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The Exchange, August 8, 2018, Nebraska Execution, Monarchs, Trauma Conference


Welcome to The Exchange, I'm Mary Hartnett.  It seems likely that a Nebraska death row inmate will die by lethal injection next Tuesday, August 14th.  An attorney for condemned killer Carey Dean Moore said yesterday the execution is expected to take place as scheduled. The Nebraska Supreme Court promptly overruled a motion filed by Moore’s defense lawyer Monday asking to withdraw from representing the 60-year-old inmate, who says he wants to die Tuesday in the state’s first lethal injection execution. Although there have been ongoing protests against the execution, a majority of Nebraskans voted to bring by the death penalty in a constitutional referendum last year.  Moore was convicted and condemned for the deaths of Omaha cabdrivers Reuel Van Ness and Maynard Helgeland. Nebraska’s last execution took place in 1997 when the method was the electric chair. Moore has made it clear he doesn’t want an attorney to fight Nebraska’s efforts to execute him next week.    

Anti-death penalty protesters in front of the Governor's mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska on Monday, August 6, 2018.

The court also could allow Moore to be executed without a lawyer representing him. Marylin Felion is one of around twenty protestors standing in front of the largely empty mansion across the street from the Unicameral.  Cars roll by, some honking, some just staring.  Felion has a long history of opposing the death penalty.  She was a spiritual advisor to the last person who was executed in Nebraska.  Robert Williams was executed in 1997 for murdering three women and trying to kill a fourth woman during a three-day, three state rampage in 1997.  Two were from Lincoln, one from Sioux Rapids, Iowa and the woman that survived was from Minnesota.  Despite William’s vicious crimes, Felion says the experience of watching him die has left an indelible mark on her views of life, death, and justice. Marilyn1

“I have often said most people are good people, and most people had they had that experience, would be as much opposed to the death penalty as I am.  The big thing that I took away from that, is what it says about us, it says more about us, than it does about the person in the death chamber, when we as a state decide to kill one of our citizens.

Anti-death penalty protesters

Marilyn says she believes the act of executing someone is just as bad if not worse than the original murders that were committed.

Mar2“If we know that this person did something wrong, now we’re going to imitate that behavior, except even worse because first of all he’s tied down and rendered completely defenseless. What does that say about us that its alright to do that?  Are you also concerned about the use of the drugs.  Very, very concerning.  It doesn't seem like they are really sure what’s going to happen.   Well no, they have never been tried before, this, this particular cocktail has never been tried before.  And if you want to talk to someone who really knows what he’s talking about, talk to this fellow, he’s matt molly, he coordinates Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.”


I asked Marilyn Felion what she thought of the argument that murderers could escape and kill others or kill those in prison, so it was only logical that they are killed before they can do more harm.Mar3

Father Damien Zirling was also part of the protest group. Father Zirling is the pastor at St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Omaha.  The priest said he hoped that the Holy Father had succeeded in removing any doubts that capital punishment is wrong in the eyes of the church. Zirling Aside from the moral questions, and fears over the effects of the untried drug combination, Marilyn Felion says she is concerned for the prison personnel who have to carry out the state-ordered executions.Maryilyn4

Fran Kaye was standing near the road with her friends who have been joining together to protest the death penalty for more than 25 years.  Fran said she was heartened when the state legislature repealed the death penalty in Nebraska back in 2015. However, Nebraskans voted overwhelmingly to bring back the death penalty by a statewide constitutional referendum last year. Fran

Jean Eden says she began protesting the death penalty back in the early 90s, but she moved away.  She move d back to Omaha and decided to join this latest movement. Jean

Cars continually drive by the protesters in front of the governor’s mansion.  And many of them give the group an encouraging honk and a wave.    Juanita Rice says she always waves back. Juanita

Anti-death penalty protesters

Sheila Burke of Omaha says she has a hard time thinking that she or anyone else will be relieved when and if Carey Dean Moore is executed next Tuesday. Sheila

Next week’s execution of condemned killer Carey Dean Moore remained on track Tuesday as his attorney said it appears increasingly likely that it will take place. The Nebraska Supreme Court promptly overruled a motion filed by the defense lawyer asking to withdraw from representing the 60-year-old inmate, who wants to die Tuesday in the state’s first lethal injection execution. Jeff Pickens, director of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, said he will abide by Moore’s wishes not to fight the execution. It is not an option for his office to ignore the court’s order to remain in what amounts to a standby role, Pickens said. He added that the duty of loyalty to the client overrides the duty to provide effective legal representation,”   Asked if that means Moore likely will be executed in a week, Pickens said, “It appears so.”Attorney General Doug Peterson did not file a written response to the defense lawyer’s motion to withdraw. His office declined to comment on Tuesday’s developments.In his motion to withdraw filed Monday, Pickens said he would advise Moore to take up any of several legal challenges to fight the execution. Among them is a challenge of Nebraska’s four-drug lethal injection combination, which has never been used to execute an inmate in the United States.

