18 May 1990 – Dalton Prejean

Dalton PrejeanEven Europe waded into this one. We’re talking about the case of Dalton Prejean, who was a mere 17 years old when he committed the offence that was to end his life.

Let’s get one thing straight, it was a callous crime – he’d shot a traffic cop in the face all because he had been stopped for a broken brake light.

Brain damage

Prejean wasn’t a saint by any stretch – he’d shot a taxi driver and spent 30 months in remand school for murder as a younger teenager. But we’re talking about someone who had an IQ of around 71 (some reports say 76) – he’d been left brain damaged following family abuse as a child. His aunt had beaten him while he was growing up.

All this mitigating history was withheld from the all-white jury, prompting concerns that Prejean had not had an adequate defence during his trial. Indeed, after he was sentenced to die, his incredulity stayed with him, prompting him in later life to question why the victim’s family had not questioned the harsh sentence.

‘To the Cleveland family, they say it wasn’t revenge, but it’s hard for me to understand. I hope they’re happy.’

Catch-22

But it turns out that murdered traffic cop, Donald Cleveland’s widow wasn’t happy either. Candy Cleveland was against the penalty, but the thought of parole left her cold too. ‘There’s always possibility of good times, good behaviour. Who knows in 20 or 30 years Prejean could be back on the street.’

No chance, according to the Governor of Louisiana, whose stance was far clearer cut. ‘On behalf of 780 state troopers and thousands of police officers who put their lives on the line every day, the execution will proceed,’ said Buddy Roemer.

And proceed it did, despite remonstrances from the likes of the EU. Prejean was executed aged 30, he died wanting ‘to have a chance at life. To live with [his] mistakes,’ vowing that he’d changed and grown up a lot in that time.

Where Prejean was concerned, we will never know, because he was strapped to Louisiana’s electric chair on this day in 1990.

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15 Responses to “18 May 1990 – Dalton Prejean”

  1. I am SOOOOO HAPPY that this piece of s**t was executed. I would tapdance on his gravestone if I knew where it was. He DESERVED to be taken out and shot in the streets like a wild animal. What he got was a LOT more humane than he deserved. I disagreed with just sending him to the electric chair. He should have been TORTURED first because he deserved it. They should have put a bullet first into his foot, then lower leg, then knee, then femur, and continued working their way upward. They should have made it last a month.

    • PRO BLACK IN RACIST AMERICA Says:

      YEAH YOU RACIST *********** WHITE PEOPLE WANT TO SEE ALL BLACK MEN DEAD BY ANY MEANS, AND BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD NEVER FOR GOT THE TERRORIZING RACISM THAT BLACKS ENDURED AND STILL ENDURE. I DONT THINK THAT ANY ONE OTHER THE AGE OF 18 SHOULD BE EXECUTED, IF HE WERE WHITE HE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN EXECUTED. I DO BELIEVE HE SHOULD HAVE JUST BEEN LOCKED UP FOREVER, IF HE WERE ALIVE TODAY I WOULD WRITE HIM AND LET HIM KNOW ITS NOT ALL HIS FAULT, SOCIETY PLAYED A HUGE PART IN REASON FOR THE WAY HE LIVED. YOUNG BLACK MEN GET SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR ONE OR TWO SHOOTINGS, BUT WHITE SERIAL KILLERS WHO HAVE KILLED 100’S GET TO SIT IN A CELL AND LIVE THERE DAYS OUT, YOUNG BLACK BOYS (UNDER 18) WERE BEING EXECUTED LET RIGHT UP UNTIL 2005 WERE IT BECAME UNLAWFUL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL, (IT TOOK THEM THIS LONG FOR THEM TO REALIZE THAT EXECUTING A CHILD IS WRONG OR EXECUTING SOMEONE FOR A CRIME THEY COMMITED AS A CHILD IS WRONG). LOOK INTO THE STORIES OF NOT ONLY DALTON PREJEAN, BUT NAPOLEAN BENZLEY, GARY GRAHAM AND DEFINITELY OF WILLIE FRANCIS WHO HAS THE SADDEST STORY OF ALL.

