53rd CA Death Row Inmate Dies of Natural Causes; No Executions in 5 Years

California has 712 prisoners on death row at San Quentin Prison. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978, California has executed 13 prisoners, while 53 have died of disease, old age, or other natural reasons. Another 18 have committed suicide. The latest to die was robber-murderer Richard Parson, who succumbed to natural causes this week.

Executions have been on hiatus in the state since 2006 while a federal judge assesses whether the lethal injection method is humane. The last person to die on the injection gurney was Clarence Ray Allen, 76, in 2006. Parson, 67, was sent to death row from Sacramento County in 1996 for robbing and killing a nurse, 59, by beating her with a hammer.

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