Graying of Death Row: Inmates dying of natural causes


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – With executions in North Carolina effectively on hold, the state’s death row population is getting older.

The News & Observer reports ( ) that Jerry Cummings last week became the ninth death row inmate to die of natural causes in the decade since the state last executed a prisoner.

Of the 153 prisoners awaiting execution, 66 are 50 or older. The oldest is 83-year-old Blanche Moore who was convicted in Forsyth County 26 years ago of murdering her longtime boyfriend with arsenic.

The last execution in the state was that of Samuel Flippen in 2006. Since then lawsuits questioning the fairness and humanity of capital punishment have resulted in a hold on executions.

Overall, nearly 20 percent of North Carolina’s 37,000 prisoners are older than 50.

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