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Criminal Law Assignment: Death Penalty In America


This criminal law assignment will utilize two web-based resources:

Death Penalty Information Center; and
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Using these two resources, answer the following questions.

  1. How many people were on death row in the United States as of April 1, 2021? How many of those were on death row in Texas?
  2. Find the list of executed offenders in Texas. Who was the most recently executed offender? On what date was he executed? Describe the crimes for which he was executed and his last words.
  3. Read about the federal death penalty:
    After a 17-year hiatus, the federal government resumed executions last year. 13 of the 16 total executions carried out by the federal government in the modern era, occurred in the 6-month period between July 2020 and January 2021. Find the list of people executed under the federal death penalty since 2001. Choose one and describe his or her crimes in detail. (Use outside resources. Your response should include more information that was is included in the short blurb on DPIC.) Do you believe this offender deserved the death penalty? Why or why not?
  4. How many executions have occurred so far in 2021? Of those, how many were in Texas?
  5. Find the list of scheduled executions in the state of Texas. Who is scheduled to be executed next? Research the offender and his crimes. Name the most interesting thing you’ve learned about this offender and the crime(s) he committed. (I will grade this question on a curve, giving the highest points to the most original responses and the lowest points for the most-cited responses. Your score for this question will be on a scale of 1-5.) Follow the link for Death Row Facts at Answer the following questions:
    1. Name two crimes which may be punishable by death in Texas.
    2. Based on the list, which factors may the prosecutor have used to make John Hummel eligible for the death penalty in Texas?
    3. What are the names and execution dates for the inmates with the shortest and longest stay on death row in Texas since 1976?
    4. What is the average age of offenders executed in Texas?
  6. Would you attend the execution of a death row inmate? Why or why not?


Answer to Q1:
As per the research on criminal law assignment, the number of people who were on death row in the United States as of April 2021 was 2528 people.

The number of people who were on death row in Texas as of April 2021 was 573 people (

Answer to Q2:
The most recently executed offender in Texas was Rick Rhoades. He was executed on the 28th of September 2021.

He was executed for murdering his two brothers as well as committed theft of money after murdering his brothers. This incident was committed by Risk Rhoades on the 13th of September 1991 (

He made no last statement before the death execution was made.

Answer to Q3:
Rick Rhoades has been chosen as the offender who was executed on the death penalty by Harris County as well as by the Supreme Court of United States. Rick Rhoades has been executed for the death penalty on September 28 2021 for murdering his two brothers when they were sleeping. He entered the room of his brothers and murdered them by stabbing them. He has murdered his two brothers in the year 1991 after he has been released on parole. He was serving a sentence of six years for committing burglary and the day after he was released on parole he stabbed his two brothers which occurred during a fight between them and stole money from them and left (Death Penalty Information Center).

Yes, I believe the offender should be punished with the death penalty because he going through while going through the execution the person will go through the same pain that he had given to the person whom he had murdered. Moreover, when a person intentionally takes away a life of an individual, the offender also waives his right to life and liberty. Further, the relatives of the victims also get the satisfaction that the soul of the victim can rest in peace after seeing that the offender has been harshly punished. Moreover, the death penalty also creates deterrence in the mind of the offenders before committing such heinous crimes within the society (Ca5.Uscourts.Gov,).

Answer to Q4:
There have been 6 executions that occurred in the year 2021 in the United States and out of the total number of 6 executions 3 of the executions occurred in Texas.

Answer to Q5:
According to the data of scheduled execution in Texas, the next execution shall be done on the 12th of October 2021 of Stephen Barbee in the county of Tarrant.

On 19th February 2005, Stephen Dale Barbee who is a resident of Tarrant County has asphyxiated a female of white race aged 34 years and a white male of 7 years and has transported the bodies of the victim to a Woodside area and buried their body.

The most interesting thing that has been learned about the offender that is Stephen Dale Barbee is that he is by occupation a laborer and has been married. He killed his girlfriend Lisa Underwood and the 7-year-old son of Lisa by suffocating them. The motive behind the murder was to keep his affairs with Lisa secret from his wife. Lisa argued with Stephen to leave his wife and marry Lisa. This has raised an argument between them and in a rage of anger, Stephen suffocated Lisa Underwood who was seven months pregnant, and killed her. After killing Lisa, Stephen also killed Lisa's Seven-year-old son Jayden by suffocating him and drive the bodies of Lisa and Jayden at the back of Lisa's SUV and went to Denton Country and buried their body. From this incident, it has been found very interesting that one can kill a person just to keep his dirty secrets out of his close ones. Stephen has killed Lisa because she was pregnant and if Lisa gave birth to the unborn child then it would be a problem for Stephen as he has been married before he has established an extramarital relationship with Lisa and Lisa was pregnant for nearly seven months.

He was very conscious while committing the crime. He had thought that if he would murder Lisa with a hard object then he will be easily caught by police as the police might get any evidence by using forensic investigation. However, in case of strangulation or asphyxiation, there are fewer chances of getting any evidence connected with Stephens. Moreover, he also killed his seven-year son who was the only eyewitness of the murder of Lisa and therefore, if Jayden the seven-year-old son of Lisa is alive then Stephen will be in the problem. So he killed Jayden and took both the bodies in a far away area and buried their bodies under. This burying of the bodies has also been done to conceal all the evidence of the murder (

Answer to Q5 a
Two crimes that may be punishable by death in Texas are:

  • Committing murder while attempting to commit kidnapping, robbery, burglary, or sexual assault.
  • Murdering an individual who is below the age of 10 years.

Answer to Q5b
According to the List of Capital Offences which will amount to the death penalty as provided under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, it can be said that John Hummel has been prosecuted for murdering multiple people on the same cause of action as well as murdered a child below the age of 10 years.

Answer to Q5c
The name of the inmate with the shortest stay on the death row in Texas since 1976 is Joe Gonzales who has been an inmate for 252 days and was executed on the 18th of September 1996 and the longest stay on the death row David Lee Powell who has stayed in the death row for 11,575 days that is 31 years and the execution date was 15th of June 2010.

Answer to Q5d
The average age of the offenders who have been executed in Texas is 39 years (

Answer to Q6
No, I would not attend the execution of a death row inmate because deaths are very painful and I cannot see one suffering in lots of pain while they die even though the person who has been executed has committed a heinous crime. I may not show the offender mercy but still being a human I cannot watch a man dying in front of me.

Reference List:
"Death Row Information". Tdcj.Texas.Gov, 2021,

"Death Row Information". Tdcj.Texas.Gov, 2021,

"Death Row Information". Tdcj.Texas.Gov, 2021,

"Death Row Information". Tdcj.Texas.Gov, 2021,


"Texas Executes Rick Rhoades, The First Execution From Harris County In Two Years". Criminal law assignment Death Penalty Information Center, 2021,


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