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DC Sniper Muhammad to Die by Lethal Injection

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By Kamika Dunlap on October 30, 2009 3:02 PM

John Allen Muhammad, convicted DC sniper is scheduled to be executed next month.

Virginia officials said he declined to choose between lethal injection and electrocution.

For Marion Lewis, it's an easy choice.

He said he'd prefer to personally execute Muhammad.

In his CBS interview, Lewis said if it were up to him, Muhammad would be taken into the Idaho desert and killed slowly over three days. 

Instead, Lewis will be present in the Virginia death chamber to watch Muhammad die on Nov. 10.

His 25-year-old daughter, Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was vacuuming her mini van, when she was gunned down by Muhammad and his accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo.

Rivera was one of 10 people left dead in October of 2002 in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia after the three-week killing spree.

Apart from any last minute appeals, Muhammad is set to be executed. His lawyers have asked the Virginia governor for clemency.

Because Muhammad did not choose a method, under Virginia law he will be executed by lethal injection.

In theory, the lethal injection -- a combination of chemicals inserted intravenously should be a simple process.

But a recent story in the Wall Street Journal raises questions faced by a growing number of states over death-penalty procedures.

The article quotes David Dow, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, an opponent of the death penalty as sating that "lethal injection became the preferred method, because of the notion that it is easy and painless."

Currently, about 35 states where capital punishment is legal require the use of lethal injection.

Last month's botched execution in Ohio has triggered debate over whether alternative approaches to injections should be considered.

In that case, Romell Broom, who was sentenced to die for raping and killing a 14-year-old girl 1984, received a temporary stay of execution after Ohio's execution team was unable to find suitable veins.

According to court documents, Broom was stuck 18 times with a needle, including once inadvertently in a bone near his ankle, causing him to cry out in pain.

Over the years, executions in general have been challenged on the grounds that they violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

On the other hand, Marion Lewis may beg to differ.

 

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