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Florida man executed for killing, raping 10-year-old stepdaughter in 1992

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TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) – A man convicted of fatally shooting his sleeping wife, then raping and murdering her 10-year-old daughter, was executed by lethal injection Thursday evening at Florida State Prison after spending almost half his life on death row, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

The execution of Chadwick Banks, 43, was delayed by about an hour because of an unsuccessful late appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay, DOC spokeswoman Jessica Cary said.

Attorneys had challenged the state’s lethal injection methods and argued that Banks’ post-conviction legal representation was inadequate. State and federal courts have frequently turned down such arguments in past cases.

Banks shot his sleeping wife, Cassandra Banks, at their mobile home near Quincy in north Florida in 1992. He was arrested four days later and confessed that he then killed his stepdaughter, Melody Cooper, after sexually assaulting her.

Evidence and trial testimony showed Banks was drinking and shooting pool at a neighborhood bar with his wife on the night of the crimes. She went home and Banks followed an hour later.

Banks was sentenced to death in 1994 for the child’s slaying and to life in prison for his wife’s murder. After some 20 years of appeals in the case, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Banks’ death warrant in September.

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Banks had a visit on Thursday with his parents and nine siblings, as well as a spiritual adviser, Cary said.

It was the 20th execution of Scott’s first term in office, one fewer than former Governor Jeb Bush presided over in two terms as governor, according to the Florida Department of Corrections website. Scott was re-elected this month to his second four-year term.

Banks’ death also marked the 89th execution in Florida since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976.

(Editing by David Adams and Eric Walsh)

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Trump Twitter-snarls at ‘Impeachment Day’ protesters as the product of ‘Radical Left Democrats’

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President Donald Trump lashed out at Impeachment Day protesters on Twitter on Sunday morning, downplaying their efforts after seeing a report on Fox News.

Taking to Twitter the president wrote, "Yesterday was the Radical Left Democrats big Impeachment day. They worked so hard to make it something really big and special but had one problem - almost nobody showed up. “The Media admits low turnout for anti-Trump rallies ...saying enough. Democrat voters want to hear the politicians talking about issues. This is a huge distraction and will only help Donald Trump get elected. 'Greatest President since Ronald Reagan' said a counter-protester. LehighValleyLive."

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Trump’s first term: hits and misses

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"Promises made, promises kept," goes one of President Donald Trump's main 2020 reelection slogans. Is that true?

Here are some of the key policy hits and misses -- comparing his accomplishments to his promises -- from a tumultuous first term.

- HITS -

Economy:

The economy will be Trump's major selling point.

GDP grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and the last recession was a decade ago. Unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.6 percent.

Trump's frequent claim that the economy is probably "the best" in US history is an exaggeration, though.

Economists see growing dangers, including exploding government debt and growing backlash from Trump's aggressive trade policies, especially with China.

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The racist roots of American policing

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Outrage over racial profiling and the killing of African Americans by police officers and vigilantes in recent years helped give rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

But tensions between the police and black communities are nothing new.

There are many precedents to the Ferguson, Missouri protests that ushered in the Black Lives Matter movement. Those protests erupted in 2014 after a police officer shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown; the officer was subsequently not indicted.

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