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Executions of Fed Prisoners May Be Rare But the Denver U.S. Atty. Will Try for Dealth Penalty in 2 Cases

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Going for the federal death penalty is one thing. Putting a federal inmate to death is another.

Since the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in 1988,  three  federal inmates have actually been executed and 60 are sitting on death row, according to Death Penalty Information Center. The last inmate to be executed was Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.

Now comes one of the latest pushes:  U.S. Attorney John Walsh in Denver is seeking  the death penalty for two inmates already convicted of murder, who face fresh charges of killing inmates at the Supermax” federal prison  in Colorado, according to the Denver Post. It is the first time a U.S. Attorney in Denver has filed notice to go after the death penalty since 2001, the paper reported. The inmates names are Richard Santiago and Gary Watland and are charged in separate murders.

The Denver Post reported that  Santiago, 51, is accused of beating a man to death at the Supermax prison in 2005. Authorities charged that he and another inmate, Silvestre Mayorqui Rivera,  stomped  on inmate Manuel Torrez until he was unresponsive. After walking away, Santiago returned and kicked him in the head and torso several times, the Post reported.

Prosecutors are only seeking the death penalty against Santiago, who claims to be in the Mexican Mafia,  and  was involved in a previous murder while in custody in Fresno, Calif., the Denver Post reported.

In the other case, inmate Gary Douglas Watland, 48, is accused of stabbing fellow inmate Mark James Baker in the neck and head with a homemade metal “shank” in 2008, the Post reported. The paper reported that Watland was serving a life sentence for a state murder at the time of the prison slaying.


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