death penalty

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has abolished the state's death penalty.

The Democrat signed legislation Wednesday abandoning capital punishment, two months after Illinois lawmakers voted to do the same and more than a decade after former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium because of concern that innocent people could be put to death.

  • A deputy U.S. marshal shot in the head while trying to arrest a fugitive early Tuesday morning has died. The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C. says 48-year-old John Perry died at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Saint Louis University Hospital. He had been with the U.S. Marshals for almost 10 years. Authorities say the suspect, Carlos Boles, shot Perry and a second U.S. marshal and a St. Louis police officer as they were trying to arrest Boles on charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer and drug possession. Boles was killed in the exchange. U.S. deputy marshal Theodore Abegg was shot in the ankle and as of last night was listed in fair condition at SLU.  The St. Louis police officer was hit in his protective vest and received a grazing wound to the face. He was treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and released.

  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn reportedly plans to sign a bill to abolish the death penalty in the state. The two sponsors of the bill say Quinn's staff told them he intends to sign it at a ceremony today. State Rep. Karen Yarbrough and state Sen. Kwame Raoul told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they have been invited to the bill signing in Quinn's Springfield office.  Quinn's office declined to comment about his intentions.  The new law would take effect July 1. Former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions in Illinois in 2000 after the death sentences of 13 men were overturned. Ryan cleared death row before leaving office in 2003.

  • A former St. Louis alderman who was recalled from office in 2005 over his support for controversial development projects in his south city ward seems poised to take his old seat back in April. Tom Bauer defeated the current 24th Ward incumbent, Bill Waterhouse. Bauer will face an independent candidate in April. The three other incumbents facing primary challenges all won. In the south side’s 20th ward, Alderman Craig Schmid beat Shannon McGinn. Sixth Ward Alderman Kacie Starr Triplett beat out criminal defense attorney Brad Kessler to continue representing Lafayette Square and Downtown West. And in the St. Louis Hills’ Ward 15, incumbent Donna Baringer beat out former Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza. As expected, voter turnout was low with less than 7 percent of the city’s registered voters casting a ballot.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Pat Quinn says he will act this week on a bill that would abolish executions in Illinois.

Quinn said Monday that he's "going to act" this week, but not Tuesday. He said there's still information he wants to read and research he wants to do before acting on the legislation.

The legislation reaches Quinn after former Gov. George Ryan dramatically cleared the state's death row in 2000.

UPDATE 2:08 p.m. Feb. 8, 2011:

The Missouri Supreme Court is refusing to halt the execution of Martin Link.

The court announced the decision without comment on Tuesday.

Link's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, says two appeals (mentioned in our original story below) are still pending before the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Original Story:

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In an update to a story we told you about earlier today, a judge has refused the request of Christopher Coleman's defense to delay Coleman's trial.

Coleman, accused of strangling his wife and their two sons in 2009, is scheduled to go to trial next month.

St. Louis Public Radio

Speaking in St. Louis on Thursday Missouri Governor Jay Nixon would not elaborate on the reasons why he commuted the death sentence of convicted murderer Richard Clay.

Clay was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder-for-hire of Randy Martindale.

The Illinois General Assembly has passed several major bills in the last few days of its lame-duck session.

Two of the bills, one on an income tax increase and the other on abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, were the focus of a press conference held today by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Here are some highlights of Quinn's comments:

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

UPDATE 3:03 p.m. Jan. 11, 2011:

The Associated Press is reporting that the Illinois Senate has voted to abolish the death penalty in that state.

The Chicago Tribune also reports the following:

The ban on executions goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who must sign the legislation for it to become law. During last fall's campaign, Quinn said he supports "capital punishment when applied carefully and fairly," but also backs the 10-year-old moratorium on executions.

The Senate voted 32-25 to approve the ban, with two members voting present.


UPDATE 1:13 p.m. Jan. 11, 2011:

The Illinois Senate is debating the death penalty bill this afternoon on the floor. You can listen or watch the debate live here.

Earlier Story:

Illinois has moved one step closer to a vote on abolishing the death penalty in the state.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee voted this morning to advance a bill to repeal the death penalty, setting up a probable full Senate vote later today.

The bill passed in the House last week in a quick re-vote when the first vote failed the bill, 59-58.

The Chicago Tribune also has more information on the history of the death penalty in the state, via legislation and key cases in their story today.


(via Flickr/jglazer75)

UPDATE Jan. 6, 2011 6:47 p.m. :   Via the Associated Press, The Illinois House, reversing an earlier tally, has voted 60-54 to repeal the death penalty. The bill now goes to the Illinois Senate.

A decades-long effort to abolish the death penalty in Illinois has fallen one vote shy of House approval.

House members voted 59-58 Thursday on abolition. The bill needed 60 votes for approval.