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Further information on EXTRA 43/92 (AMR 51/51/92, 14 April) - USA (Florida): death penalty: Edward Kennedy, Nollie Martin

, Índice: AMR 51/059/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/59/92
Distr: UA/SC
30 April 1992
Please bring this action to the attention of the person responsible for outreach
in your section so that they can organize appeals from health professionals and
Further information on EXTRA 43/92 (AMR 51/51/92, 14 April 1992) - Death Penalty
USA (Florida):Edward KENNEDY
Amnesty International has learned that Edward Kennedy, who was scheduled to be executed
in Florida on 29 April 1992, has received a temporary stay of execution until 1 May
1992. The stay was granted by the Florida Supreme Court which is examining a number
of new appeal issues. Edward Kennedy is still feared to be at great risk of execution
in the coming days.
Nollie Martin is still scheduled to be executed on 6 May 1992. Amnesty International
has received the following additional information about his history of child abuse
and his mental illness.
Nollie Martin was born into great poverty in rural North Carolina in January 1949.
Mental illness was prevalent in his family. His father was violent and regularly
assaulted his wife and children, beating them severely and occasionally threatening
them with weapons. Nollie Martin was also physically and sexually abused from early
infancy by his mother. A sister, two uncles and three nephews required hospital
treatment and medication for mental illness.
Nollie Martin suffered several severe head injuries resulting in unconsciousness
and neuropsychiatric impairment. At the age of four he fell from a high porch, hitting
his head and losing consciousness. At 15, he fell from a tree and was unconscious
for an hour. His most serious head injury occurred at the age of 12, when he fell
from a wagon, and one of the wheels rolled over his head. Later medical examination
revealed that serious mental impairment resulted from this injury. Martin suffers
tremours, poor coordination and balance, and an inability to recall three digits
Nollie Martin began suffering episodes of psychosis before he reached adolescence.
Symptoms included intense anxiety, hallucinations and paranoia. He would avoid school
and hide in the woods all day. He became convinced that people were talking about
him. He alternated between periods of suicidal depression and hyperactivity. He cut
and mutilated himself, sticking pins in his flesh and burning himself with cigarettes.
He also resorted to alcohol. He was badly burned after starting a fire in the apartment
in which he lived in 1971 and was imprisoned for five years for this offence.
In 1977 he was released on parole and went to Florida. He received no assistance
for his mental problems and continued to drink alcohol. With a cousin he committed
a robbery to obtain alcohol which resulted in the murder of a young white woman,
Patricia Greenfield. In a statement following his arrest, Nollie Martin expressed
revulsion, remorse, disbelief and pleaded for psychiatric help and prayers. He was
sentenced to death in November 1978.
Page 2 of FU EXTRA 43/92
Nollie Martin's thirteen years on death row are described by his lawyers as "marked
by intense and relentless torment. He loathes himself for taking Patricia's life
and he agonizes over how he could have performed such a brutal act. He believes that
satanic forces are to blame for the murder, but punishes himself for not being strong
enough to withstand their directions." According to his lawyers, Nollie Martin can
make no sense of his impending execution, nor of his entire life.
Nollie Martin requires constant medication to treat his mental illness. He is said
to hear voices constantly mocking at him; he beats his head and fists against the
wall of his cell and continues to mutilate himself. He hallucinates and his
conversation rambles incoherently. A former death row guard at Florida State Prison
recently recalled: "Nollie would just sit on the floor of his cell and rock back
and forth; sometimes he would ramble on and on when no one was speaking to him...Nollie
was simply out of touch with reality most of the time...Nollie was a pathetic sight."
Amnesty International is concerned that Nollie Martin's execution would be in
contravention of United Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 1989/64,
adopted in May 1989, which recommends "...eliminating the death penalty for persons
suffering from mental retardation or extremely limited mental competence, whether
at the stage of sentence or execution."
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
- urging Governor Chiles to grant clemency to Edward Kennedy and Nollie Martin, by
commuting their death sentences;
- expressing deep concern at reports that Nollie Martin faces imminent execution
despite his very serious mental illness; citing UN ECOSOC resolution 1989/64 which
calls on states not to execute persons suffering from mental retardation or extremely
limited mental competence;
- urging that the interests of justice cannot be served by the execution of someone
as mentally impaired as Nollie Martin.
1) The Honorable Lawton Chiles Dear Governor
Governor of Florida
State Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Telegrams: Governor Chiles, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Telephone: + 1 904 488 2272
Faxes: + 1 904 487 0801
Miami Herald
Miami Herald Publishing Co.
1 Herald Plaza
Miami, FL 33101
Faxes: +1 305 376 8950
and to diplomatic representatives of the USA in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 5 May 1992.

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