California killed someone last night

California’s 11th state execution happened at 12:01am today. Donald Beardslee murdered 2 girls while on parole in 1981. The San Francisco Chronicle has an account of the case.

It was reported on last night’s news as if it was a normal news item. Yes, it was at the top of the bulletin, but it was only a couple of minutes long report (including the description of his meal, which he didn’t eat) and it was followed by a couple of other stories. The news presenters still had an ‘and finally’ story at the end (in this case, the new Airbus) and they still had a little joke over the weather report.

11 executions puts California 18th on the list of states by number of executions since 1976. 38 of the 50 states allow executions, and 6 of those have not actually executed anyone since 1976. Although California is a fair way down the list on executions, it has the largest number of people on Death Row of all the states, at 639. So, juries are happy to condemn people, but at least the state is fairly cautious about executing them. In contrast, Texas, with a population around two-thirds of California’s, has executed 337 people since 1976 and has 447 people currently on death row.

Amnesty International

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