Nation IN BRIEF : WASHINGTON STATE : Killer Called Too Heavy to Be Hanged

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A Death Row inmate who weighs more than 400 pounds is too heavy to be hanged, his lawyer said. Todd Maybrown said a hanging would likely decapitate Mitchell Rupe, who is sentenced to die for the 1981 murders of two bank tellers during a robbery. "Beheading was a punishment used in barbaric times," Maybrown said. "We don't accept bodily mutilation as a form of punishment now." No execution date has been set. State attorneys argue that the chance of decapitation is slight and, even if it does occur, won't necessarily inflict undue pain.

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