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Capital punishment is legal in the U.S. state of Louisiana. A total of 659 individuals have been executed in Louisiana including 28 since 1976. Toni Jo Henry (January 3, 1916 - November 28, 1942), born Annie Beatrice McQuiston, was the only woman executed in Louisiana's electric chair (for the murder of Joseph P. Calloway). A total of 88 people are under a sentence of death in the state as of 13 October 2007. The current method of execution in Louisiana is lethal injection. Capital crimes in Louisiana are: First degree murder (premeditation does not have to be a part of it, but instead requires specific intent), and treason. Formerly the state also allowed execution for the aggravated rape of a victim under the age of 12. The Supreme Court, however, ruled it unconstitutional on 25 June 2008 in Kennedy v. Louisiana, saying "there is a distinction between intentional first-degree murder on the one hand and nonhomicide crimes against individual persons".
The jury decides the sentence and may give a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for capital offenses. A unanimous verdict is needed is order to convict a defendant of a capital crime and sentence to death. Clemency rests with the governor of Louisiana, who must have a recommendation from a board.
Executions in Louisiana are currently performed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where Louisiana's method of execution is by lethal injection. Lethal injection is the sole method of execution. Previous methods: Hanging up to 1941 and then electrocution for 61 people from 1941 to 1991.
A total of 28 individuals convicted of murder have been executed by the state of Louisiana since 1976:
|Executed person||Date of execution||Method||Victims||Under Governor|
|1||Robert Wayne Williams||14 December 1983||electric chair||Willie Kelly.||David C. Treen|
|2||Johnny Taylor, Jr.||29 February 1984||electric chair||David Vogler.|
|3||Elmo Patrick Sonnier||5 April 1984||electric chair||Loretta Bourque and David LeBlanc.||Edwin Edwards|
|4||Timothy G. Baldwin||10 September 1984||electric chair||Mary Lee Peters.|
|5||Ernest Knighton, Jr.||30 October 1984||electric chair||Ralph Shell.|
|6||Robert Lee Willie||28 December 1984||electric chair||Faith Hathaway.|
|7||David Dene Martin||4 January 1985||electric chair||Bobby Todd.|
|8||Benjamin Berry||7 June 1987||electric chair||Robert Cochran.|
|9||Alvin R. Moore, Jr.||8 June 1987||electric chair||Jo Ann Wilson.|
|10||Jimmy L. Glass||12 June 1987||electric chair||Newt Brown and Erlene Brown.|
|11||Jimmy Wingo||16 June 1987||electric chair||Newt Brown and Erlene Brown.|
|12||Willie Celestine||20 July 1987||electric chair||Marcelaine Richard.|
|13||Willie Watson||24 July 1987||electric chair||Kathy Newman.|
|14||John E. Brogdon||30 July 1987||electric chair||Barbara Jo Brown.|
|15||Sterling J. Rault, Jr.||24 August 1987||electric chair||Jane Ellen Francioni.|
|16||Wayne Robert Felde||15 March 1988||electric chair||Glen Thompkins.||Buddy Roemer|
|17||Leslie Lowenfield||13 April 1988||electric chair||Shiela Thomas, Shantel Osborne, Carol Osborne, Owen Griffin, and Myrtle Griffin.|
|18||Edward R. Byme, Jr.||14 June 1988||electric chair||Robert Johnson.|
|19||Dalton Prejean||18 May 1990||electric chair||Donald Cleveland.|
|20||Andrew Lee Jones||22 July 1991||electric chair||Tumekica Jackson.|
|21||Robert Wayne Sawyer||5 March 1993||lethal injection||Frances Arwood.||Edwin Edwards|
|22||Thomas Lee Ward||16 March 1995||lethal injection||Wilbert John Spencer.|
|23||Antonio G. James||1 March 1996||lethal injection||Henry Silver.||Murphy J. Foster, Jr.|
|24||John Ashley Brown, Jr.||24 April 1997||lethal injection||Omer Laughlin.|
|25||Dobie Gillis Williams||8 January 1999||lethal injection||Sonja Knippers.|
|26||Feltus Taylor, Jr.||6 June 2000||lethal injection||Donna Ponsano.|
|27||Leslie Dale Martin||10 May 2002||lethal injection||Christina Burgin.|
|28||Gerald Bordelon||7 January 2010||lethal injection||Courtney LeBlanc||Bobby Jindal|
The only two people in the United States who were sentenced to die (after reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976) for committing a rape that did not result in death were convicted in Louisiana courts: Patrick O. Kennedy and Richard L. Davis. Kennedy's case has led to a challenge before the Supreme Court, which was heard in April 2008. The court ruled in their favor, overturning their death sentences but upholding their convictions.
On Saturday, August 29, 2009—the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina--a jury in Orleans Parish sentenced Michael Anderson to death on each of five counts of first degree murder for his execution style shooting of five teenagers on June 17, 2006 . The quintuple slaying, which occurred as the nation watched New Orleans begin to rebuild in the aftermath of the storm, drew national attention to the violent crime problems plaguing the city and prompted then-Governor Kathleen Blanco to call in the Louisiana National Guard to help the New Orleans Police Department patrol the streets of the city. The sentence was especially significant as it marked the first time in twelve years that an Orleans Parish jury had sent a person to the state's death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.