Dead Pool 10th April 2022

We’ve got a points bonanza this week!!! 

With the sad passing of June Brown, both Trish and Shan get 155 points as they both had her down as their Woman. Each of the following get 55 points for June Brown: Rachel, Liz, Mark, Nickie, and Paul C. 

Paul C also gets a further 48 points for the passing of Nehemiah Persoff and another 100 points for Tom Smith!! Three deaths in one week!! 

I can also award 100 points each to Julia and Martin for also correctly guessing Tom Smith. 

Well done everyone, especially Paul C for three in one week, I’m tempted to send out the flying monkeys to make sure he didn’t have a hand in their deaths!!! 

So no huge change at the top of the league table, but quite a few of you have propelled yourselves into the top half this week. Congratulations everyone!

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

David McKee, the bestselling children’s author and creator of Elmer and Mr Benn, has died aged 87. The news was confirmed by his publisher Andersen Press, who says he died at his home in the South of France after a short illness. A spokesperson released a statement, which read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of David McKee, beloved author and illustrator for children, and creator of iconic children’s books Elmer, Not Now, Bernard and Mr Benn. All at Andersen Press hope his spirit lives on for many more generations through his joyful, heartfelt stories”. Andersen Press founder Klaus Flugge also said: “I am devastated by the sudden death of my best friend, David McKee. He was as close to Andersen Press as I am. He was there from the very beginning and essential to the origin of the company. He became great friends with everyone he encountered; staff, authors and illustrators alike.” McKee is best known for Elmer, which was first published in 1968, and later became one of the most popular children’s books in the world. McKee wrote 29 Elmer books, which have sold over 10 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 60 languages. The books have also been turned into an animated series, a stage play and a wide range of merchandise including soft toys. Another of McKee’s most popular creations, Mr Benn, was turned into a TV series. It is said that McKee based the suit and bowler hat-wearing character on Charlie Chaplin. McKee was born in Devon and later went on to study art in Plymouth. His writing career led to him travelling the world and spending considerable time in Italy, France and Spain.   

The woman who drew up lists of people for the German industrialist Oskar Schindler that helped save hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust has died aged 107. Mimi Reinhardt, who was employed as Schindler’s secretary, was in charge of drawing up the lists of Jewish workers from the ghetto of the Polish city of Kraków who were recruited to work at his factory, saving them from deportation to Nazi death camps. “My grandmother, so dear and so unique, passed away at the age of 107. Rest in peace,” Reinhardt’s granddaughter Nina wrote in a message to relatives. Austrian-born Reinhardt, who was also Jewish, was recruited by Schindler himself and worked for him until 1945. After the second world war, she moved to New York before deciding to move to Israel in 2007 to join her only son, Sasha Weitman, who was then a professor of sociology at Tel Aviv University. “I feel at home,” she told reporters when she landed in the country. Schindler, who died in 1974, was named by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum as a member of the “Righteous Among the Nations”, an honour for non-Jews who tried to save Jews from Nazi extermination. The lists that Reinhardt compiled for him helped to save about 1,300 people at considerable risk to his own life. His initiative was recounted in the bestselling 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark and the award-winning film adaptation by Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List. Reinhardt, who spent her last years at a nursing home north of Tel Aviv, had said she once met Spielberg but found it hard to watch the movie. The Israeli photographer Gideon Markowicz, who met Reinhardt as part of a project dedicated to Holocaust survivors, described her as an active woman. “She took part in the activities of the nursing home and was a bridge champion. She surfed the net and monitored the stock exchange,” he said.  

The family of late rapper Goonew has defended their decision to place what was allegedly the artist’s “embalmed corpse” on stage for his memorial service. The Maryland rapper, real name Markelle Morrow, was shot and killed on 18th March. This week, images and video footage circulated on social media purporting to show Goonew’s family and friends partying at Washington DC club Bliss, while his dead body – dressed in jeans, a hoodie, trainers and a crown – is propped up on stage. Goonews mother, Patrice, and his sister Ariana, told the flying monkeys that they wanted to display his body after seeing other services do something similar. His sister apparently told us that Goonew hadn’t wanted to be buried in a suit, and didn’t attend church, so they felt it would be inappropriate to have him in a casket. The owners of Bliss are reportedly investigating whether the body was real. In a statement, a representative said the club was “never made aware of what would transpire” during a $40 event Sunday that was billed as “The Final Show” for Goonew. The club said it had been contacted by a local funeral home and asked to rent out its venue for the “homecoming celebration”. It has offered a “sincere apology to all those who may be upset or offended”.

