Mitchell Rupe

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Mitchell Rupe (1955–February 8, 2006) was a convicted murderer who died of liver disease in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington. Rupe was convicted for aggravated murder for fatally shooting two bank tellers in Olympia, Washington during a bank robbery in 1981. His death sentence was overturned twice, the second time being in 1994 when United States federal judge Thomas S. Zilly ruled that Rupe was too heavy to hang. Rupe was over 425 pounds at the time (as high as the scale went) and the judge was concerned that execution by hanging could cause Rupe to be decapitated, which would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Rupe was re-sentenced a third time in 2000 by a new jury. After a two week sentencing hearing, Rupe escaped a new death sentence when the jury deadlocked by an 11-1 vote in favor of the death penalty, falling short of the unanimous verdict required by Washington law for imposition of a death sentence.