Monday, May 21, 2007


The U.S. Supreme Court declared Monday that William Weaver cannot be put to death for his role in a 1987 killing, because a prosecutor went too far in his closing argument.

Weaver was sentenced to die for killing Charles Taylor near St. Louis. The motive: Taylor was about to testify in a drug trial involving some of Weaver's acquaintances.

George "Buzz" Westfall was the prosecutor of St. Louis County; he won the death case against Weaver and co-defendant Daryl Shurn.

Shurn's sentence was later vacated by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because of Westfall's inflammatory rhetoric.

Monday, the Supreme Court vacated Weaver's death sentence. The Associated Press reports:
The court said in an unsigned opinion that the state’s appeal of lower federal court rulings that threw out the death sentence should not have been accepted because of procedural quirks.

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented, saying they would have reinstated Weaver’s death sentence. Missouri state courts had upheld the sentence. ...

During the sentencing phase, the prosecutor repeatedly urged jurors to "look beyond William Weaver" in considering the death penalty and send a message to drug dealers.
Westfall also referenced Gen. George Patton in his closing argument, telling jurors that sometimes you have to kill to do the right thing.

Look beyond William Weaver. Look in your heart. State-sponsored killing solves nothing.


Anonymous said...

This one will help Weaver, but it won't have legs. Scalia warns the other circuits not to follow the 8th. Pretty ominous language from a pretty ominous justice.

Busplunge said...

Go Raiders!

Anonymous said...

If Clay Fountain and Thomas Silverstein had been executed there would be several inmates and several more prison guards walking around on two feet today.

Instead, all of them occupy six feet -- of ground.

The death penalty deters crime because the executed never kill again.

Anonymous said...

I have never understood how Liberals can be in favor of abortion but against the death penalty.

Why don't you look at the death penalty as "the one that got away."

At least Conservatives will give guys like Weaver the chance to screw up...then kill em.

RON DAVIS said...

Anon 253: There are plenty of liberals who favor the death penalty and oppose abortion. There are plenty of conservatives against state-sponsored executions and against government being involved in medical decisions between a woman and her health-care provider.

Anonymous said...

You are apparently not one of those liberals. And I am not one of those conservatives.

Anonymous said...

We dont need to kill people justice. Does anyone understand that were giving younger children,pre-teens,and teenagers the impression that its okay to kill someone if they make a mistake? Well someone/somebody please tell me your opinon on the death penalty.