Tonight’s Execution: Michael Brawner

Mississippi death chamber

The second execution today will be carried out in Mississippi, where Jan Michael Brawner faces the death penalty for the April 25, 2001 shooting deaths of his daughter, Paige; his former wife, Barbara Craft; and her parents, Carl and Jane Craft. Brawner is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. EDT in Parchman, barring any last minute intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brawner was denied a stay of execution by the Mississippi Supreme Court on Monday, with a vote of 4-3. Brawner’s attorney filed appealled on Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court in a last ditch effort.

From the Commercial Appeal:

Subsequent lawyers have argued that Brawner’s trial attorney did a poor job by not calling such mitigating witnesses as his mother and a psychiatrist, who could have testified about things that had happened to him in life.

Brawner’s lawyer, David Calder, had argued earlier Monday in a court filing that his client could be the first person executed in the U.S. on a tie vote of judges. The Mississippi Supreme Court voted 4-4 last week to deny a rehearing in the case. Justice Ann Lamar didn’t vote. She was district attorney in Tate County when the slayings occurred. By the time of the trial in April 2002, she was a Circuit Court judge, though she didn’t preside over the trial.

In court procedures, a tie vote usually means an earlier ruling stands.

Brawner has requested a last meal of Italian-style pizza, salad, sweet tea and ice cream.

In related news, Mississippi is on pace to see the most executions since the 1950s, with four carried out so far and two slated for this month. From the Associated Press:

The last time Mississippi executed more than four inmates in any single year was in 1961, when five died in the gas chamber. There were eight executions in each of the years 1955 and 1956. In those days, inmates were put to death for crimes like armed robbery, rape or murder. Today, the only crime punishable by death in Mississippi is capital murder — a murder that happens during the commission of another felony.

Read more:

Mississippi Inmate Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Stop Tuesday Execution

Mississippi Supreme Court Refuses Brawner Reprieve

2012 Could See Most Miss. Executions Since 1950s

 Editorial: Death Penalty Death Watch: Mississippi

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