Alabama, Florida and Texas plan to execute inmates on Thursday and if carried out, it would be the first time in eight years that three people on death row have been executed on the same day since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States.
But in each state there are reasons why the executions could be halted, including an unprecedented clemency recommendation in Texas, where all three of this year’s U.S. executions have been carried out.
In Florida, questions were raised about holding an execution based on a majority, not unanimous, jury decision. In Alabama, lawyers have said the death row inmate is too ill to be executed.
Alabama plans to execute Doyle Hamm, 61, at 6 p.m. local time for the 1987 murder of motel clerk Patrick Cunningham.
Hamm’s lawyers have said he has terminal cancer, adding years of intravenous drug use, hepatitis C, and untreated lymphoma have made his veins unstable for a lethal injection.
However, a court-appointed doctor examined Hamm on Feb. 15 and found he had “numerous accessible and usable veins in both his upper and lower extremities,” according to court filings.
Texas plans to execute Thomas Whitaker, 38, for masterminding a 2003 plot against his family in which his mother Tricia, 51, and brother Kevin, 19, were killed.
His father Kent Whitaker was shot in the chest and survived.
The father, 69, a devout Christian and retired executive, has said he forgives his son and his family does not want him to be executed. In a clemency petition, he said if the death penalty is implemented, it would make his pain worse.
On Tuesday, the Texas paroles board in a unanimous decision recommended clemency, largely based on the request of a victim’s forgiving family. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has final say, and has not yet announced if he plans to halt the execution.
Florida plans to execute Eric Branch, 47, for the 1993 murder of University of West Florida student Susan Morris.
Lawyers for Branch appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on arguments including that the court has previously blocked a Florida provision that allows executions for a non-unanimous jury decision and it should do so again in this case.
Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 and the last time three executions were held on the same day was in January 2010 in Louisiana, Ohio and Texas, according to the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by David Beasley in Atlanta and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale; editing by Grant McCool)
John Oliver does epic send-off for Fox News host Shep Smith: ‘You were always too weird for where you worked’
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver issued a hilarious send-off to Fox News' Shep Smith, who abruptly left the network after his show Friday.
Oliver compiled a super-cut of the former host specifically focusing on the ways that Smith brought a little bit of weirdness to the Fox News network.
During the solar eclipse this year, Smith cheered on "the total eclipse of the sun," a take-off of the popular karaoke tune, "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Smith noted that if he put his cell phone in the way and took a picture with another camera, he'd have a "total eclipse of his phone."
The president’s ‘America First’ policy has been replaced by a ‘Trump First’ strategy: columnist
Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl outlined in a Sunday column that President Donald Trump may have promised his supporters an "America First" presidency, but it's quickly become a "Trump First" policy instead.
In the column, Diehl explained it took Trump about one month to completely destroy his 2016 campaign promise.
"Thanks mostly to the president's increasingly unhinged behavior," he began, "Trump's corruption in Ukraine" and his disaster in Syria has blocked a more significant story of Trump's change on his "America First" policy.