No Reprieve for Khristian Condemned by Bible Passages

Convicted murder Kristian Oliver was a bit put out when he learned that jurors relied not simply on the evidence but biblical passages during their deliberations to convict him. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that the use of a biblical passage in jury deliberations is not enough to warrant reversal of his death sentence.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found that, while jurors cited the passage, it did not influence the jury’s decision — a rather difficult finding to prove or disprove.

The passage in question is from Numbers:

And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. Numbers 35:16-19 (King James).

That seems pretty inimical to a fair deliberation based solely on the evidence in the case. Indeed, the opinion itself shows that the reading triggered a more comprehensive discussion of the biblical requirements in dealing with murderers.

One juror, Kenneth Grace, read the Bible aloud to a small group of jurors in the corner of the jury room. McHaney also testified that fellow juror Donna Matheny mentioned to him that the Bible contained a passage discussing who is a murderer and who should be put to death, and that he asked Matheny if he could read her Bible, which Matheny had highlighted. McHaney recalled reading verses pertaining to the importance of obeying the law of the land, the commandment that “thou shalt not kill,” and the passage Matheny pointed out that discussed who is a murderer and who deserves a death sentence. In particular,here called reading a passage that says that if a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, then he is a murderer and should be put to death.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that outside sources used in the jury room are presumptively prejudicial to the proceedings. Parker v. Gladden, 385 U.S. 363, 364-65 (1966) (“the evidence developed against a defendant shall come from the
witness stand in a public courtroom where there is full judicial protection of the
defendant’s right of confrontation, of cross-examination, and of counsel”). Yet, the Ninth Circuit refused to reverse in a similar case, click here.

This case seems to involve a much more serious use of an external religious text than the mere case of a juror taking a Bible into the proceedings as a personal item of support. Here, there was direct consultation that linked passages to the case at hand and the moral basis for the ultimate punishment.

For the opinion, click here

33 thoughts on “No Reprieve for Khristian Condemned by Bible Passages”

  1. Using the Bible is not a problem, the problem is the evil of those who use the Bible with maliciousness, with intentions diametrically opposites of the Spirit of the Scriptures, We received of Mar Paolas Apostle: ‘But we know that the Law is good if one uses it lawfully’ First Letter to Timotheas the Elder, Chpt.1 , Ver. 8; They use not this they call “Bible” (Biblos) integrally when They took a passage of the T’rah / The Law (the Five Books of Moses the Prophet), being christians that not nonconsenting with an application of the T’rah for this days (according to their dogmatic arguments), why then they do not kill adulterers too?, As it is written: ’The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.’, Why can not said? and, not said Maran?:’But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ Gospel according to Mar Mattai, Chap. 5, Ver.28, they do not use the Holy Law not to apply it to themselves, like some Pharisees in times of Maran, and today like some corrupted ministers, when Maran said:’For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.’, that procedure is not of G’D, because it is written: ’Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.’ Book of Psalms Chp. 89, Ver. 14., Woe for those Judges who use the Holy Scriptures ignoring that Mar Kepha Apostle said: The Lord is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any shoul perish but that all shoul come to repentance’ Second Letter of Mar Kepha Chap. 3, Ver. 9 because We know how Maran proceeded when the Samaritans denied the welcome to him: said to His Disciples, the Envoys: ‘And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Our Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”’ Gospel according to Mar Luka, Chap. 9, Vers. 54-57, The Rabbi Y’shua of G’lila said: ‘He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.’ Gospel According to Mar Mattai Chap. 12, Ver. 30, and Mar Paolas Apostle in First the Letter to Timotheas the Elder said tha G’D:’desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’, I do not recommend to any to proceed in that manner; Rab Gamaliel said: ‘lest you even be found to fight against God’ Woe to those who despise the mercy in the midst of his trial!, Because It is written: ‘For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.’, and Do not you know that the burnt offerings and the sacrifices were the shedding of Blood that It was shed for the forgiveness of sins?; It is written: ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them.’ Book of Deutoronomy Chap. 27, Vers. 26, but the same Holy Book said clearly: ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words’, It is happens that all the sins written in the same context are worthy of death (see. the Book of Deutoronomy Chap. 27, 11-26), Mar Paolas writes in the Letter to the Romans, Chap. 3, Ver. 26 : ‘by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. ‘ and: And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of there is no remission, As It is written: ‘no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.’ Book of Numbers, Chap. 35, Ver. 33. but it happens that this is the same chapter and the same book that they used to condemn to Kristian Oliver in the same context (Chapter 35, but the same Law reedemed him of all faul for because they have Justification in the Redemption of the Lamb!), But in that very manners We received for the Hands of the Envoys: ‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, M’shiacha died for us.’ Letter to the Romans Chap. 5, Ver. 8. and can see Vers. 5-7, and It is written to the Galatians: ’I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then M’shiacha died in .’ Chp. 2, Vers. 21. Maran Y’shua said!: ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person.’ Gospel according to Mar Mattai, Chap. 5, Ver. 37, You can defend against the enemy if he tried to kill anybody in the moment, but you don’t have to kill him! (see Gospel according to Mar Luka Chap. 22, Ver.36) Maran spoke: ‘all who take the sword will perish by the sword.’ Gospel according to Mar Mattai Chap. 26, Ver. 52. They say that they are Christians, but a Letter to christians says: ‘Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.’ but this is not for the one who said to be christian and seek the death of this ignorant people whose not know the Law like those who use the Law in that not good manner, but those are not Brothers of the author who said this, and therefore this letter is not for them, because is among brethren, not among strangers; and even It is written: ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ but you can read: Gospel of Mar Mattai, Chap. 18, Ver. 17. They using the Law but not appling it (Letter to Romans, Chap. 2, Vers. 21-23). If they condemn the inmates to death, then for whose kind of people whom they call Christ and Savior died? then for what He is died if they still apply the death for the ignorant murderers? so then, What was the purpose to redeemed Us? redeem: formal to carry out a promise or pay back a debt . (Cambridge Dictionary). Mar Paolas the Apostle writes: ‘M’shiacha has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)’ Letter to the Galatians, Chap. 3, Ver.13, because It is written: ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them.’ (see. the Book of Deutoronomy Chap. 27, 11-26) ‘Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.’ Letter from Mar Paolas to Timotheas the Elder, Chap 1, Ver. 9-11. In The Second Book of Chronicles said to the Judges:’And he commanded them, saying, “Thus you shall act in the fear of the LORD, faithfully and with a loyal heart’. To those who forget the mercies made to them and return evil for evil, What will happen to them? Mar Kepha the Apostle in His First Letter, Chap. 3, Ver. 9, writes: ’Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.’ and Mar Paolas the Apostle said: ‘Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.’ Letter to the Romans, Chap. 12, Ver. 17. While some are put to death, Y’shua the Messiah said to the Men: ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.’ Gospel According to Mar Yohanan Apostle, Chap. 5, Vers.14. Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?. Proverbs Chap. 24, Vers. 11-12. Will we do otherwise? Are they more sinners than M’nasheh King of Y’huda to not deserve forgiveness. (Second Book of Chronicles Chap. 33, Vers. 1-20

