Dead Pool 20th November 2022
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Sue Baker, 67, British television presenter (Top Gear), motor neurone disease.
- John Aniston, 89, Greek-born American actor (Days of Our Lives, Love of Life, Search for Tomorrow).
- Nicki Aycox, 47, American actress (Dark Blue, Jeepers Creepers 2, Supernatural), leukaemia.
- Robert Clary, 96, French-American actor (Hogan’s Heroes, Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful).
- Greg Bear, 71, American science fiction writer (The Forge of God, Queen of Angels, Blood Music), stroke.
- Jason David Frank, 49, American actor (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Sweet Valley High, The Junior Defenders) and mixed martial artist.
In Other News
Officials have set an execution date in early 2023 for a man on death row described by critics as “one of the most mentally ill prisoners in Texas history,” the final step in a conviction process with documented instances of racism. In 2005, at age 21, Andre Thomas, a Black man, was sentenced to death for the murder of his estranged wife, Laura Boren, a white woman, their son Andrew, as well as Ms Boren’s daughter Leyha. According to his attorneys, Thomas who began hearing voices in his head at age 9, committed the murders in the midst of documented psychosis, believing his family members represented Jezebel, the anti-Christ, and an evil spirit, before attempting stabbing himself in the heart. He didn’t die, and later turned himself in. “Andre Thomas is one of the most mentally ill prisoners in Texas history,” Maurie Levin, Thomas’s attorney, said in a statement. “His profound illness led him to remove both of his eyes and has rendered him incompetent for execution. For the past 13 years Mr. Thomas has resided at the Wayne Scott Unit, where the most mentally ill Texas prisoners are housed. There he is given multiple powerful anti-psychotic drugs, which manage only to mitigate his auditory and visual hallucinations.” Thomas doesn’t dispute that he committed the murders; instead, his attorneys argue he was mentally unfit to stand trial, let alone be executed. Two days before the 2004 murders, Thomas was diagnosed in a hospital as psychotic and suffering from hallucinations, following one of many suicide attempts, but he wandered away from the facility before he could get further care. Once in jail, Thomas removed one of his eyes while awaiting trial, prompting the state to declare him temporarily unfit to stand trial, and he was sent to a state mental hospital. Forty-seven days later, doctors there declared Thomas ready to be tried, and the Texas man’s attorneys didn’t raise the question of his mental competence. As a result, the jury didn’t hear about his lengthy history of mental health crises. Critics say there were further issues with the trial process. Because the case involved a murder committed by a Black man against his white ex-wife, jurors were asked on their screening questionnaires about their views on interracial relationships. Three jurors, all of whom served on the all-white jury that sentenced Thomas to death, evinced explicit disapproval of interracial relationships. “I don’t believe God intended for this,” one wrote, while another said they believed ‘we should stay with our Blood Line.’” At trial, prosecutors played explicitly to racist fears, with attorneys asking if the jury was comfortable to “take that risk” and allow Thomas to survive, meaning he could someday “ask your daughter or your granddaughter out.” “The importance of having a jury that did not already come with existing bias is very strong [in Thomas’ case],” Ngozi Ndulue, deputy director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told the flying monkeys. “It’s really profound to see the lack of effort on the part of an attorney that would allow these jurors to serve.” That month, the Supreme Court declined to review Thomas’s case, with three liberal justices dissenting. “This case involves a heinous crime apparently committed by someone who suffered severe psychological trauma,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. “Whether Thomas’ psychological disturbances explain or in any way excuse his commission of murder, however, is beside the point. No jury deciding whether to recommend a death sentence should be tainted by potential racial biases that could infect its deliberations or decision, particularly where the case involved an interracial crime.” Thomas is set to be executed in 5th April, 2023.
Jane Fonda has pondered on her mortality, saying she is “ready” to die. The actor and activist, 84, said that people her age need to be “realistic” and should “be aware of the amount of time that is behind you as opposed to in front you”. She told the flying monkeys that she’s “aware” she is “not going to be around for much longer”, adding that she is “ready” as she has “had a great life”. “Not that I want to go, but I’m aware that it’s going to be sooner rather than later,” she added, stating: “That’s just realistic.” In September, Fonda revealed she had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, a part of the body’s immune system dedicated to fighting germs. She wrote on Instagram: “This is a very treatable cancer. Eighty per cent of people survive, so I feel very lucky. I’m also lucky because I have health insurance and access to the best doctors and treatments. I realise, and it’s painful, that I am privileged in this.” Fonda said that she would undergo six months of chemotherapy and that, so far, she has been “handling the treatments quite well”.
On This Day
- 1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacks and sinks the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America. (Herman Melville‘s 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this incident.)
- 1947 – The Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, who becomes the Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London.
- 1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0, the first graphical personal computer operating environment developed by Microsoft, is released.
- 1990 – Andrei Chikatilo, one of the Soviet Union’s most prolific serial killers, is arrested; he eventually confesses to 56 killings.
- 1992 – In England, a fire breaks out in Windsor Castle, badly damaging the castle and causing over £50 million worth of damage.
- 1910 – Leo Tolstoy, Russian author and playwright (b. 1828).
- 1975 – Francisco Franco, Spanish general and dictator, Prime Minister of Spain (b. 1892).
- 2003 – Robert Addie, English actor (b. 1960).
- 2006 – Robert Altman, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1925).
Last Week’s Birthdays
Sean Young (63), Ming-Na Wen (59), Bo Derek (66), Joe Biden (80), Meg Ryan (61), Adam Driver (39), Jodie Foster (60), Terry Farrell (59), Kathleen Quinlan (68), Robert Beltran (69), Owen Wilson (64), Linda Evans (80), Delroy Lindo (50), Alan Moore (69), Rachel McAdams (44), Martin Scorsese (80), Tom Ellis (44), Danny DeVito (78), Sophie Marceau (56), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (64), RuPaul (62), Pete Davidson (29), Missi Pyle (50), Maggie Gyllenhaal (45), Martha Plimpton (52), Lisa Bonet (55), Gigi Edgley (45), Jonny Lee Miller (50), Winston Duke (36), Beverly D’Angelo (71), Petula Clark (90), Olga Kurylenko (43), Russell Tovey (41), Paul McGann (63), Sandahl Bergman (71), and King Charles III (75).