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. amy klouser

    @wann2know this happened 28 years ago not 18. now susie can rest in peace and mr. brown can burn in he ll!

    September 24, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. brian

    To farrad you black ppl can stop this"oh its so hard for us african americans" we have a black president now no more excuses If u work hard and live right and teach your kids to not act like animals you can have anything u want in life

    September 24, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. raider joe

    he said that the injection is crule. if it was up to me i pour a gallon of gas on him and lite a match

    September 24, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. ang

    what does thos situation have to do with race?!nothing....why do people always go that route,how annoying....

    September 24, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. m.sherman

    First, I am black. I really hate being called afro-american.This is for those is for those idiot who want to turn this into a race thing. If your white maybe you should be called euro-americans. Btw this crime was not influenced by his race. He is moron who actually earned his sentence.

    September 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darth Vader

      It's funny, because my black friends don't want to be called African-American, either. In fact, they don't want to called anything but human.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. liz

    This has NOTHING to do with race! And it absolutely absurd and ridiculous that people are bring race up! Get off your soapbox! Throwing the race card out there every chance you get is getting really old. Yes when African-Americans were brought to this country they were treated wrong but no one in this country went through what their ancestors did! And that has nothing to do with this case! It doesn't matter if he is black, white, purple or blue what he did was wrong and he should be punished for what he has done! The fact that he is still alive and still aloud to state what his "rights" are is stupid! He gave up his "rights" when he decided to kill someone!

    September 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ACH

    to recive mercy you have to show mercy.

    September 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mom of 4

    This man more than deserves to die a horrible death. Instead he gets to just in to sleep. The tax payors of CA have kept this monster alive for over 18 years, I imagine her family would give just about anything to have another 18 anything with their child. I hope they receive some peace.

    September 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. STLrose

    The death penalty may not deter violent crimes, but once carried out, the specific offender won't be likely to hurt anyone else again!

    September 24, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jennaboo

    I think he should burn in hell R.I.P SUSIE

    September 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jen

    The only reason the death penalty doesn't deter crime is because we take so long to kill them. They figure they can kill and still hang around another 30-40 years and hopefully catch a loophole in that time & get out. The death penalty is only a joke now because of all these people who say its inhumane & cruel. We should have a vote in California where they can't live more than 10 years. I'd vote to kill them quick & who cares if they feel pain? They'll be dead in a little bit anyway.

    September 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tony

    Considering that California is going bankrupt, are they going to put the execution of Pay-Per-View to raise some revenue?

    September 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Aggravation

    Almost 30 years of life he has been given and must have enjoyed because he has fought for more years through his appeals. SICK! He should have been execited as quickly as the White woman in Virginia, Thursday night, was. SICK!

    September 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. D.J.

    Looks like we're going for the trifecta this week. And I'm glad of it. One in Virginia, one in Georgia (tonight) and one in California. PLEASE keep this going. A message has got to be sent that murder will not be tolorated!

    September 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dude

    Cali death penalty, what a joke....the appeals is where all the time and money is lost, there needs to be a better way of confirming someone's guilt and punishment, then a quick and swift execution. This is ridiculous.

    September 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
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