Anti-death penalty group asks Nevada not to execute Castillo |

Anti-death penalty group asks Nevada not to execute Castillo

Appeal Capitol Bureau

An anti-death penalty group based in Chicago has sent a letter asking Gov. Jim Gibbons to call off the execution of William Castillo.

Castillo, 34, who beat an 86-year-old woman to death, has said he doesn’t want to pursue any further appeals. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection next Monday.

“Even though Castillo has volunteered for this execution date, it would be unconscionable to proceed with any lethal injection execution before the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on the constitutionality of current protocols,” said officials of Citizens Alert.

The letter signed by Elizabeth Benson also argued the execution would violate the right to life “as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and constitute the cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment.”

Those arguments have been rejected by the Nevada Supreme Court in several previous cases. The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments over lethal injection are new.

The court will review whether the manner in which lethal injection is conducted is inhumane. Opponents in that Kentucky case argue the inmates executed by injection are not unconscious but fully aware and suffered horribly.

They say they are simply paralyzed and unable to make their suffering known.

Nevada Director of Corrections Howard Skolnik said there is no reason for a delay and that Castillo has requested they proceed with the execution.

Castillo killed retired Las Vegas teacher Isabelle Berndt with a tire iron during a robbery 10 years ago.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.