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anti-death penalty


             it was nearing the end of John Evans' last day on death row. He had spent most of the day with his minister and family, praying and talking of what was to come. At 8:20 he was walked from his cell down to the long hall to the execution room and strapped in the electric chair. At 8:30 p.m. the first jolt of 1900 volts passed through Mr. Evans' body. It lasted 30 seconds. Sparks and flames erupted from the electrode tied to Mr. Evans' leg. His body slammed against the straps holding him in the chair and his fist clenched permanently. The electrode then burst from the strap holding it in place. A large puff of gray smoke and sparks pored out from under the hood that covered his face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing began pervading the witness room. Two doctors then examined Mr. Evans and declared that he was not dead. .
             The electrode was then refastened and Mr. Evans was given another 30-second jolt. The stench was nauseating. Again the doctors examined him and found his heart still beating. At this time the prison commissioner, who was talking on the line with Governor George Wallace of Alabama, was asked to cancel the execution on the grounds that Mr. Evans was being subject to cruel and unusual punishment. The request was denied. .
             At 8:40 p.m. the third charge of electricity was passed through Mr. Evans body. At 8:44 p.m. he was pronounced dead. The execution took 14 minutes. Afterward officials were embarrassed by what one observer called the "barbaric ritual."" The electric chair is supposed to be a very humane way of administering death, if there is one- (Zimring, & Hawkins, 1986, p.1). .
             Every Western Industrial nation has stopped executing criminals, except the United States. Most Western nations have executed criminals in this century, and many were executed after World War II. Then executions suddenly decreased (Clay, 1990, p.9). This is partly because the people in many European countries might have been tired of killing from the war.


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