Arlington woman executed for killing girlfriend’s son

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Lisa Ann Coleman

The state of Texas tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 17) executed a woman convicted eight years ago of intentionally starving her girlfriend’s son to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, 38, was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m., CDT, 12 minutes after Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials began administering a lethal injection.

Coleman and her then-girlfriend, Marcella Williams, were arrested in 2004 in after calling paramedics to their home in Arlington to treat Williams’ 9-year-old son, Davontae Williams. Paramedics found the child already deceased and in rigor mortis. They said they were shocked to learn how old he was since the child, at the time of his death, weighed only about 36 pounds.

Authorities later determined that Davontae had more than 250 distinct injuries, including burns from cigarettes or cigars and scars from ligatures, and that a lack of food made him stop growing.

Coleman’s attorneys claimed at trial that the boy’s death was an accident and that his injuries and malnourishment were a result of Coleman’s and Williams’ misguided efforts to discipline the boy. They also claimed that Davontae may have had mental health issues that made him hard to handle, and that Coleman and his mother didn’t know how to deal with him.

The Texas Court of Crimimal Appeals upheld Coleman’s conviction in 2009, and the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected  a last-day appeal.

Marcella Williams agreed to plead guilty in connection with her son’s death, to avoid the death penalty, and was sentenced to life in prison. Now 33, she is not eligible for parole until 2044.

—  Tammye Nash

Appeals court upholds ban on conversion therapy torture

simpsonsAn appeals court upheld New Jersey’s law banning the use of “conversion therapy” on minors.

The court rejected the arguments that banning use of so-called conversion therapy violates freedom of speech or religion. The decision reaffirmed the right of the state to regulate medical professionals that they license.

Most LGBT groups have likened the practice of conversion therapy to torture.

Writing for the court, Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith held that “over the last few decades a number of well-known, reputable professional and scientific organizations have publicly condemned the practice of [sexual orientation change efforts], expressing serious concerns about its potential to inflict harm,” and that “[m]any such organizations have also concluded that there is no credible evidence that SOCE counseling is effective.”

“The court’s decision today is a major victory for the thousands of young people who will now be protected from these dangerous and horrific practices,” said Andrea Bowen, Garden State Equality’s executive director. “No one should subject minors to conversion therapy—least of all state-licensed clinicians responsible for the care and well-being of their patients.”

New Jersey Gov. Christie noted the “critical health risks” posed by conversion therapy, including “depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

—  David Taffet

Not a flashback: medical doctor who ‘inspired’ torture program gets no-bid $31M Army contract

Yes, that is a present-day headline.

Someone pinch me, are we still living under the Bush administration?

A psychologist whose research was used in constructing the US’s program to torture terrorism suspects has been granted a -million no-bid Army contract to provide “resilience training” to US soldiers.

Mark Benjamin at Salon.com reports that University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman’s research “formed the psychological underpinnings of the Bush administration’s torture program.”

The Army awarded the “sole source” contract in February to the University of Pennsylvania for resilience training, or teaching soldiers to better cope with the psychological strain of multiple combat tours. The university’s Positive Psychology Center, directed by famed psychologist Martin Seligman, is conducting the resilience training.

Army contracting documents show that nobody else was allowed to bid on the resilience-training contract because “there is only one responsible source due to a unique capability provided, and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.” And yet, Salon was able to identify resilience training experts at other institutions around the country, including the University of Maryland and the Mayo Clinic. In fact, in 2008 the Marine Corps launched a project with UCLA to conduct resilience training for Marines and their families at nine military bases across the United States and in Okinawa, Japan.

In a 2009 article, the New York Times described Seligman’s small but crucial role in the establishment of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on terrorism suspects before the techniques were suspended in 2008.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NY: seven arrested in vicious anti-gay ‘wolf-pack’ torture session in the Bronx

What in the world is going on? As you see, NYC, a “gay metropolis,” where by Red State standards, LGBTs are more visible, politically within the mainstream and have more legal rights locally than many, homophobia is alive and well in the most vile and beastly manner.

In this incident, it proves that in gang thug life, where being a “man” does not include being gay, three men were treated as subhumans; what’s tragic is that the suspects range from 16-23. So young, already culturally ingrained with such hate, violence, homophobia (and at its root, misogyny) that they engage in pack behavior worse than animals. WABC:

The first of the related attacks occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday, when a 17-year-old was approached by members of a street crew calling themselves the “Latin King Goonies.” The teen was apparently an aspiring member of the group. Kelly says the crew forced the 17-year-old into an unoccupied ground-floor apartment on Osborne Place, where he was thrown into a wall, made to strip naked, hit in the head with a beer can, cut with a box cutter and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger.

According to police, his tormentors denounced the victim and questioned him about his contact with a 30-year-old man who the same suspects would later assault. Afterwards, his assailants escorted him out of the location and warned him not to call police. At about 5:30 a.m., the victim walked into a nearby hospital and was treated and released. There, he explained his injuries by claiming he had been jumped by unknown assailants on the street.

“These suspects employed terrible wolf-pack odds of nine-against-one, odds which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable,” Kelly said. Then, police say the 30-year-old man was lured there at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

He was allegedly forced to strip to his underwear and then tied to a chair opposite from the teenager. The teenager, at the direction of his assailants, hit the older male several times in the face and burned him with a cigarette.

The suspects also hit the man with their fists and a chain, police said, and sodomized him with a small baseball bat. They forced him to consume 10 cans of the malt beverage “Four Loko” that he had with him.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright