The photograph is of Jeffrey Landrigan who was murdered this week by the State of Arizona for a homicide committed during an alcohol and drug induced rage over twenty years ago.* If you look into his eyes you will see emptiness; the same emptiness and lack of spirit you see when you visit a zoo and look into the eyes of an animal that has been caged for most of its adult life.
The photograph does not represent the face of an evil person, but does reflect the face of an evil society. A society that dispenses the death penalty indiscriminately and then tortures its victims by caging them in a small box for decades without human contact before they are finally murdered by a team of co-conspirators who operate with the efficiency and dedication of a hungry wolf pack.
Ray Krone, an innocent man who was wrongfully convicted of a murder he did not commit , was finally exonerated after spending 2 1/2 years on Arizona's death row. Ray appeared on my radio show - Citizen Lawyer Radio - and described what life on Arizona's death row was like. Death row prisoners are confined to a cell the size of most people's bathrooms. They are denied any direct human contact and are only allowed out of their cell six hours a week for solitary exercise in caged "recreation" area slightly larger than their cell.
Jeffrey Landrigans lived in this world - eating, shitting, sleeping - year after year after year for two decades, waking up each morning knowing that day would be the same as the last and the next until the end. In the final months before his death, Landrigan was preoccupied with his final appeals which focused in large part on the question of whether he would suffer excruciating pain as he was put to death due to uncertainty over the origin of the drugs the State would to use to murder him. In a signed affidavit Landrigan described how he confronted prison director Charles Ryan by asking him "are you going to tell me where you got the drugs you are going to kill me with?" Director Ryan's response: "it's all on the up and up."
It turns out the chemicals used to murder Landrigan were manufactured by a Brittish company Archimedes Pharma UK, whose slogan is "Inventing For Life." The company claims that "it has no control over how anaesthetic is used after being sold to medical suppliers." According to The Independent, there is increasing pressure on the Directors of the company and its management team to reveal the medical supply companies who ordered the drug. Pharma Archimedes UK's Directors might also want to consider changing the company's inapropos slogan. Contact information for Archimedes Pharma UK can be found here.
Human rights groups have also called upon the British government to tighten regulations governing the export of chemicals that can be used to torture or kill. The Guardian reported that Richard Dieter of the The Death Penalty Information Centre in Washington, D.C. called on the British government to act: "I would have thought that Great Britain might have something to say about this. This sets a dangerous precedent. This is being outsourced. Our executions are taking on an international dimension," he said. The same article cited Amnesty International which said that Arizona's use of a drug obtained in Britain "raises serious calls for tighter EU controls to ensure that drugs cannot be exported for use in executions in the future. "The UK promised in 2008 to lead efforts to strengthen EU controls on death penalty and torture equipment for precisely these reasons. No substantial progress has been made since this commitment. That urgently needs to change," it said.
Recently, UK prosecutors have made a show of criminalizing euthanasia and prosecuting people who assist family members in committing suicide, even when the suicide occurs in a foreign country that has legalized euthanasia. Perhaps it is time for the British criminal justice system to extend its reach to those individuals and companies who actively participate and assist in the murder in foreign countries of people who do not want to die.
*Landrigan was born with the genetic backage left by an alcoholic drug addicted mother and career criminal father who both abandoned him when he was an infant. Both his grandfather and father were convicted of murder and died in prison. Landrigan's first murder occured after a night of drinking with his best friend who he stabbed to death after being asked to be the godfather of his friend's baby. The second murder occurred following his escape from prison during a homosexual tryst with a man who told friends he was having sex with someone he met named Jeff. Landrigan was on his way to try to find his birth mother in Yuma, Arizona. The ingredient in both murders was substance abuse combined with intimacy.