on yet another stain on the reputation of the freedom-loving state of Ohio where they prize individual rights so much. 

Capital punishment is an abomination, but at least Reginald Brooks went out in style.

Dressed in the standard white T-shirt and blue pants, Brooks declined to make a final statement and remained silent as he received the lethal injection. Witnesses, which included his former wife and her sisters, had a view of his left hand, its middle finger raised. Prison officials said he was making the same gesture with his right hand.

Brooks’ actions appear to have been unprecedented since the state resumed executions in 1999. Condemned Ohio inmates in the past have criticized their sentences, professed their innocence, given angry final statements and pleaded to be spared, but never made an obscene gesture.

Brooks’ lawyer said the gesture reflected the inmate’s anger at the final set of court decisions.

“That was his reaction to how things had gone down in the last couple of days,” defense attorney Michael Benza said.

“Even Reggie, the mentally ill, paranoid schizophrenic, understood how wrong the process was,” he said. “It wasn’t to the family, it was to the system that had treated him so badly these last few weeks.”

Does it take a panel of psychiatrists to determine that he was mentally ill? From the act he committed almost 30 years ago to the very last moment of his life, wasn’t it obvious?

What’s your opinion? Even some people who favor the death penalty agree we should take care not to execite mentally handicapped people, isn’t that right?

MikeB

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