The American Judicial system has numerous forms of punishment, all aimed at suiting the crime in question. For some criminals that means life in jail, for others it means community service and for some it means the death sentence. 1,386 people have been executed in America with Texas leading the way with over 1/3 of the executions. Out of those 1,386 people who have been executed in America only a few are women. Death row, also known as capital punishment, is the most severe form of punishment you can be given. There are different forms of capital punishment: Lethal Injection, Electrocution, Lethal Gas, Firing Squad and Hanging, however the most popular methods are Lethal Injection and Electrocution.
There is a lot of controversy when it comes to death row, especially when teenagers committed the crimes. The following ten people were all under 28 years old when they died and all committed the crimes before they were 20 years old. Many petitions were signed in all of these cases stating that the following criminals were children at the time of the crime and should not be executed. However, the attempts to re-charge these young killers failed and the following ten young men all died a forced death in jail. Everyone has their opinion in regards to capital punishment especially when the crimes were committed by such young people.
10 Johnny Garrett - 28 years old
Garrett was a Texas inmate who was executed for the horrific rape and murder of Tadea Benz, a 76-year-old nun. The events took place October 31, 1981, and Garrett was arrested on November 9. Benz was brutally raped and then stabbed with a knife and Garrett was seen fleeing the crime scene around the time of the crime. Johnny Garrett was 17 years old at the time of the sentencing and is said to have been severely mentally handicapped. This is a controversial case and the state of Texas underwent heavy criticism for sentencing a juvenile with mental disabilities to be executed.
9 Glen Charles McGinnis - 27 years old
In August 1990 the body of Leta Wilkerson a clerk at Wilkins dry cleaners in Texas was found lying face up on the floor covered in blood. The victim had been shot four times, 1 in the face and 3 in the back. $140 was stolen from the cash register and the victims van was missing from the parking lot. Employees from a shopping center nearby identified McGinnis after he asked for assistance after the van broke down. The next day, McGinnis was arrested at his aunt’s house. The home was located two blocks from the crime scene and police found him with $105 and a .25 caliber handgun which was later determined as the murder weapon. McGinnis was executed January 25, 2000 by lethal injection.
8 Ruben Montoya Cantu - 26 years old
Ruben Montoya Cantu was born in December 1966. Until the age of fourteen he lived with both his mother and father, however they split up. His mother moved 20 miles away and Ruben and his father remained in their trailer home. They lived in a crime-infested area in San Antonio Texas and by the age of fifteen Cantu was stealing cars, however his attempts at auto theft are not the reason he died the way he did. At the age of seventeen, Cantu committed an armed robbery that resulted in murder and in August of 1993 Cantu was killed by lethal injection.
7 Douglas Christopher Thomas - 26 years old
Douglas Christopher Thomas was sentenced to death for the murder of Kathy and J.B. Wiseman which took place in November of 1990. At the time of the crime, Thomas was only 17 years old. He had been dating the victims' 14-year-old daughter Jessica for some time before the murder. Thomas was madly in love with their daughter but they did not approve of the relationship and pressured Jessica to end it with Thomas. Jessica however was not willing to do so and she became infuriated with her parents. Jessica helped Thomas into her window on that November night and helped him make the place look like an attempted robbery happened. Thomas shot the couple as they slept. Jessica was tried as a juvenile and was released on her 21st birthday, her boyfriend Thomas however, was sentenced to death.
6 Napoleon Beazley - 25 years old
Beazley was to be executed by lethal injection in the state of Texas. He was convicted of the murder of John Luttig, a businessman who was 63 years old at the time. The murder took place in Luttig’s garage in April of 1994. Apparently Beazley wanted to steal the victim’s Mercedes-Benz. The killer shot at Luttig’s wife also. He missed and she played dead which saved her life. Beazley did not act alone, he had two accomplices Donald and Cedrick Coleman who both testified against him. Both Donald and Cedrick are serving a life-sentence in prison, unlike Beazley who died in 2002 at the ripe age of 25.
5 James Terry Roach - 25 years old
James Terry Roach was the second person to be executed in South Carolina. Roach was convicted of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl and the murder of a 17-year-old boy. Roach was only 17 years old at the time of the crimes and evidence showed that he was mentally disabled with an IQ as low as 75. Experts believe he was suffering from Huntington’s Chorea. Many petitioned to have the young man resentenced due to his age and mental intellect but all attempts failed. Regardless of the attempts, Roach was sentenced to death and was electrocuted in 1986 on January 10.
4 Jay Kelly Pinkerton - 24 years old
Jay Kellu Pinkerton, better known as the Texas Slayer, raped and murdered two women at the age of 17. At 24, he became the youngest man to ever be executed in Texas. Pinkerton brutally murdered Sarah Donn Lawrence on October 26, 1979. Pinkerton brutally raped Lawrence then stabbed her over 30 times and raped her again. The crime took place while her children were sound asleep down the hall, he was arrested but was released due to insufficient evidence. Five months later Pinkerton struck again. He raped and murdered former beauty queen Sherry Wlech while she was working at the furniture store she managed. In May 1981, Pinkerton was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Sarah Lawrence due to new evidence that was found and on May 15, 1986 Pinkerton died by lethal injection.
3 Dwayne Allen Wright - 24 years old
Dwayne Allen Wright was executed at the Greensville Correctional Center by lethal injection. Although Wright was committed when he was 17 years old but was always a violent person. He made homemade knives in prison and used them to attack other inmates. Wright’s attorneys argued that he suffered brain damage when he was a child and that he was borderline retarded. However, three specialists claimed that he did not have brain damage and he was sentenced to death after brutally killing three people. The then 17-year-old killed Saba Tekle outside of her apartment and had killed two other people earlier in the week. Before he shot Tekle he raped her. Wright died at the age of 24.
2 Toronto Markkey Patterson - 24 years old
Toronto started his crime life by selling crack cocaine. By the age of 15 he was deeply involved in gang activity. At 17, his love for fancy cars and expensive things got the better of him. Knowing that a cousin, who was serving time, had a BMW with chrome wheels in storage, Patterson came up with a vicious plan to get his hands on it. He shot his cousin Kimberly and her two daughters ages 3 and 6 in the head, resulting in their death. Toronto Markkey Patterson died by lethal injection in Texas in 2002 at the age of 24.
1 Steve Edward Roach - 23 years old
Steve Edward Roach is the youngest person to be sentenced to death and die on death row. At the age of 17 Steve Roach was convicted of the capital murder of Mary Ann Hughes. The 70-year-old victim was found dead on December 3, 1993. Roach murdered the innocent old woman by shooting her in the chest while standing in her doorway. He often helped Mary Ann by chopping wood for her and cutting grass. After he killed her, he stole her Buick and attempted to take money out with her debit card before turning himself in. He claimed to not know why he had killed Hughes. Roach died at the age of 23 by lethal injection in Virginia.