San Quentin Prepares Its Death Chamber

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    SAN QUENTIN, CA - MAY 15: A view of the California State Prison at San Quentin May 15, 2009 in San Quentin, California. In an effort to raise cash to help California's financial woes, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to sell some well known State properties. The Los Angeles Coliseum, San Quentin State Prison, The Cow Palace and the Orange County fairgrounds are some of the properties that the governor has named. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    California's death penalty rocketed to the forefront of both the political and legal spectrum this week to the surprise of just about everyone.

    A man named Albert Greenwood Brown suddenly appeared at the top of the long list of inmates facing execution within days.

    Executions have been on a legal hold for the past five years.  That's when Michael Morales successfully challenged the state's lethal injection process as cruel and unusual punishment. His execution was stopped with just a couple hours to spare and ever since inmates sitting on San Quentin's death row have lived through a legal reprieve. 

    Most experts thought Morales would be the first to return to the death watch, but instead Brown jumped to the top of the list after he exhausted all appeal options.

    Brown's case leaves for little sympathy.  He raped and killed 15-year-old Susan Jordan in 1980 as she walked home from school in Riverside County.  She was strangled to death and her body was found in an orange grove.

    On the day he killed Susan he also made several calls to her mother taunting her with messages that she would never see her daughter alive again.

    "I have not forgotten that cruel, chilling phone call in which you so proudly made the statement, 'You will never see your daughter alive again,"' the girl's mother wrote in a letter used in the appeals. "It was then that God revealed to me that I would indeed see my daughter again, and I eagerly await that day."

    Prosecutors say he has never expressed remorse.

    This weekend, U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel extended a deadline until noon Sunday that allows Brown to choose his execution method.    Sunday afternoon Brown refused to make that choice and instead filed an appeal. The choice refusal simply means a three-drug cocktail will be used if the appeals court doesn't block the execution.

    Next up on the legal front is for Brown's lawyers to ask a Marin County Superior Court judge to block his execution.  That is supposed to happen Monday.
       
    If the case moves forward, the state will perform its first execution in four years.

    Brown's date with the newly remodeled death chamber is 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.