Saving 49, strike that, make it 51 Lives (Part 8)

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

This may be my final, daily essay on this topic. This is my essay for Sunday, February 8, 2009, but I’m putting it up now.

This essay is about reason number 2,781 for signing this petition and for emailing Attorney General Holder at or  at to ask the Attorney General to reconsider whether prosecutors should seek the death penalty in the pending 49 50 51 federal death penalty cases, and when he determines that these cases are not appropriate for that extremely barbaric, horrific, inhuman penalty (no cases in actuality are ever appropriate for the death penalty), to direct prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.  


This is the eighth essay, and potentially the final essay in a series.  You can also read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 right here at docuDharma and also at GOS and also at The Dream Antilles

As you can see, something quite distressing happened on Friday.

Unfortunately, the November, 2008 election didn’t stop Bush and his Attorneys General from making decisions about which federal cases merited the death penalty.  They continued to order federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty even as they were on their way out the door.  And so on Friday, February 6, 2008, we learned that the United States Attorney for Connecticut had been directed by the former Attorney General to seek the death penalty in the case of Azibo “Dreddy” Aquart and his brother, Azikiwe “Zee” Aquart, and that a notice that the death penalty would be sought was filed in Court in Bridgeport.  I have no idea how many other death penalty notices will now be hauled out, all asking that the death penalty be imposed in federal cases, the final barbaric legacy of a corrupt Attorney General’s office.

The Connecticut Post reports:

BRIDGEPORT — Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for two brothers accused of ordering and participating in the 2005 triple murders of rival drug gang members.

Acting U.S. Attorney Nora R. Dannehy notified Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey that her office will be seeking the death penalty if Azibo “Dreddy” Aquart, 28, and his brother, Azikiwe “Zee” Aquart, 29, are convicted “for one or more of the intentional killings” of Tina Johnson, 43: her boyfriend, James Reid, 40; and a visiting family friend, Basil Williams, 54.

The trio was found covered with blood after being bludgeoned to death in an apartment at 215 Charles St., where the Aquarts are accused of running a crack cocaine trafficking ring.

The faces of all three victims were covered with duct tape.

The Aquart brothers were indicted this past June.  They remain incarcerated.

This isn’t the first time the Attorney General ordered Connecticut federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

In 2003, federal prosecutors tried Luke “Mega” Jones, the head of a violent drug trafficking ring based in the P.T. Barnum Housing Project, on operating a continuing criminal enterprise that engaged in murder.

It was the first federal death penalty trial in at least 50 years in Connecticut.

After hearing evidence, Senior U.S. District Judge Alan H. Nevas declined to allow the death penalty charge to go to the jury after determining one of the murders was not linked to drug trafficking. Instead Nevas imposed four life sentences and two 10-year terms on Jones.

But apparently, even though Connecticut has a state death penalty statute, in Republican Attorney General land, it’s always try, try, try again.  Try to spread death.  Try to expand state killing.  It’s always dogged persistence in the service of killing.

I think those of us opposed to state killing also need to be persistent.  I’ve tried to model persistence for the past week.  I will no doubt continue in the future. We need to take to heart the wisdom of the Dalai Lama:

Never give up

No matter what is going on

Never give up

Develop the heart

Too much energy in your country is spent

developing the mind instead of the heart

Develop the heart,

Be compassionate

Not just to your friends but to everyone,

be compassionate

Work for peace in your heart and in the world

Work for peace, and I say again

Never give up

No matter what is happening

No matter what is going on around you

Never give up.

And so, I ask you again, dear reader, please don’t give up.  Not now.  Not ever.  Please ask Attorney General Holder to review each of the now 51 cases in which federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, and ask him to determine that the death penalty is not appropriate in these cases, that a maximum penalty of life without parole will suffice.  As I’ve said before, that’s not asking a lot.

Please join the 115 people who have signed this Petition since February 2, 2009.  Please sign the petition.

Please email the Attorney General at or  You can use this text or make up your own 500 character text:

Please review all of the determinations made by previous administrations to seek the federal death penalty.  There are 49 defendants who presently face the death penalty because of decisions made by former attorneys general.  Many of these decisions overruled local US Attorneys’ views, were politically motivated, and do not meet the expressed criteria of the present administration for seeking execution. Such a review can save lives and restore confidence in the justice department.  Thank you.

Thank you for all you do to stop state killing.


    • davidseth on February 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    and prevent others from killing.

    Thank you for your encouragement.  And thank you for reading.

Comments have been disabled.