A Texas man who faces execution after jurors at his trial consulted the Bible when deliberating his fate should have his death sentence commuted, Amnesty International said on Friday.
Khristian Oliver, 32, is set to be killed on 5 November after jurors used Biblical passages supporting the death penalty to help them decide whether he should live or die.
Amnesty International is calling on the Texas authorities to commute Khristian Oliver’s death sentence. The organization considers that the jurors’ use of the Bible during their sentencing deliberations raises serious questions about their impartiality.
A US federal appeals court acknowledged last year that the jurors’ use of the Bible amounted to an “external influence” prohibited under the US Constitution, but nonetheless upheld the death sentence.
After the trial, evidence emerged that jurors had consulted the Bible during their sentencing deliberations. At a hearing in June 1999, four of the jurors recalled that several Bibles had been present and highlighted passages had been passed around.
One juror had read aloud from the Bible to a group of fellow jurors, including the passage, “And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death”.
The judge ruled that the jury had not acted improperly and this was upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Read the full article and find out what you can do at http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGNAU2009100913472