Skip to content


Gregory Wilson execution plan demonstrates Kentucky’s broken death penalty system

Gov. Steve Beshear signed a death warrant for Gregory Wilson yesterday, despite Kentucky's death penalty system being broken and unwanted.

Gov. Steve Beshear signed a death warrant for Gregory Wilson yesterday, despite Kentucky's death penalty system being broken and unwanted.

For immediate release

LOUISVILLE, Aug. 26, 2010–The Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (KCADP) expresses its enduring sorrow for the death of Deborah Pooley in 1987 in Kenton County. “Her family and friends and the community have suffered much grief and pain as a result of a violent and horrible crime,” said the Rev. Patrick Delahanty, chair of KCADP. “And we mourn the death of Deborah Pooley.”

“While KCADP opposes capital punishment in all cases,” Delahanty said, “the case of Gregory Wilson is an especially ugly example of a broken system that produces spectacle and carries out executions in a way that resembles the laws of chance.”

Several aspects of the Wilson case demonstrate the flaws in Kentucky’s broken death penalty system:

  • Wilson’s codefendant—who was having a sexual affair with a sitting judge in the same circuit court during the trial—testified against Wilson and received a sentence of life in prison.
  • Wilson’s defense began with a notice posted to the courthouse door seeking volunteer lawyers to represent him, and it ended without any lawyers because Wilson found them incompetent. Wilson had to make his own closing argument to the jury, something he was ill equipped and ill prepared to do.
  • In planning to act on the three death warrants Attorney General Jack Conway requested, the state found it did not have enough chemicals to execute all three people, could not buy the chemicals anytime soon, and its one small batch on hand was sufficient to execute one man before October when the supply expired.

According to a 2006 poll conducted by the University of Kentucky Survey Center, 67 percent of Kentuckians questioned preferred a long prison sentence to execution for those convicted of aggravated murder. KCADP is planning educational and protest events to call attention to the state’s broken and unwanted capital punishment system.

For more information, please contact: Rev. Patrick Delahanty, chairperson, at  502-494-3298 or Donald Vish, director of advocacy, education and outreach, at 502-299-0155.

Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Department of Corrections

Tagged with , , , , , , , , .



%d bloggers like this: