One prosecutor had a poster from the movie Tombstone on his office wall with “Justice is coming” emblazoned on it; another used a miniature model of an electric chair as a paperweight; a third, dubbed the “Queen of death”, said she was “passionate” about judicially killing people and described the emotion of watching an execution as a “non-event”. What they all had in common, reports The Guardian was a vast appetite for putting men and women to death. They all had the power to turn such unusual tastes into sentences.
As head prosecutors in their counties, just five individuals have been responsible for putting no fewer than 440 prisoners onto death row. If you compare that number to the 2,943 who are currently awaiting execution in the U.S., it is equivalent to one out of every seven. Of the 8,038 death sentences handed down since the death penalty was restarted in the modern era 4-0 years ago this week, some one in 20 of them have been the responsibility of those five district attorneys alone. The five are profiled in a new report from Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project. Titled America’s Top Five Deadliest Prosecutors, the report highlights the lion-sized role in the modern death penalty of just four men and one woman: Joe Freeman Britt of Robeson County, N.C., Donnie Myers of Lexington, S.C.; Bob Macy of Oklahoma County; Lynne Abraham of Philadelphia County; and Johnny Holmes of Harris County, Tx.