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US man who asked for death executed in Alabama

24 october 2011, 12:17
The death chamber, USA. ©Reuters
The death chamber, USA. ©Reuters
A US man convicted of murdering his six-month son -- and who had asked to be put to death during his trial -- was executed in the southern state of Alabama on Thursday, AFP reports, citing prison authorities.

Christopher Johnson, 39, was executed by lethal injection after only four years on death row -- far fewer than the average of 14 years, according to the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.

"Game over," Johnson said before the injection was administered, according to prison officials.

At his 2006 trial, Johnson refused counsel and defended himself. He asked the court to put him to death, and then refused to file any appeals against his February 2007 conviction, or allow anyone to appeal the ruling on his behalf.

Johnson admitted to beating and suffocating his son in 2005 out of hatred for his wife. His conviction was confirmed after a mandatory review of the case by an appeals court in 2009, according to court documents.

The group Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty, which is based in Alabama, said Johnson was a "volunteer" because he was willing to die.

"We are a prisoner organization and therefore respect a prisoner's wishes. Nevertheless, we question Mr Johnson's mental stability, which allowed him to make this kind of decision," the group said in a statement.

The head of the Death Penalty Information Center, Richard Dieter, said there "should have been further review" of the case, as authorities ran the risk of executing prisoners who wanted to commit suicide.

Johnson was the sixth inmate executed in Alabama this year. More than three dozen people have been put to death nationwide in 2011.

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