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Friday, May 16, 2014

Robert Campbell: Court Spares Life of Condemned Killer

     In 1991, 19-year-old Robert Campbell and another violent criminal abducted a 20-year-old bank clerk as she filled her car with gas at a Houston service station. The victim, Angela Rendon, had just purchased a bridal gown for her upcoming wedding.

     The two criminal degenerates drove Campbell to a field where they robbed, raped, and beat her. After the vicious assaults, Campbell ordered the terrified victim to run for her life. As she fled her captors, he calmly shot her in the back.

     A year after this senseless, cold-blooded murder, a jury found Campbell guilty of capital murder. The judge sentenced him to death. In this depressing case, there has never been a question of Campbell's murderous intent or guilt.

     After living twenty-two years as a Texas death row inmate, Robert Campbell was finally scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday night, May 13, 2014. University of Texas law professor Laurie Levin, one of Campbell's death house attorneys working feverishly to save his life, filed a last-minute motion for a stay of execution with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Levin based the federal petition on the fact the Texas Department of Corrections had not revealed the manufacturing source of the pentobarbital purchased for the execution. (If it hadn't been for this issue, there would have been something else for Levin to base an appeal on.)

     According to this eleventh-hour plea, prisoners have a right to know whether or not the pentobarbital has been manufactured under "pristine conditions" that would assure that the drug was safe. (What in the hell is a safe execution drug? Pentobarbital is not supposed to be safe--it's used to kill cold-blooded murders. We're not talking about medicine here.)

     According to Professor Levin, if Campbell's execution was not blocked, the results could be "disastrous." (Again, from the executioner's point of view, the results are supposed to be disastrous.)

     On another save-the-killer front, death house lawyers claimed that Campbell, with an I.Q. of 69, was too stupid to execute pursuant to a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision that forbids states from executing criminal dimwits. (People with low I.Q.s can go to community college, teach school, drive cars, and vote. When they murder innocent victims in cold blood, why can't they be executed?)

     Robert Campbell's energetic and devoted legal team also asked Texas Governor Rick Perry to grant an executive stay of execution on Campbell's behalf.

     On May 13, 2014, the day he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, the federal court of appeals stayed Campbell's execution. Had the executioner dispatched him to hell, Campbell would have been the first condemned man to be put to death since the executioner in Oklahoma ran into trouble disposing of another sadistic cold-blooded killer, Clayton Lockett. Had Campbell been executed as scheduled according to the wishes of the jury that had found him guilty, he would have been the eighth death row inmate killed this year by the state of Texas. 

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