The US state of South Dakota on Monday night executed a death row inmate who believed that his trial had been tainted by jurors’ prejudices about his homosexuality.
Charles Rhines, 63, was given a lethal injection in Sioux Falls Penitentiary, just after the US Supreme Court rejected urgent appeals by his lawyers to try to get his case reviewed.
He was sentenced in 1993 to death for killing an employee during a burglary at a donut shop in the rural central United States.
“It is very sad and deeply unfair that the State of South Dakota executed Charles Rhines, a homosexual man, without any court examining the evidence of homophobic prejudice that weighed on the decision to sentence him to death. death sentence, “said his lawyer Shawn Nolan.
According to him, one of the members of the jury had refused to sentence Charles Rhines to life imprisonment on the grounds that it would amount to “sending him where he dreams of being”, with “men in prison”.
Another juror would have confirmed that there had been “a lot of talk about his homosexuality”, “a lot of disgust”.
The powerful civil rights organization ACLU supported him. “People must be punished for what they do not do what they are,” said one of her lawyers, Ria Tabacco Mar, citing the high court president.
During the proceedings, the Attorney General of South Dakota responded that the jury decided to impose the death sentence on Charles Rhines after hearing a recording of his confessions and not because of his sexual orientation.
According to them, Charles Rhines “laughed” during his confession and compared the spasms of the victim to those of “a decapitated chicken”.
Charles Rhines is the 18 th sentenced to death executed from the beginning of the year in the United States.