Uproar over execution of black man condemned by all-white jury
The execution of a mentally ill black man who was condemned to death by an all-white is sparking serious protest in the US state of Missouri.
Andre Cole, who was convicted in 2001 for the 1998 stabbing death of a man over child support payments in St. Louis County, is raising questions of racial bias.
Cole was executed by lethal injection after a night of legal wrangling, on April 14 after a district judge agreed a day earlier that Cole was too mentally ill to be executed.
After the lower courts ruling was reversed, the only remedy remaining was the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied.
While the legal debate centered around Cole’s mental illness, the controversy swirling around his execution was whether or not Cole was fairly sentenced by an all-white jury after all eligible black jurors were dismissed from the case.
Reverend Harold Ellis, pastor of Clayton Baptist Church in St Louis said earlier that executing Cole would further fan the racial flames in the same state weathering the storm of Ferguson.
"If Governor Nixon allows the execution to go forward he will be creating more problems, not just for Ferguson."
Elston McCowan of the Missouri branch of the NAACP said about Cole’s death sentence:
"This case highlights the disparate treatment of African-Americans in the criminal justice system. Ferguson exposed unequal treatment by police, and the pending execution of Andre Cole exposes the same disparity from prosecutors and the courts."
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