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A Man To Be Executed For “Accidental” Slaying

“Richard Masterson put to death Wednesday for a killing 15 years ago became the busy death penalty state’s first prisoner executed in 2016.Richard Masterson, 43, was pronounced dead at 6:53 p.m., 25 minutes after the lethal injection began.”

Before we give a sweeping statement regarding the case, let us first look closely at the definition of murder. Oxford dictionary defines murder as, “the unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse”. Murder is a serious criminal offense; depending upon the circumstances the person who has convicted murder can be sentenced several years in prison, death or prison until death. Accidental killing, however, is “a death caused by the lawful act done under reasonable belief that no harm was likely to result”.

Recently, Richard Masterson, a Texas Man was put to death due to “accidental killing”, as he claims, of Darin Shane Honeycutt fifteen years ago in 2001. Masterson had made many appeals in front of the jurors and U.S Supreme Court, but his last efforts for the rejection of execution were unheard. He was pronounced dead at 6.53pm on Jan 20, 2016. He was executed as soon as the pentobarbital effect took place; first sending his body into deep snoring and then death. His execution was watched by his family and friends from the watch room.

Richard Masterson met Darin Shane Honeycutt in a club from where they went to Honeycutt’s apartment. Honeycutt used to dress put like a woman and was interested in gay sex. Masterson claimed that while they were having sex, Honeycutt had gone unconscious and fell off the bed. Later Masterson realized that Honeycutt is dead. To flee from courts and investigation, he made Honeycutt’s apartment look like it was burglarized. After killing Honeycutt, he ran away with his car and dumped it in Georgia.

The prosecutors claimed that eight days later, Masterson met a guy at the gay club in Tampa. He tried to strangle him to death during gay sex at his apartment. When he lost his consciousness, Masterson stole his wallet and car. The same way he stole Honeycutt’s car.

Masterson’s attorney, George Gardner, argued that he was abused in childhood and had gone through brain damage. Because of the injury done to his personality during the early years of development, he began using drugs and found pleasure in activities which were at times not acceptable to the society.

According to research conducted by National Bureau of Economic Research, child abuse, and maltreatment can increase the probability of engaging in crimes. Even if two twins, one of which is maltreated when other is not, the criminal behavior may tend to appear in the maltreated twin. The more the child is exposed to different types of maltreatment including the sexual abuse, the more likely it is that the child would show criminal behaviors. A maltreated child may exhibit criminal behaviors as juveniles and as adults.

During the trails, Masterson was bizarre and contradictory. He said, “Everyone has to live and die by their own actions.” 

It was later proved that Masterson deliberately tried killing Honeycutt and succeeded in doing so. He also had a criminal record which provided greater evidence of murder and a greater reason for his execution. Malcolm X says, “To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace”. His execution was witnessed by his family and friends, but no one from Honeycutt’s side witnessed it.

“I’m all right with this,” he said. “Sometimes you have to live and die by the choices you make. I made mine, and I’m paying for it.”He said he was being sent “to a better place.” He mouthed a kiss to relatives and friends who were watching the execution. Closed his eyes and was put to death.