Without Moore’s written consent, however, Pickens said he cannot launch a legal fight on his client’s behalf even though he wants to.

Perhaps the only remaining avenue to delay the execution would be a lawsuit by pharmaceutical manufacturers who produced the drugs Nebraska plans to use. Three companies have sent letters to state officials asking for the return of their drugs if the state has them, but the officials have ignored the demands. A similar lawsuit by a drug company last month prompted a judge to order an execution delay in Nevada. Pickens said Tuesday that he is aware of no drug-related lawsuits pending in Nebraska. The state has not used capital punishment since 1997, when Nebraska’s method of execution was the electric chair. The state Supreme Court has since declared electrocution cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution.

One man who says he will have no regrets if Carey Dean Moore is executed next Tuesday in Mike Groene.  Groene is a Republican Neb Lawmaker, worked hard to help get the word out about the constitution that brought the death penalty back over the legislature repealed it back in 2015.  Groene says despite all the press over those opposed to the death penalty in Nebraska, he is actually one of the 71 percent of citizens who voted to bring the death penalty back last year.

Nebraska State Senator Mike Groene (R), District 42, North Platte


That was Republican Nebraska State Senator Mike Groene who represents District 42 in the western part of the state in North Platte.  Groene is a staunch supporter of the death penalty.  


You’re listening to the exchange on Siouxland Public Media.  I’m Mary Hartnett.  Next Friday, health care providers, teachers and others will meet in Sioux City for a conference on dealing with trauma.  “Building Trauma-Informed Communities” is a regional summit that will take place at  Sunnybrook Community Church from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..  The event will deal with several issues, included trauma effects on the brain, self-care for providers, culture and poverty and human trafficking. Dr. Natalie Sandbulte is the Vice President of Clinical Services at Seasons Center for Behavioral Health in Spencer, which is putting together the conference.  Sandbulte says sometimes it is hard to know that a child has experienced trauma and teachers and health care providers aren’t sure what to do to help.


That was Dr. Natalie Sandbulte of the Seasons Center for Behavioral Health in Spencer.  The center is putting together the conference, “Building Trauma-Informed Communities,” next Friday, August 17that Sunnybrook Community Church in Sioux City.

Sex trafficking and the trauma that results from it will be one of the areas addressed at the conference. Sister Shirley Finneran is the Director of Field Education at Briar Cliff University and a board member of the Siouxland Coalition Against Human Trafficking.  Finneran says she will be giving a broad-based presentation on sex trafficking so people will be able to know what is when they see it.  

Sister Shirley Finneran, Briar Cliff University


That was Sister Shirley Finneran is the Director of Field Education at Briar Cliff University and a board member of the Siouxland Coalition Against Human Trafficking.   Finneran will be talking about human trafficking at the conference on trauma-informed communities next Friday at Sunnybrook Community Church in Sioux City.


You’re listening to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett.  

Monarchs at Merrill Ethanol Plant, Planting Milkweed

Butterflies and ethanol don’t seem like a natural match, but at a Northwest Iowa ethanol plant, there’s a good size plot of land that is dedicated to the survival of Monarch butterflies

Milkweed Plants

Lakeview Plymouth Energy in Merrill has devoted two acres next to a creek on its property to milkweed plants.  They first began growing two years ago. The idea is to provide a stop for the monarchs as they migrate across the country. Monarchs depend on milkweed because their larvae feed exclusively on the plant.  There used to be a lot of milkweed around Iowa, but the expansion of farming and herbicides made the plants scarce as time went on.

Joe Williams, Manager of Lakeview Plymouth Energy in Merrill,

Joe Williams is the manager of the plant.  Willims explains how and why the milkweed project began.

That was Joe Williams, he is the manager of Lakeview Plymouth Energy in Merrill, just south of LE Mars.  Williams continues to monitor the milkweed plants, that are part of the Monarch Fueling Station Project, established by the Renewable Fuels Association to provide milkweed patches for Monarch butterflies.  Eight of the IRFA’s members have announced plans to start fueling stations for the monarchs, although only two, Lakeview Plymouth and Lincolnway Energy in Nevada have planted milkweed so far.

As remnants from a June oil spill resulting from a train derailment in Lyon (LY-in) County continue to be taken to a Northwest Iowa landfill, residents in a county initially concerned about the materials say they feel reassured. Officials from Dickinson County and BNSF railway met last week to discuss the solid wastes with minimal amounts of soil being transported from Lyon County to a Dickinson landfill.

County board of supervisors chair Bill Leupold (Le-oh-pold) says he’s been feeling better about it since.

(6:35) Your imagination always tends to look on the dark side of things, but I am hopeful (6:40)

Landfill operator Waste Management says it does not accept waste containing any liquid at the landfill.  A spokeswoman says they’ve been receiving more than 6 truckloads of derailment site waste a day.

Dickinson County officials want a public meeting with environmental officials and the parties involved in the cleanup. BNSF expects to finish cleanup this fall. SOC.

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