Thursday, August 05, 2004

Alabama Executes 74-Year-Old Man (

So reads the headline, anyway. Down in the body we see this:

J.B. Hubbard's failing body kept him lying in bed -- a bunk on Alabama's death row -- most of the last days of his life. Other inmates say they walked his wobbly frame to the showers and listened to him complain about the pain: the cancer in his colon and prostate, the hypertension, the aching back. They combed his hair because he couldn't. They washed him.

When spasms of dementia made him forget who he was -- what he was -- they told him: a 74-year-old, small-town Alabama man gone bad, a twice-convicted murderer, the oldest inmate on "the row." He left them behind, these most unlikely of caretakers, one month ago and was transported south to a drab, gray prison set back in the cotton fields of lower Alabama. As the sun was tipping toward the horizon, Hubbard was put to death there Thursday, becoming the oldest inmate executed in the United States in more than six decades.
So how did it come to this?
Hubbard first killed in 1957, teaming with his uncle to rob and murder a Tuscaloosa man. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison but was released in October 1976, in part because a widow agreed to give him a job and help ease him back into society.
So someone sponsored him. How could you ever repay someone for that? Here's how:
on a winter evening in 1977, police say Hubbard shot his benefactor three times in the face.
Poor guy - losing his benefactor like that must have been devastating.

All told, I'm thinking that this one might have been a good one for the anti-execution types to sit out. Yet the usual suspects, having arbitrarily decided that "a civilized society" does not execute even slimeballs like that, had to show up and get their ration of free uncritical publicity.

And of course the WaPo gave it to them.

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