September 23rd, 2010
11:07 PM ET

California prepares for first execution since lethal injection review

The execution next week of a California man who raped and murdered a 15-year-old on her way to school is set to proceed after the state appeals court overturned an injunction barring lethal injection, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office said.

Barring a last-minute stay or delay, Albert Greenwood Brown could become the first person to be executed in California in almost five years, ever since legal challenges arose over the state's lethal injection procedure.

And, if the execution goes forward as scheduled on September 29, he'll also be the first inmate to be put to death in California's new lethal injection chamber, which was modified to meet new requirements to come out of the lethal injection review.

Video: California readies for execution

Brown was sentenced to death in 1982 for the rape and murder of Susan Jordan, who was walking to Arlington High School in Riverside when Brown pulled her into an orange grove, according to court documents.

He raped and strangled her with her own shoelace and took her school identification cards and books. Later that evening, he looked up her family in the phone book and called their home, the documents state.

“Hello, Mrs. Jordan, Susie isn’t home from school yet, is she?” he said. “You will never see your daughter again. You can find her body on the corner of Victoria and Gibson.”

He also placed a call to police directing them to her body. During the investigation, three witnesses identified Brown as being near the scene of the crime. Police also found Susan’s school books and newspaper articles about her death in Brown’s home, and clothing with semen stains in Brown's work locker.

During the penalty phase of Brown's trial, his lawyer presented psychiatric evidence suggesting that he had emotional problems, including sexual maladjustment and dysfunction and claimed he was remorseful.

The jury deliberated for three hours before returning a death verdict, according to an opinion issued September 19 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In post-conviction appeals, Brown claimed he had received ineffective counsel during the penalty phase, and that lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

In his appeal, Brown cited the two cases that had brought a temporary halt to executions in California in 2006. But those cases did not find that lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment, the three-judge panel wrote.

Rather, the cases held "only that the protocol as currently implemented in California may violate the Eighth Amendment because the state does not have procedures in place to insure that inmates are unconscious... prior to injecting fatal doses."

The justices denied his claims.

If his execution goes forward, Brown will be the first inmate to be executed under the new regulations that took effect August 29, after a lengthy review and certification process.

Among the new regulations, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation:

– A screening process for selection of execution team members and a periodic review process for team members.

– A comprehensive training program for all execution team members focusing on custody and care of the inmate, the infusion process, intravenous application and vein access, characteristics and effects of each chemical used in the process, proper preparation and mixing of chemicals, the security of the lethal injection facility, proper record keeping and other areas.

– Standardized record keeping to ensure there are complete and reliable records of each execution.

– Training processes for the proper use of sodium thiopental. Training processes were developed for proper mixing, preparation and administration of sodium thiopental.

– Improvements to the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison, including steps to ensure adequate equipment, lighting and space.

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Filed under: California • Crime • Death Penalty
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. zinnter Amudalla

    Hurry up and bring justice to this poor 15 year-old who was murdered almost 30 years ago! And let's keep that room
    really busy so that we in California can feel safer. If these execution deter just one murderer, our money will have been well-spent.

    September 24, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. loved*to*love

    "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"

    September 24, 2010 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • d

      uhh... no it does not leave us all blind. it leaves the stupid enough to commit crimes blind.

      September 24, 2010 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
    • foil

      Stop quoting Jesus.

      September 24, 2010 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • guanaquito

      Party time for this murder is over I think that he should pay for what he did . Let speed up the execution like Texas and we should get rid of these murders. Next??????????

      September 24, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pierce

    Hooray! Next week the world will be a bit safer and someone whose name I will not mention wont be using up precious oxygen. Bye, bye Albert. Save a warm rock for me in hell. 🙂

    September 24, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Doug

    I just don't see how this helps us as people.. I think it's barbaric and shows the world we aren't leaders after all !

    September 24, 2010 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. DeeBdmomofsas@

    As a native of CA. it is about time, this state has more people on death row, I believe it is 465, we pay the prisons thousands per prisoners, that cost more then some of our citizens. It makes no sense, and to imagine some of our citizens don't even make that much to live each year.

    September 24, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kevin

    We need to get our run away prison population down someway. Some say reasonable laws that the people will actually obey. (Of course ... murder laws are reasonable .... but you get my point.) Or ... we can start killing them!

    September 24, 2010 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Pete

    The way you can judge a society is the reaction to people's crimes. If this guy isn't put to death, then it lessens the seriousness of acts like these. There are some crimes that are so horrific that they deserve the death penalty. This is one of them. It's not vengence, or an answer. It's simple math. His life was forfeit the minute the last breath came out of that little girl's mouth. It is just time to pay that debt.

    September 24, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gazza

    His teenage victim didn't get her rights protected by him. As he saw fit to do unspeakable things to her, a violent ending of her life as it was just starting then call the family and police saying where he left her remains he waived his rights. He shouldn't have been around this long and if he suffers somewhat during his execution that's nothing compared to what he did to deserve his execution.

    September 24, 2010 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Raymond

    God wills it.

    September 24, 2010 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    So some of you think that to execute this "Animal" is bad. That America is setting a bad example for the rest of the world. You simply ignore what he did to that innocent young girl, she did not deserve what he did to her. Did she have rights, of course she did, but the "Animal" denied her those rights. Well, OK, let's not execute him. Have him released and live...Oh, in your neighborhood. Or better yet, In Your Home along with your children, especially if you have

    September 24, 2010 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba's Big Ax of Justice

      Amen, Frank!

      September 24, 2010 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Hollywood

    Cruel & unusual punishment is us the tax payers of this state wasting our money to feed, cloth, & house this dude for 28 years, while our state is $19 BILLION in debt. All that money spent on this monster sure could've helped our state in much better ways!

    September 24, 2010 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. pigmore

    Sentenced in 1982? That's 28 years ago. It's high time the US of A became Chinatized and give these pieces of human garbage the 10/10 principle. 10 minutes for the trial to find them guilty and 10 minutes to take them into the street and shoot them in the head .May God help the poor family that this piece of crap has made suffer through 28 years rather than about 28 minutes.

    September 24, 2010 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. John Q

    These killers should die the way they killed. However they choose to kill someone they should die the same. Lethal injection is way to passive for the worst the world has to offer.

    September 24, 2010 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. John Q

    Calif needs to outsource its death row to texas, no one stays there for 10 or more yrs.

    September 24, 2010 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. lei

    sure hope they dont stop execs with brown.. there's still lots more on death row to go to that chamber! too many bad people using taxpayers money they dont desrve.

    September 24, 2010 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
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