• John S. Quarterman

A coincidence: Troy Davis, the black man whose execution by the state of Georgia drew widespread condemnation on the basis of the tenuous evidence behind it, was executed on the same night as Lawrence Brewer, whose own capital case provoked little sympathy. He was one of the men convicted of dragging James Byrd to death behind a pickup truck in 1998. Many of Davis’s sympathizers were death-penalty abolitionists—indeed, his execution was pointed to as evidence, as if any more were needed, of the vile and capricious nature of the capital system. Situations like Davis’s are easier to make a case against the death penalty with; Brewer’s, less so. Greg Mitchell writes on the Nation‘s website:

There is the matter of the brutality of the crime. Not only was it racist in origin but evidence suggests Byrd was alive for most of the ordeal, losing body parts as he was dragged and ultimately decapitated. Then there is the fact that Brewer (and at least one of his colleagues, also on death row) was a white supremacist.

Also: he is unrepentant. In July, in his only interview with the media since the arrest thirteen years ago, he told a Texas TV reporter: “I have no regrets. I’d do it all over again to tell you the truth.”