Nebraska moves closer to the execution of Jose Sandoval

Photo courtesy

Jessica Wade

The state of Nebraska has not executed anyone in two decades, but Norfolk killer Jose Sandoval may soon break that hiatus.

Sandoval is an inmate on death row at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution.

Sandoval planned and carried out the attempted robbery that killed five people in under a minute in 2002. His victims include Lisa Bryant, a 29-year-old woman and mother; Lola Elwood, a 43-year-old with two children; Jo Mausbach, 42 and a mother of two, she had worked at the bank for 27 years; Samuel Sun, father to two sons; and Evonne Tuttle, mother to two daughters.

Sandoval orchestrated and carried out the events leading to the murders of five people. Within a very short timeframe, he destroyed families and brought tragedy to an otherwise tranquil town. Sandoval deserves to die, but the state of Nebraska should not execute him.

Capital punishment is a symptom of a malfunctioning justice system. Multiple studies spanning 30 years have all found that race plays an imminent role in who ends up on death row. One such study was conducted by a law professor from the University of Iowa named David Baldus. After examining more than 2,000 homicides that took place in Georgia beginning in 1972, Baldus and two of his colleagues found that black defendants were 1.7 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants and that murderers of white victims were 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks.

Then there’s the possibility, however small, that people could be executed for a crime they didn’t commit. Sandoval’s crime was caught on video and witnessed by multiple bystanders, but what about the case of Carlos Deluna? A man put to death in December 1989 for a murder he didn’t commit. Or Cameron Willingham, who was wrongly accused of burning his own house down with his three children inside. A system that kills murderers has murdered multiple people.

The drugs that will inevitably kill Sandoval have been purchased. State officials are required to notify an inmate of the drugs to be used at least 60 days before Nebraska’s attorney general asks the state Supreme Court for an execution warrant.