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The Fraternity of Death

     The intimate details of California's

     legal gassings, as told by the men

     who participated in them...


By Michael A. Kroll


Photographed by Paul Chinn



March 25, 1984

     In 1977 the state legislature passed Senator George Deukmejian’s bill establishing death as punishment for certain classes of first degree murder. In 1978 California voters passed the Briggs initiative, which widened the scope of the death penalty's application. From that time up until January 31 of this year, there have been 170 people sentenced to death, all for the crime of murder. One of the condemned, Chol Soo Lee, had his death sentence reversed and was later acquitted of the crime for which be was sent to prison. Four others committed suicide on death row. Of the remaining, 146 cases are currently pending appeal in the State Supreme Court, which has reversed nineteen death sentences and affirmed three: Earl Lloyd Jackson, Stevie Lamar Fields and Robert Alton Harris.

Robert Alton Harris

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