Convicted murderers executed in spite of Clive Stafford Smith

An article relating to the executions of two convicted murderers in the United States and the drugs that were used to execute them.

Triple killer Jeffrey Motts

While the whole world was watching the fall out from the extra-judicial execution of Osama Bin Laden by US Special Forces in Pakistan, Uncle Sam was also despatching two convicted murderers at home with due process but considerably less fanfare. Sex killer Cary Kerr and triple killer Jeffrey Motts were executed in Texas and South Carolina respectively. While Kerr went to his death protesting his innocence of the murder of his neighbour Pamela Horton, Motts had accepted his fate, and had in fact petitioned the court to drop his appeals.

Kerr was executed as scheduled on May 3, and according to a prison official his last words were: “To the state of Texas, I am an innocent man. Never trust a court-appointed attorney. I am ready warden.”

Though an argument could be made for sparing Kerr, Motts had proved himself to be a danger not simply to society but to other prisoners. Sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997 for the robbery and double murder of two relatives, he strangled another inmate in 2005 then calmly ate breakfast before dragging the body to a common room and boasting about the crime.

While Motts had made his peace and accepted that he deserved to die, Clive Stafford Smith and his Reprieve organisation saw things differently. They were outraged that a Danish company, Lundbeck – which has an office in Britain – had supplied the drugs used to execute both these men. According to Maya Foa of Reprieve:

“Lundbeck say they’re committed to improving life, yet this week alone their drugs have been used for two deaths. Something is indeed rotten in the state of Denmark.”

Of course, it could be argued that the world is a little bit safer certainly for the execution of Jeffrey Motts, who will now not be able to add a fourth victim to his tally. Denmark’s loss is South Carolina’s gain.

[The above op-ed was first published May 7, 2011.]

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