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The State wins

Read All-White Juries and the Death Penalty

Andre ColeYesterday, Andre Cole was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm for the 1998 stabbing death of his ex-wife’s friend, Anthony Curtis. Terri Cole, the ex-wife, survived her stabbing attack. Those who knew Andre say that his response to his paycheck being garnisheed for  back child support was uncharacteristic but an all-white jury wasn’t interested.  His determined attorneys, Joe Luby and Carol Camp of the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic, wrestled with the appeal courts until the end. Cole was finally executed at 10:15 pm after refusing the so-called last meal.

Both the families of Anthony Curtis and Terri Cole has expressed their opposition to Cole’s execution.  There’s no doubt that a murder within a family is incredibly painful for both sides. The State always pretends that the family’s wishes inform their decision about proceeding or not with an execution but this really only holds true when the families side with the prosecution.

It is always extremely difficult for me to write or talk to the men facing execution. What can you say that doesn’t sound trite? In all the cases, these men have made our encounters easier by taking the lead and the weight of the moment. Even in the last hours of life, they have shown unbelievable calm and remorse.

But looking the children  of a condemned man in eye is just gut-wrenching; I try to be hopeful and strong for them. As hard as justice-seeking people worked, we could not guarantee to the Cole that the execution would be halted and his sentence commuted.

And so St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, MO Attorney General Koster and Governor Nixon can add another notch to their belts.  The struggle to end the death penalty continues.


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