3 felons face execution soon for crimes committed as juveniles
January 9, 2000
From National Correspondent Linda Pattillo
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (CNN) -- Three death row inmates are scheduled to die over the next two weeks in the United States for slayings they committed before they were 18, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
More than one-third of the 75 inmates currently on death row for crimes they committed as juveniles are in Texas, including Glen Charles McGinnis, who could lose his life in two weeks.
"I don't think nobody should be given the death penalty," McGinnis said in an interview with "CNN & Time."
McGinnis was sentenced to die for the 1990 murder of Leta Ann Wilkerson, a young mother of two who was shot in the head and back during a robbery at the dry cleaning store where she worked.
Critics of the death penalty say the U.S. criminal justice system should rehabilitate juvenile offenders, not send them to their deaths.
Death penalty proponents and some victims' family members argue that the death penalty is just punishment for murder, regardless of the offender's age.
"I believe in an eye for an eye," said Larry Wilkerson, the husband of Leta Ann Wilkerson, who plans to attend the execution of McGinnis.
"At 17, he (McGinnis) was aware of what he was doing. He knew the chance he was taking. He knew exactly what he was doing," Wilkerson said.
McGinnis has one final appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. If it fails, and Texas Gov. George W. Bush does not grant him a last-minute reprieve, the state of Texas will execute him on January 25.
The bespectacled young man thinks about the possibility of death often, but he said the thought does not consume him:
"It's imminent, inevitable, so you can beat yourself with it over the head everyday, or you can live with it. I live with it."
The United States is the only country known to have executed juveniles offenders in the last two years. Since it reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 13 juvenile offenders have been executed.
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