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Oklahoma executed Sean Sellers who was sixteen when he murdered his parents February 1999 This marked the first time in forty years that such a young offender was executed in the United States Criticism and calls for clemency came from around the world including Archbishop Desmond Tutu the American Bar Association and Amnesty International These events that have occurred in our country are tearing it apart at its seams the death penalty and the divided America it has created Long before the first prisons were built there was the penalty of death The Greeks and Hebrews developed a specific ritual for execution by stoning Death by a thousand cuts was popular in China where small bits of flesh were carved away over a period of days or weeks In the 19th century India elephants were sometimes used to make executions especially excruciating While in England people convicted of capital crimes were hung disemboweled and quartered For a century animals also found their way into the gallows in 1396 a pig accused of fatally injuring a child was dressed in the suit of a man and publicly hanged Nearly four centuries have passed since the first documented lawful execution on American soil in 1608 The early ways of execution were adapted from the British even though the colonies were thought to be more humane In England burning at the stake quartering and disemboweling were still common place hanging was the choice method of killing convicts in the colonies However the public hangings still had the festive carnival atmosphere as they did in Europe Lynching was an unofficial form of execution and was widespread in early America 1540 documented lynchings were performed at its peak in the 1890s during that time 1098 authorized government executions were performed It would seem that injecting someone with deadly chemicals would be less expensive than keeping them incarcerated for the rest of their life The best studies on the cost of
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