Bible Death Penalty Case-Time Running Out For Oliver

October 22, 2009

Back in 1999, Khristian Oliver was sentenced to death for a murder that occurred during a burglary. Later, it was revealed that many of the jurors were reading Old Testament Bible passages to each other to help them decide Mr. Oliver’s fate.

His lawyers argued that the jurors improperly consulted a Scripture passage that called for the death penalty for murder. Here’s the passage: “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.”

Last year the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Oliver, holding that the jurors wrongly used the Bible during deliberations, but there wasn’t enough evidence to prove they were prejudiced when they decide on the death penalty.

In April the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, though in the past it has held that jurors should only base its verdict on evidence heard in the courtroom.

Now, Oliver’s execution is scheduled for November 5, 2009. For more information, visit The First Amendment Center and Amnesty International web pages.

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