Virginia Execution Questioned

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

April 27, 2006

A Virginia man is scheduled to be executed Thursday unless the Supreme Court or Governor Tim Kaine steps in to stop it.

The Portsmith man is scheduled for execution for killing his former girlfriend. This is just after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the cruelty of lethal injections.

Lethal injections have been considered a humane way of administering the death penalty. But lawyers in Florida argue that if done improperly it violates the 8th Amendment and is cruel and unusual punishment.

"It's just an excruciating burning sensation that scours the nerve endings as it proceeds through the body and causes massive muscle cramping and a massive heart attack," said Art Dawson a lawyer in the Florida case.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the case, if they make a decision it can change the the fate of Dexter Lee Vinson--the Virginia man accused of killing his former girlfriend.

"Why should Virginia proceed with an execution using the exact same method that is being questioned by the U.S. Supreme Court? I mean, lethal injection is lethal injection whether it occurs in Florida, Kansas, or Virginia," said Jack Payden-Travers of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Governor Kaine also has the power to grant a stay. The next execution in Virginia is scheduled for June 8th.

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