Before your read the following I just want to give you a brief overview of what it takes to become a jury member of a death row trial.
A death-qualified jury is a jury in a criminal case in the USA in which the death penalty is a prospective sentence. Such a jury will be composed of jurors who:
- Are not categorically opposed to the imposition of capital punishment;
- Are not of the belief that the death penalty must be imposed in all instances of capital murder—that is, they would consider life imprisonment as a possible penalty.
So anyone who has been accused of a crime that has the potential sentence of Death, is already fighting a losing battle as these individuals all belive in the death penalty. Now is that really a fair trial if all the people deciding this individuals fate already believe in the very thing we are fighting against?
It’s also been found over multiple studies that death-qualified juries are made up of fewer women and minorities.
Another important fact which shows a huge flaw in the “justice system” is that 1 in every 9 people on Death Row is either proven to be innocent or have their sentenced changed due to new evidence coming to light.
How can any state continue to execute people when you have those statistics in front of you. The system is flawed and broken.
After the tragedy, Charles Thompson turned himself in, in the presence of his father.
On May 1, 1998, charges of manslaughter were filed against him in the case of Darren Cain. When Ms. Hayslip died, the charges were changed to capital murder on May 7, 1998.
Because two people lost their lives, the prosecution ensured that Charles’ case would be a capital murder trial. This is allowed according to Texas law, but ONLY if it was premeditated murder in both cases, which is not the case at all. There was no premeditation in either death.
On April 12, 1999 the trial started. The key issue of the trial was whether, as alleged, Thompson caused the death of Dennise Hayslip. The jury had only two options: either it was capital murder for both deaths, or it was murder for Cain only. If the jury would have not have decided for capital murder for both deaths, Thompson would have received no punishment for the death of Dennise Hayslip. This made the decision for the jurors very easy, especially considering the inadequate defense Thompson got at his trial.
The trial lasted only three days, at the end of which Charles Thompson was found guilty of double capital murder.
Two days later, on April 16, 1999, he was sentenced to death.