      • jessica Says:

        Why is it when a black man commits a crime all we hear about is how race was an issue. The point is the 17yr old took the lives of two men. He destroyed the lives of two families. We can’t afford to finance all the prisoners on death row forever. If they don’t want to die don’t do the crime. Stop making it a black and white issue. We all bleed red and the color of our skin doesn’t matter when it comes to the law.

      • i agree…people who ‘tap dance on graves’ are just as guilty. Im disgusted with people who believe an electric chair is justifiable, also considering Dalton’s mitigating factors. Maybe you should be abused for the rest of your life? Then, beg for forgiveness, and your life; like Dalton did. experience THAT and then see if you’re tap dancing then. This officer who’s life was taken, (god bless him) will see his maker and be fine with god. Dalton, on the other hand, will be strapped to an electric chair and have shocks throughout his whole body; until he is dead. (It’s a horrible death) That doesnt seem in anyway, justifiable. Forgiveness is bliss, and if this man was willling to take responsibility and “live with his mistakes, vowed that he changed,” than let god decide on his fate. Life imprisonment needs to be punishment for any offenders such as this. Dalton didnt choose to have brain damage inflicted by his abusive family.

  2. WTF is your problem
    he should have been given another chance

  3. Gerry said it right………..prejean had a second chance after he shot the taxi driver. now we have one less lunitic that could kill again.

    • Lilly Says:

      Mary and Gerry was Andrea Yates a lunitic for killing her children or was she sick? And she is still in a mental institution.

  4. Slash Says:

    What the hell is wrong with you people? Read up before you start hating a man for anything. Prejean was released from custody some time after he killed the taxi driver *even though he was borderline mentally retarded and several psychiatrist insisted that he should be confined*! They released him out of custody, and so he went and killed a police officer.

    He was, as I said, and as this article mentions, borderline mentally retarded. His IQ is about equal to the IQ of a thirteen-year-old. Are you really gonna blame him for this? REALLY? Blame society for f***s sake, they released him even though they shouldn’t have. Go give a thirteen-year-old a gun and tell him he’s an adult and you’ll see what happens. I can’t believe you actually think that he deserved his sentence. Yes, he should’ve been arrested, of course. What he needed was a lengthy confinement and psychiatric help, and if he ever was released, then it would have to be on probabation.

    • Bianca F. Says:

      He had the IQ equal to a thirteen year old. I didn’t kill anyone when I was thirteen and neither did a bunch of people. You know right and wrong at thirteen.

  5. Daughter of the King Says:

    No sin is greater than the next so therefore don’t judge less you want to be judged the same way. We all deserve death for our sin. Therefore would you like the same sentence that you are giving him? I do agree that he should have been confined and treated for his mental illness and the child abuse as punishment for the crime. To me death is the easy way out of punishment. He should have been able to be here and really understand what he did and how it affects others. What was society’s role in this? Did they do there part on behalf of the people? We can point fingers all day, but when it’s all said and done, it really does not matter what any of us think or what our opinions are. God has the final say. We can’t change what happen in the past but we can positively make changes today and going forward. Maybe the person who feels so strong about giving sentences should go and visit the prisons and hear the lives of those prisoners. No that is not an excuse for them to do what they did but maybe you will have a different perspective of things and how the world really works. Remember, the world is the place where the DEVIL goes to and fro. And obviously, he is busy!!!

  6. Governor Roemer called Prejean personally to inform him of his decision to deny clemency.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    I personally knew him. If his life could bring satisfaction for the unintended hurt oh well you now have it. Thanks for all the prayers then, and compassion shown to the parties of all involved in both the officers family and his family loss. It is my prayer that the violence and killings stop. It left hurt in the hearts of the officers family and Daltons love ones. I can tell you this he deeply regreted what had happened. God bless all even the man wished the most awfullest on Mr prejean. Peace please, peace.

    • Valentine Says:

      I dont believe this man had any regret. He killed before. A
      taxi Driver lost his life. This man lacked respect for human life.
      The death Penalty was meant as a deterrant and retribution for the
      crimes he committed.

  8. Valentine Says:

    Im an African American and I believe he should have been
    executed for his crimes against law enforcement. We cannot send a
    message to minors that there is a second chance for killing law
    enforecement in cold blood. The governor made the correct decision
    for a man with a history of violence

  9. Good riddents to this trash!

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