Death Sentence

Matt Rourke / AP

For decades in the 20th Century, the U.S. treated children differently than adults in the criminal court system -- experts at the time believed kids were inherently more capable of rehabilitation. 

Study Finds Victim’s Race A Factor In Imposing Death Sentences

Oct 23, 2017
Kiichiro Sato / AP

A new study of capital punishment in Pennsylvania found that death sentences are more common when the victim is white and less frequent when the victim is black.

The report, which drew from court and prosecution records over an 11-year period, concluded that a white victim increases the odds of a death sentence by 8 percent. When the victim is black, the chances are 6 percent lower.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Over the last 50 years, more than 8,000 people have been sentenced to die under the death penalty, and 1,500 of them were ultimately executed. But today, the death penalty has fallen out of favor.

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. preyed upon prostitutes and drug addicts in Los Angeles in a string of murders going back to the 1980s. Prosecutors said he dumped the bodies in trash bins and alleyways. He came to be called the Grim Sleeper.

But one woman he had shot in the chest, raped, pushed out of his car and left for dead didn't die. Enierta Washington survived. And she testified against Franklin at his trial. Photographs of some of Franklin's victims — hundreds of photographs — were found in Franklin's home, police said.