    Death to the inmates arguing with the Law given in the Holy Sinai, what about the expiation for the sinners?
    (Letter to the Romans, Chapter 7, Versicles 1-5)

    Really in GOD we trust?

    Serve as testimony that if they given death penalty having no true reason, according to the Scriptures and using them wrongly,apart from that is incostitucional according to the US Constitution, that surely to those running the trial, they will have to account for the blood shed, having forgiveness and rendemption consummated because the Messiah, they surely will received a fair retribution.

    They will have to speak for the bloodshed.

  2. want to thank Gyges, Jill and Mespo for helping to clear my perspective. What I value about your forum is the ability to interchange ideas with smart people, who are passionate in their beliefs, and on topics I find of great interest.

    The Bible

  3. I have been called many things, but… 😉

    I wanted to mention to you, Michael
    I have never used it, personally, but I keep seeing it as a
    ‘free trial’ ancestory search source. If you just Type in ‘Spindell’
    several things come up – which might interest you.

    I’ve also seen Spindell as Spindal, Spindle, Spindel etc…

    A lot of people’s spellings changed – when they got here.
    Some funny stories, too.

  4. Jill,
    The tingling in my head still hasn’t coalesced into useful information.
    I liked the DaVinci Code, but preferred “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” by Baigent & Lincoln. I don’t think that the book is an example of great research, but it postulates an interesting theory, that can lead one to enjoyable, if unprovable, speculations.

  5. thanks Michael, I have been googling away. I do know the last name and various spellings and I will remember the region (?de Bourges)- eventually. The year 1112 a.d. sounds right.

    And yes, I did read Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code, but unlike JT, I watched the movie at home… Angels and Demons I might pay to see.

  6. Patty,
    Thank you once again for your kindness. I know about the ME and Israeli history because I lived through it and it is of as much concern to many Jews as the independence of Northern Island was to Irish Americans. I also love history and might well have become an archaeologist had I partied less and been a more serious student.

    I wish I could trace my roots back a few hundred years. Unfortunately, I come from Hungarian Jewish peasant stock and both my Grandmothers were illiterate. Their 18 combined children were more interested in being seen as American, rather than celebrating their heritage. It would have been nice if they had more curiosity about their forebears.