On This Day

  • 1815 – The Mount Tambora volcano begins a three-month-long eruption, lasting until July 15th. The eruption ultimately kills 71,000 people and affects Earth’s climate for the next two years.
  • 1858 – After the original Big Ben, a 14.5 tonne bell for the Palace of Westminster, had cracked during testing, it is recast into the current 13.76 tonne bell by Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
  • 1912 – RMS Titanic sets sail from Southampton, England on her maiden and only voyage.
  • 1970 – Paul McCartney announces that he is leaving The Beatles for personal and professional reasons.
  • 1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is signed in Northern Ireland.
  • 2019 – Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project announce the first ever image of a black hole, which was located in the centre of the M87 galaxy.


Botched American Executions

It is estimated that 3% of U.S. executions in the period from 1890 to 2010 were botched. In the 2014 book, Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty, Austin Sarat, a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College, describes the history of flawed executions in the U.S. during that period. Sarat reports that over those 120 years, 8,776 people were executed and 276 of those executions (3.15%) went wrong in some way. Lethal injection had the highest rate of botched executions. 

In his book, he defines a botched execution as follows: Botched executions occur when there is a breakdown in, or departure from, the “protocol” for a particular method of execution. The protocol can be established by the norms, expectations, and advertised virtues of each method or by the government’s officially adopted execution guidelines. Botched executions are “those involving unanticipated problems or delays that caused, at least arguably, unnecessary agony for the prisoner or that reflect gross incompetence of the executioner.” Examples of such problems include, among other things, inmates catching fire while being electrocuted, being strangled during hangings (instead of having their necks broken), and being administered the wrong dosages of specific drugs for lethal injections. 

Method Total Executions Botched Executions Botched Rate
Hanging 2,721 85 3.12%
Electrocution 4,374 84 1.92%
Lethal Gas 593 32 5.4%
Lethal Injection 1,054 75 7.12%
Firing Squad 34 0 0%
All Methods 8,776 276 3.15%

A report in the Salt Lake City Tribune takes a different view of the suggestion that there have been no botched executions by firing squad since 1890. The paper reports that in September 1951, a Utah firing squad shot Eliseo J. Mares in the hip and abdomen and that it was “several minutes” before he was declared dead. 

Here are a few more examples: 

August 10th 1982. Virginia. Frank J. Coppola. Electrocution. Although no media representatives witnessed the execution and no details were ever released by the Virginia Department of Corrections, an attorney who was present later stated that it took two 55-second jolts of electricity to kill Coppola. The second jolt produced the odour and sizzling sound of burning flesh, and Coppola’s head and leg caught on fire. Smoke filled the death chamber from floor to ceiling with a smoky haze. 

September 2nd 1983. Mississippi. Jimmy Lee Gray. Asphyxiation. Officials had to clear the room eight minutes after the gas was released when Gray’s desperate gasps for air repulsed witnesses. His attorney, Dennis Balske of Montgomery, Alabama, criticised state officials for clearing the room when the inmate was still alive. Said noted death penalty defence attorney David Bruck, “Jimmy Lee Gray died banging his head against a steel pole in the gas chamber while the reporters counted his moans.” Later it was revealed that the executioner, Barry Bruce, was drunk. 

December 12th 1984. Georgia. Alpha Otis Stephens. Electrocution. “The first charge of electricity failed to kill him, and he struggled to breathe for eight minutes before a second charge carried out his death sentence.” After the first two minute power surge, there was a six minute pause so his body could cool down before physicians could examine him (and declare that another jolt was needed). During that six-minute interval, Stephens took 23 breaths. A Georgia prison official said, “Stephens was just not a conductor” of electricity. December 13th 1988. Texas. Raymond Landry. Lethal Injection. Pronounced dead 40 minutes after being strapped to the execution gurney and 24 minutes after the drugs first started flowing into his arms. Two minutes after the drugs were administered, the syringe came out of Landry’s vein, spraying the deadly chemicals across the room toward witnesses. The curtain separating the witnesses from the inmate was then pulled, and not reopened for fourteen minutes while the execution team reinserted the catheter into the vein. Witnesses reported “at least one groan.” A spokesman for the Texas Department of Correction, Charles Brown, said, “There was something of a delay in the execution because of what officials called a ‘blowout.’ The syringe came out of the vein, and the warden  ordered the team to reinsert the catheter into the vein.” 

