25 May 2005 – Gregory Scott Johnson

Gregory Scott JohnsonIndiana had violated its penal code in having Gregory Scott Johnson executed. At least that’s what Johnson sincerely believed in his final letter to loved ones, having pinned his appeals on this argument against his death sentence.

Changing man

For Johnson asserted that he had changed. As a reformed man, all he wanted to do was donate part of his liver to his sister, and this was meant to be taken as proof that he was penitent. He stated that this was in line with the code that is said to be ‘…founded on the principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice’.

On the face of it, his record didn’t look good. He was on death row for stamping on and beating 82-year-old Ruby Hutsar until she was dead, then stealing her stuff before setting her house alight to cover up his cowardly crimes. He then threw away his ill-gotten gains and audaciously joined the spectators who were watching the firemen combat the flames.

Even in younger life, he’d chosen to follow a path of crime, despite having more choices than most, observed one of the officials tasked with recommending if Johnson should be granted clemency or not.

But then offering part of his liver was surely an act of goodness?

Busted

Turns out that his sister’s doctors wrote stating that Johnson’s was not a good match, besides which, she needed a kidney too. They allayed the Indiana governor’s concern that Johnson’s execution would put her life at risk and even went on to say that had she wanted to go on the organ donor list, she’d have leaped right to the front of the queue, because of the gravity of her condition.

So Johnson’s appeal was denied. But the overlooked victims in all this were Johnson’s family members who, like all family members, got dragged into the repercussions of criminal behaviour.

In the run-up to her son’s execution, his mum Alice Newman poignantly said ‘This is a terrible thing that’s happened, but that doesn’t make me love my child any less’. Johnson was given a lethal injection by Indiana, aged 40.

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One Response to “25 May 2005 – Gregory Scott Johnson”

  1. Bianca F. Says:

    What happened to the sister after all?

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