    Regarding to “the Third Crusade and a Knight and vassal, first name
    ‘Godfried’ L.” there is something ringing a bell I can’t currently answer in my memory. I think checking Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror”, or googling the Knights Templar, might bring some information.

  7. The best we can do to keep the discourse civil is to ignore the ones who cannot act rationally. You can have fun and have a spirited discussion without name calling and religious slams. Prof. Turley is to be applauded for his patience.

  8. Michael,

    You have nothing to apologize for.

    Your arguments, while passionate, are rational, mostly unbiased, and very well-studied. I gleaned much from what you wrote.

    I know what I now believe to be very little, by contrast, about Jewish history OR the conflict in the Middle East, quite frankly.

    Aside from my American roots, I know that my French heritage is traceable to the Third Crusade and a Knight and vassal, first name
    ‘Godfried’ L. … Beyond that, very little.

    My great-grandmother was, no doubt, the first incarnation of Alex Haley’s ‘Roots’. She was doing genealogy way before it was ‘cool’.

    She never got into the DAR, herself, despite having married a Main Line Philly Yale engineer, but she left this wonderful, genealogical history and my mother, by her great-grandfather’s lineage, is a proud member of the Mayflower Society and the DAR today.

    So far, neither association is a high priority for me.

    Occasionally, I read chapters on notable figures like Richard the Lionheart etc. It’s interesting history, but I must confess, I have much more passion for the American ‘evolution’.

  9. Prof. Turley,
    I would like to follow Gyges and apologize for my additions to vitriolic debate and inflamed rhetoric. I certainly am old enough to know better. My contributions to this bickering over religion and ethnicity served little purpose except to allow me to vent anger, with no discernable positive outcome.

    I want to thank Gyges, Jill and Mespo for helping to clear my perspective. What I value about your forum is the ability to interchange ideas with smart people, who are passionate in their beliefs, and on topics I find of great interest. Many of my responses lately, went way off the given topic and it is solely my responsibility that I allowed myself to become distracted.

    While of late, some of the posters on the site have gone beyond the rules of engaging discourse, it would be a pity if their excess led to your site’s closure. This is because, beyond your practice and professorship, as you have said we live in a time where civil liberties are threatened. This website provides a gathering place for
    a variety of people who are concerned about this issue. I urge you to continue and I again am sorry for my behavior.

  10. Interesting problem this creates… I mean, there’s the separation of church and state that basically says that the government does not embrace any one religion. We all have the religious right to worship as we want on our own time, and embrace any religion we want and allow those principles to guide our lives right?

    So…if a bunch of christians vote to put someone to death, because of their religious beliefs, what’s the problem? Aren’t we all effected by some type of value system? I’m no Christian, but don’t christians have the freedom to express their religious beliefs? Even if it means voting on a penalty of death? They could argue we’re infringing upon their religious freedoms to allow them to express their religious convictions with regards to their vote. If not, then do you exclude christians from jury duty? Is that fair. Is this happening becuase they verbalized what they feel already.

    Sooo…I understand the state can’t get involved in relion, but are we now saying that people can not allow their own relious beliefs to take a part in their actions on a jury, and how could that possibly happen?

    Hmmm…interesting debate could happen here…nice food for thought…

  11. “I have decided to curtail much of my posting for this reason in the hopes we could get back to honest debate about issues independent of nationality or religion. Some commentators are one issue people and they seem to view every happenstance through that prism. Deeply were are you old friend?”

    mespo, I’ve been ‘uninspired’ lately, as well. We used to have a nice little ‘salon’ and interesting discussions about ‘the law’. DW was often the instigator – inquisitive, spending hours researching JSTOR 😉

    It’s was fun with our occasional mischief and bad puns!

    p.s. Summer Olympic ‘mussels’ recipes on sami.

  12. Prof. Turley,

    I’d like to apologize for any part I may have played in aiding the discussion’s devolution. I always tried to keep my posts civil, and stopped when I saw what the conversation was becoming, but I did partially enable its degeneration by continuing the discussion long past when I should have seen it’s true character.

    I would encourage all involved to express their regret. Prof. Turley has no obligation to operate this blog, and does so at expense of his own time. I think we all owe it to him to not only respect his wishes, but to apologize when we allow things to get out of hand. This is his property, not ours, and he’s been a very gracious host.

    Once again, I’m sorry.

  13. LL,

    I have been wondering about this for a while now. It does seem that we’ve been getting a rash of posters (is there a cream for that!) who post hate speech or sound like they’re trying to write the newest book of prophecy. There have been other types of attack on this blog before and these could be as well.

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