Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: May 9, 1994
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1972
Victim profile: Two tourists from Germany
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Bahamas
Status: Executed by hanging on January 6, 2000

David Mitchell (1972 6 January 2000) was a murderer who killed two German tourists in the Bahamas and was executed as a result. His is the most recent execution to be performed by the Bahamas.

Mitchell was convicted of stabbing two tourists from Germany to death and received the mandatory sentence of death by hanging. He was originally scheduled to be executed on 10 August 1999, but his execution was delayed to allow the Bahamian appeal courts to hear his appeal on the constitutionality of the death penalty. His appeal was rejected by the Bahamian courts and by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, which acts as the final court of appeal for the Bahamas. Mitchell was executed in the Fox Hill Prison in Nassau on the morning of 6 January 2000.

Mitchell's execution was controversial because it was carried out while he had an appeal pending before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Amnesty International alleged that this amounted to a violation of the Bahamas' treaty obligations as a member of the Organization of American States. The victims' son had also requested that the death sentence be commuted. John Higgs was scheduled to be executed the same day as Mitchell for an unrelated murder, but he committed suicide the day before.


Bahamas convict executed

BBC News

January 6, 2000

A Bahamian man convicted of stabbing to death a German couple has been hanged in the capital, Nassau, despite international pleas for a stay of execution.

David Mitchell, 27, was executed on Thursday and a notice announcing his death posted on the gates of Fox Hill Prison.

Mitchell had been one of three convicted killers due to be hanged at hourly intervals during the day. But the second, 51-year-old John Higgs, committed suicide on Wednesday, and the other, Eddie Thurston, 32, was given a last-minute reprieve to appeal to the Privy Council.

'Abolish penalty'

Mitchell's execution took place despite appeals for mercy from human rights group Amnesty International, among others.

A petition was pending with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

London-based Amnesty urged the government of the Bahamas to "uphold its obligations under international law, and to impose an immediate moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty permanently".

Amnesty earlier said in a statement that Higgs' suicide was "an illustration of the brutal realities of the death penalty".

"People on death row have been convicted of appalling crimes, but society should not condone the killing of defenceless people, whatever they have done."

Privy Council

Thurston, a former mechanic convicted of murdering an unidentified man in 1995, has been allowed time to appeal to the panel of law lords in London, which acts as the court of last resort for a number of former colonies.

The Bahamas - which executed its first convict in 12 years in 1996, and has since hanged four prisoners - is among several Caribbean countries eager to use capital punishment to fight increasing crime. Last year, a record 65 people were murdered in the country.

The UK Government has been trying to persuade its former colonies in the Caribbean to abolish capital punishment.

But its moves have become unpopular with many of the residents of the island nations - particularly those in Trinidad and Tobago - who regard the death penalty as the best deterrent for the growing number of drug-related murders.

They have increasingly complained of being thwarted by judges thousands of miles away who they regard as being completely out of touch with the needs of the Caribbean.

In May, the UK Government sparked a diplomatic row with Trinidad and Tobago after stepping in unsuccessfully to block the execution of nine convicted killers.

Opinion polls at the time suggested 80% of Trinidadians supported capital punishment, encouraging Prime Minister Basedo Panday to try to speed up the execution process.

Leaders of the island nations have been discussing whether to set up their own regional supreme court, which would have the final say over cases such as these.



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