Sept. 15, 2009. Ohio. Romell Broom. Attempted Lethal Injection. Efforts to find a suitable vein and to execute Mr. Broom were terminated after more than two hours when the executioners were unable to find a useable vein in Mr. Broom’s arms or legs. During the failed efforts, Mr. Broom winced and grimaced with pain. After the first hour’s lack of success, on several occasions Broom tried to help the executioners find a good vein. “At one point, he covered his face with both hands and appeared to be sobbing, his stomach heaving. Finally, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland ordered the execution to stop, and announced plans to attempt the execution anew after a one-week delay so that physicians could be consulted for advice on how the man could be killed more efficiently. The executioners blamed the problems on Mr. Broom’s history of intravenous drug use. In December 2020, Broom died in prison before the sentence could be carried out.

April 6th 1992. Arizona. Donald Eugene Harding. Asphyxiation. Death was not pronounced until 10 1/2 minutes after the cyanide tablets were dropped. During the execution, Harding thrashed and struggled violently against the restraining straps. A television journalist who witnessed the execution, Cameron Harper, said that Harding’s spasms and jerks lasted 6 minutes and 37 seconds. “Obviously, this man was suffering. This was a violent death, an ugly event. We put animals to death more humanely.” Another witness, newspaper reporter Carla McClain, said, “Harding’s death was extremely violent. He was in great pain. I heard him gasp and moan. I saw his body turn from red to purple.”One reporter who witnessed the execution suffered from insomnia and assorted illnesses for several weeks; two others were “walking vegetables” for several days. 

March 25th 1997. Florida. Pedro Medina. Electrocution. A crown of foot-high flames shot from the headpiece during the execution, filling the execution chamber with a stench of thick smoke and gagging the two dozen official witnesses. An official then threw a switch to manually cut off the power and prematurely end the two-minute cycle of 2,000 volts. Medina’s chest continued to heave until the flames stopped and death came. After the execution, prison officials blamed the fire on a corroded copper screen in the headpiece of the electric chair, but two experts hired by the governor later concluded that the fire was caused by the improper application of a sponge (designed to conduct electricity) to Medina’s head.  

December 13, 2006. Florida. Angel Diaz. Lethal Injection. After the first injection was administered, Mr. Diaz continued to move, and was squinting and grimacing as he tried to mouth words. A second dose was then administered, and 34 minutes passed before Mr. Diaz was declared dead. At first a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections claimed that this was because Mr. Diaz had some sort of liver disease. After performing an autopsy, the Medical Examiner, Dr. William Hamilton, stated that Mr. Diaz’s liver was undamaged, but that the IV catheters (which had been inserted in both arms) had gone through Mr. Diaz’s veins and out the other side, so the deadly chemicals were injected into soft tissue, rather than the vein. Two days after the execution, Governor Jeb Bush temporarily suspended all executions in the state and appointed a commission “to consider the humanity and constitutionality of lethal injections.”  

Last Week’s Birthdays

Daisy Ridley (30), Charlie Hunnam (42), Haley Joel Osment (34), David Harbour (47), Steven Seagal (70), Barkhad Abdi (37), Peter MacNicol (68), Kristen Stewart (32), Elle Fanning (24), Dennis Quaid (68), Cynthia Nixon (56), Mark Pellegrino (57), Patricia Arquette (54), Katee Sackhoff (42), Robin Wright (56), Dean Norris (59), Francis Ford Coppola (83), Russell Crowe (58), Jackie Chan (68), Paul Rudd (53), Zach Braff (47), Michael Rooker (67), John Ratzenberger (75), Billy Dee Williams (85), Lily James (33), Mitch Pileggi (70), Pharrell Williams (49), Robert Downey Jr. (57), Hugo Weaving (62), Graham Norton (59), and Xenia Seeberg (54).

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