After nine months without an execution, North Carolina is scheduled to kill two murderers this month, just in time for Gov. Mike Easley and Attorney General Roy Cooper to reaffirm their commitment to law, order and other conservative-for-a-Democrat principles, says the Charlotte Observer. Barring intervention from the courts or the governor, the state will execute Sammy Perkins early Friday and Charles Roache on Oct. 22. The timing has death penalty opponents enraged, and not just because Election Day looms.
When the General Assembly convenes in January, it likely will consider stopping state executions for two years so lawmakers can study potential reforms in the way the state investigates and prosecutes potential death penalty cases. The Senate approved the moratorium in 2003; supporters said they had the votes in the House this year, but Republican Co-Speaker Richard Morgan refused to bring the bill up for a vote. “Let’s just say that this all seems more about saving face and executing people for political gain than seeking justice and fairness,” said Stephen Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, a Carrboro-based group working to abolish capital punishment. Easley and Cooper have opposed a moratorium in the past. So have their Republican challengers, gubernatorial candidate Patrick Ballantine and attorney general candidate Joe Knott. Abolitionists are angry with Easley for refusing to meet with them. Easley says there’s no reason for him to sit down with anti-death penalty advocates such as Dear and legislators who oppose capital punishment every time another execution rolls around: He knows where they stand, he says, and they know where he stands.