. I have no doubt he suffered unduly,” Angel Nieves Diaz’s attorney, Suzanne Myers Keffer, said after Diaz died by injection.
Prison officials promised to investigate but insisted Diaz felt no pain and that it was not unexpected a second dose would be required, because liver disease had affected his ability to metabolize the drugs.
Cleric’s poor health sparks terror fears
The health of terrorist cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman is deteriorating – renewing fears that his death in prison could trigger an attack on the United States, officials said Thursday.
There is no credible indication that an attack on the U.S. is imminent, said several law enforcement officials.
In a two-page bulletin, dated Dec. 8, the FBI reported to federal intelligence officials that Abdel-Rahman had been rushed from prison to a Missouri hospital two days earlier for a blood transfusion. There, doctors discovered a tumor on his liver.
But U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Tracy Billingsley said Abdel-Rahman’s condition had stabilized, and he has since been moved back to prison.
Officials said the bulletin served merely as a reminder that Abdel-Rahman had called for retaliation by terror sympathizers if he died in prison.
St. George, Utah
Polygamist leader must stand trial
A polygamist church leader accused of forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry an older cousin in 2001 was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges of rape by accomplice.
Warren Jeffs, 51, pleaded not guilty Thursday in state district court. The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints could face up to life in prison if convicted. A trial was set for April 23.
Prosecutors said the girl had no choice but to obey Jeffs, whose influence over his followers has been described as extraordinary, dictating everything from where they live to whom they should marry.