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Execution of richard cooey: social and legal ramifications Essays

Abstract
Richard Wade Cooey II was born on 9 June 1967 and was executed on 14 October 2008. Cooey was 19 years old and Dickens was 17.  Cooey, on the other hand, was convicted on 14 November 1986 and consequently given a death sentence. After his execution, one of the prison spokesperson had reported that during Cooey’s execution there were no problems. Amid his lawyers, three of them had also attended as Cooey’s witnesses. Dawn McCreery’s family had attended the execution. Wendy Jo Offredo’s family members did not attend the execution process. Richard Cooey was the 1st murderer to be executed in the state of Ohio this year and is the 27th murderer to be executed in Ohio since the year 1976 and after Ohio restored execution statements in 1999. Cooey, who was a white male, was the 12th white male among those 25 people. The state of Ohio has now almost executed 27 prisoners since the year 1999 after it renewed its execution statements over three decades later. After Cooey was executed on 14th morning, it eternally silenced his individual argument that the use of lethal injections is a brutal, cruel and an imperfect process used by the state causing a very painful death.
On the day Cooey was to be executed, a number of protesters against the issue of death penalty and in favor of the sentence were expected. The Supreme Court of the state of Ohio had already denied his numerous appeals to postpone his execution. The Court did not make any comments when it rejected Cooey’s appeal that using poisonous injections on him would cause an agonizing death. One day before his execution the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected Cooey’s appeal, which demanded that his execution should be deferred for the time being. Richard Cooey’s obesity pleas completely failed and his execution finally became a success. The numerous efforts that were made to wade off Cooey’s execution were immensely creative then all the other ones. While in prison, which amounted to almost 22 years, Cooey had roughly gained 70 pounds.
Introduction
Richard Wade Cooey II was born on 9 June 1967 and was executed on 14 October 2008. He was an American and had murdered two women along with his accomplices, Clinton Dickens and Kenneth Horonetz, in 1986. On 1 September 1986, early in the morning, Horonetz, Dickens and Cooey started to throw concrete blocks while standing on the Stoner Street Bridge in Akron, Ohio towards the US Interstate 77. One of the blocks hit the car of two college students, Wendy Jo Offredo and Dawn McCreery, both in their early twenties. They then disguised as ambulance doctors offering to help the girls. After that, the three of them kidnapped the girls. Cooey was 19 years old and Dickens was 17.[1] The two women were then taken to a nearby field where they were beaten, tortured, stabbed and even raped for more than three gruesome hours. They had used a wooden club as a weapon to hit them with and had strangulated them with their shoelace. Eventually due to the beatings, the girls died and their bodies were abandoned. They were from the University of Akron and the two of them died in a completely deserted area around Norton, Ohio, which is a suburban place in Akron.[2]
It has been said that Horonetz had fled the scene before the torture had began and both Cooey and Dickens blamed each other for committing the actual murder. As the later was a minor at the time of the murder, the state of Ohio was not able to sentence him to death and is at present doing a life sentence in the prison. Cooey, on the other hand, was convicted on 14 November 1986 and consequently given a death sentence. There was another suspect Terry Grant, aged 19. He along with Horonetz, aged 18, was later charged as they had caused obstruction of justice and had taken part in destroying important evidence related with the case. While Grant was ordered two years probation, Horonetz had to serve one year in prison and was then let go on parole.
Discussion
A number of requests to show kindness and mercy and judicial stays for postponing the execution were made for Cooey but all of them were rejected. He had also argued that since he was obese, it made the use of lethal injection a brutal and merciless means of performing execution. While he was a death row convict, he had more than once tried to persuade the judge that he should not be executed as ordered because of his weight. His attorneys has put forward in a number of legal cases that since Cooey was overweight it would be very complicated for the prison doctors to detect a proper vein through which the deadly chemicals could be delivered. Cooey’s lawyers had argued unsuccessfully that it was not possible to access his veins to deliver the drug since he was obese and over 270 pounds. However, the judge never accepted their argument and he was finally executed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility on 14 October this year, after more than 22 years since he was first arrested.[3]
After his execution, one of the prison spokesperson had reported that during Cooey’s execution there were no problems. When the preparations for his execution were going on, he did ask for his attorneys since he was afraid that the prison staff would mess up his execution process. The warden present at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, Philip Kerns, had offered to put a microphone in the chamber where Cooey was to be executed to record his final statement. Just before his execution, Cooey had said that for more than 22 years no one had taken attention of what he wanted to say, so at the end it did not matter what he had to say. He had himself walked to his death chamber.  At around 10 in the morning, he was laid on his back in a stretcher and his feet were crossed against each other. In his final minutes, Cooey bluntly stared towards the prison ceiling and went on tapping his fingers. He was injected with a deadly combination of sodium thiopental, which induces a deep sleep, potassium chloride, which stops the heart from beating and pancuronium bromide, which stops a person’s breathing process. The mixture was introduced into his body by using IV tubes placed in his arms. Finally, his face became purple after he was injected with a poisonous stream of three deadly drugs and he died. He kept calling out to his lawyers when he was being executed. He wanted to talk to one of his lawyers, Greg Meyers, but was not able to as he was seated in the witness room and not allowed to speak to Cooey. Only the warden and a single guard were allowed in the room where he was executed.  At last, when he exhaled heavily, the prison warden moved Cooey in order to see whether the drugs were working or not. When he did not react, he was pronounced dead.[4]
