HL Execution Only 6 Years After Crime; Defendant Waives Appeals


Alabama executed a man last night who asked to be put to death after pleading guilty to fatally suffocating and beating his infant son, and had spent just four years on death row, Reuters reports. Christopher Johnson, 39, made the rare move of pleading guilty to capital murder in the 2005 death of 6-month-old Elias Ocean Johnson. He requested the death penalty, granted in 2007, and waived all appeals.

Donald Cochran, a former prosecutor and a Samford University law professor, said the only other case he could recall following such an abrupt timeline was that of confessed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh was executed in 2001, six years after committing his crime. The Death Penalty Information Center says the average time an inmate spends on death row awaiting execution is 14 years, with many waiting longer than 20 years. Johnson was the sixth inmate executed in Alabama this year and the 38th put to death nationwide in 2011.

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