Death row inmate 'too heavy to hang' dies

Mitchell Rupe, a former death row inmate once found too heavy to hang, died at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla following a long illness. He was 51.

Spokeswoman Lori Scamahorn said Rupe died yesterday at the hospital inside the prison grounds.

He had been there since January 3.

Rupe shot two Olympia bank cashiers to death at point-blank range during a 1981 robbery.

Juries twice sentenced him to death, but higher courts overturned the sentences.

In 1994, a federal judge upheld his conviction but agreed with Rupe’s contention that at 400 pounds (more than 25 stone), he was too heavy to hang because of the risk of decapitation.

Rupe argued that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

At the time, Washington’s only manner of execution was hanging.

The main method now is lethal injection.

Prosecutors tried for the death penalty a third time in 2000, but a jury deadlocked 11-1 – just shy of the unanimous vote required for capital punishment.

More in this Section

Revellers restrain suspected killer in the UK by sitting on him until police arriveRevellers restrain suspected killer in the UK by sitting on him until police arrive

Enigmatic artist who made €5.4m gold toilet denies theft was a prankEnigmatic artist who made €5.4m gold toilet denies theft was a prank

Boris Johnson: We’ll break out of EU’s manacles like The Hulk if no deal struckBoris Johnson: We’ll break out of EU’s manacles like The Hulk if no deal struck

Jo Swinson: I’ll cancel Brexit if I’m PMJo Swinson: I’ll cancel Brexit if I’m PM


Lifestyle

Here are five things to check out in the week ahead.5 things for the week ahead

A reader from Ovens recently got in touch to voice concern about the dead horse chestnut treesBleeding canker disease hitting beloved ‘conker’ tree hard

As the weather turns cooler, people will be paying over the counter for cures for seasonal colds and sniffles. But we don’t have to look far for free vitamin C.Time is ripe for this berry

The evening may have gotten off to a slow start, but velvet-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter Feist’s performance at Cork Opera House on Saturday night was worth waiting for.Velvet-voiced Feist worth the wait

More From The Irish Examiner