Among Cooey’s bunch of lawyers were the brother and sister duo of Jim Cole and Dana Cole, Greg Meyers, Eric Allen and Tenn., who is a Christian minister and acted as Cooey’s spiritual guide. Amid his lawyers, three of them had also attended as Cooey’s witnesses. One of them, Eric Allen, lashed out by saying that the government lacked conscience and only cared about its policies. They considered Cooey’s execution to be a state sanctioned slaying and a part of the government’s so-called policy. However, she could obviously say such a thing, as she was not a part of the family, which Cooey had murdered and raped. According to Andrea Carson, a spokesperson in the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction of Ohio, Cooey read a bible for some time with Jim Cole by his side. He had arrived at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, in Lucasville on 14th morning, which is the place of the Death House in Ohio and was said to be in a nice mood, as he did not repent what he had done.[5]
Cooey’s family members did not visit him when he was being executed and he said that his family had met him many days ago when he was in Youngstown at the Ohio State Penitentiary. He had also called up an unknown family member before he was executed. Dawn McCreery’s family had attended the execution. Six members of her family, including her mother, father, brother and some cousins, were present and served as the victim’s witnesses. They were seated on one side of the whole witness area, which was separated by a wall from where Cooey’s lawyers were seated. They were utterly disappointed as they felt that Cooey had not learnt his lesson and was hateful and offensive in his behavior until his execution. He never accepted responsibility for the crime that he had committed and did not even apologize to the victim’s family. Wendy Jo Offredo’s family members did not attend the execution process. A number of personals of the media who were covering the whole execution process and other prison staff members were present. [6]
Richard Cooey was the 1st murderer to be executed in the state of Ohio this year and is the 27th murderer to be executed in Ohio since the year 1976 and after Ohio restored execution statements in 1999. The Death Penalty Information Center in USA said that till October 2008, 24 persons had been put to death for their crimes. He was the 25th murderer to be executed in the USA this year and the 1124th murderer to be executed in the USA since the year 1976. Cooey, who was a white male, was the 12th white male among those 25 people. Among the others executed were 3 Latinos and 10 black males. It was Ohio State’s first execution after an end was put to the unofficial suspension levied on the execution statements, which had started last year when USA’s Supreme Court was reviewing procedures on the use of lethal injections on Kentucky. The state of Ohio has now almost executed 27 prisoners since the year 1999 after it renewed its execution statements over three decades later.[7]
After Cooey was executed on 14th morning, it eternally silenced his individual argument that the use of lethal injections is a brutal, cruel and an imperfect process used by the state causing a very painful death. He probably did not consider the agony that he had caused to the two college students and their family. He was also the first Ohioan to be executed in the last 18 months after a very lengthy and delayed national dispute, which was going on in the state on the use of lethal injections and had only ended earlier this very year since the court had found it to be constitutional. On the day Cooey was to be executed, a number of protesters against the issue of death penalty and in favor of the sentence were expected. The Supreme Court of the state of Ohio had already denied his numerous appeals to postpone his execution. The Court did not make any comments when it rejected Cooey’s appeal that using poisonous injections on him would cause an agonizing death. They were not satisfied that just because he was fat and obese, it will be difficult for the prison staff to find a vein in his body to induce the drugs.
Before Cooey’s execution, he was also allowed to smoke in his prison cell while being in the Death House in the state of Ohio due to which the prison had to give up, for a while, its nation wide system of non-smoking policy. One day before his execution the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected Cooey’s appeal, which demanded that his execution should be deferred for the time being. He requested the court to use a single enormous dose of the drug sodium thiopental, which is an anesthetic, for his execution instead of using a dosage of three different drugs, which is used in the other states. The other two drugs used are pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The former causes paralysis and the latter cardiac arrest. He had based his demand on a ruling made by a judge in Lorain County, who had also said that the use of these three drugs causes an excruciating and agonizing death making the process completely unconstitutional. Cooey had tried to use obesity to postpone his execution just as another killer had done in Washington in the year 1994. However, that prisoner, waiting his execution, weighed around 400 pounds, which was a lot more than what Cooey did. Although that prisoner was able to avoid his execution, he ultimately died of another illness.[8]
Richard Cooey’s obesity pleas completely failed and his execution finally became a success. It was the 25th number of time that a prisoner in the USA was executed. The numerous efforts that were made to wade off Cooey’s execution were immensely creative then all the other ones. His lawyers, when all other methods failed, argued on the simple term that Cooey should not be executed, as he was too heavy to be killed using injections. However, they completely failed as Cooey’s execution was carried out as planned on 14 October this year, at 10 o’ clock in the morning. While in prison, which amounted to almost 22 years, Cooey had roughly gained 70 pounds. His lawyers used this excuse to get him off his execution statement, as they demanded that the use of the lethal drugs would completely shut off his weakened veins. This would eventually result in an unusual and extremely cruel punishment, which totally breaches the boundaries of law.  Cooey and his lawyer’s appeals did not have any effect on the officials and judges in Ohio nor on the Governor, Ted Strickland, who completely rejected his proposal for forgiveness. Even the Supreme Court of USA did not pay any heed to his appeals. He was initially scheduled for execution in 2003, but had somehow managed to attain a stay order for his execution. At that time, the ruling in his favor did not have any connections with his health and obesity issues.[9]
Conclusion
Cooey was 41 years old when he was finally executed and until his end, he maintained his view that it was his accomplice who had committed the rape and murder and not he himself. In an interview, he said that he had not intentionally gained his weight and it was mainly due to inadequate exercise and medicines. Cooey said that he should not be ridiculed as what he demanded was based on various constitutional issues and not from his fear of facing execution. He also said that he would be happier if he were shot in his head instead. Many people have argued that death should be left to some superior power or God and not man. However, those who support capital punishment argue that, in a way, death penalty helps to save lives. This is because if the murderers somehow escape prison, they start killing again. Therefore, in order to stop certain murderers, death penalty is the only answer.

Bibliography:
Dougherty, Robert; Oct 14, 2008; Richard Cooey Execution Succeeds After Failed Obesity Plea; Associated Content; Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1109989/richard_cooey_execution_succeeds_after.html?cat=8
French, Laurence A; 2007; Boundary maintenance and capital punishment: A sociological perspective; Behavioral Sciences & the Law; Volume 5, Issue 4, Autumn 2007, Pages: 423-432
Klein, Daniel A; 2001; United States Supreme Court Reports; Supreme Court, United States, LEXIS Publishing; University of Michigan
Mears, Bill; Tue October 14, 2008; Inmate executed after Supreme Court rejects obese argument; CNN Supreme Court Producer; Retrieved from
http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/10/14/toofat.execution/index.html
Williams, Gary; 2006; Siege in Lucasville: An Insider’s Account and Critical Review of Ohio’s Worst Prison Riot; Rooftop Publishing
Yamada, Gerald H; 2002; Redirection for Environmental Justice; Federal Facilities Environmental Journal; Volume 13, Issue 2, Summer 2002, Pages: 55-65

[1] Williams, Gary; 2006; Siege in Lucasville: An Insider’s Account and Critical Review of Ohio’s Worst Prison Riot; Rooftop Publishing
[2] French, Laurence A; 2007; Boundary maintenance and capital punishment: A sociological perspective; Behavioral Sciences & the Law; Volume 5, Issue 4, Autumn 2007, Pages: 423-432
[3] Mears, Bill; Tue October 14, 2008; Inmate executed after Supreme Court rejects obese argument; CNN Supreme Court Producer; Retrieved from
http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/10/14/toofat.execution/index.html
[4] Dougherty, Robert; Oct 14, 2008; Richard Cooey Execution Succeeds After Failed Obesity Plea; Associated Content; Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1109989/richard_cooey_execution_succeeds_after.html?cat=8
[5] French, Laurence A; 2007; Boundary maintenance and capital punishment: A sociological perspective; Behavioral Sciences & the Law; Volume 5, Issue 4, Autumn 2007, Pages: 423-432
[6] Yamada, Gerald H; 2002; Redirection for Environmental Justice; Federal Facilities Environmental Journal; Volume 13, Issue 2, Summer 2002, Pages: 55-65
[7] Mears, Bill; Tue October 14, 2008; Inmate executed after Supreme Court rejects obese argument; CNN Supreme Court Producer; Retrieved from
http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/10/14/toofat.execution/index.html
[8] Klein, Daniel A; 2001; United States Supreme Court Reports; Supreme Court, United States, LEXIS Publishing; University of Michigan

[9] Dougherty, Robert; Oct 14, 2008; Richard Cooey Execution Succeeds After Failed Obesity Plea; Associated Content; Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1109989/richard_cooey_execution_succeeds_after.html?cat=8

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