Why is this brutal murderer still breathing?

Brutal rapist and murderer Michael Morales, who confessed to torturing, raping and murdering 17-year-old Terri Winchell in 1983 – and who was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty – has had his life spared. Why? Read on:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California’s 11th-hour decision to halt a convicted killer’s execution is unlikely to lead to a ban on lethal injections but gives new ammunition to activists fighting capital punishment.

Michael Morales, who has confessed to the 1983 torture, rape and murder of 17-year-old Terri Winchell, eluded the death chamber for now with a new twist on an old argument — that lethal injection — used for executions in 37 states — amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Morales, 46, argued that lethal injection could theoretically cause pain, winning a last-minute reprieve on Tuesday when prison officials could not comply with a judge’s order to have medical professionals present.

Legal experts say the case will likely suspend executions in California — where three other men were facing possible execution dates in 2006 — at least until a federal judge rules on the issue in May, and could end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

But they predict the high court, which ruled previously that executions were not unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment and had already agreed to consider a similar case from Florida later this year, was unlikely to rule for Morales.

Good. Unfortunately, this means Ms. Winchell’s loved ones will have to wait even longer for justice. Just what did Michael Morales, who thinks it’s ‘cruel and unusual’ to be put to death by lethal injection, do to 17-year-old Terri Winchell? Undeserved punishment (scroll down a bit) that was way beyond ‘cruel and unusual’:

The day of the murder, Ortega tricked Terri into accompanying him and Morales in Ortega’s car to a remote area near Lodi, California. There, Morales attacked Terri from behind and attempted to strangle her with his belt. Terri struggled and the belt broke in two. Morales then took out a hammer and began hitting Terri in the head with it. She screamed for Ortega to help and attempted to fight off the attack, ripping her own hair out of her scalp in the struggle. Morales beat Terri into unconsciousness, crushing her skull and leaving 23 identifiable wounds in her skull.

Morales took Terri from the car and instructed Ortega to leave and come back later. Ortega left and Morales then dragged Terri face-down across the road and into a vineyard. Morales then raped her while she lay unconscious. Morales then started to leave, but went back and stabbed Terri four times in the chest to make sure she died. Morales then left Terri, calling her “a f–king b*tch” [Edited for strong language. –ST] as he walked away. Terri died from both the head and chest wounds. Her body was left in the vineyard naked from the waist down, with her sweater and bra pulled up over her breasts.

Morales confessed and the evidence was indisputable, so there’s no chance of mistaken identity here:

Morales confessed to killing Terri to a jailhouse informant, as well as to his girlfriend and his housemate. Morales threatened both women prior to his trial so they would not testify about what he told them. Specifically, he admitted that he sat behind Terri after she had been lured into Ortega’s car, he put his belt around Terri’s neck and strangled her until the belt broke, he repeatedly hit her over the head with a hammer until she was unconscious, he took her out of the car and dragged her into a vineyard, he raped her, and he left her but then returned to be “sure” she was dead. Within two days of the murder, Morales was arrested at his residence. The police found Morales’ broken belt, containing Terri’s blood, hidden under a bedroom mattress. The police also found three knives, the hammer bearing traces of blood hidden in the refrigerator vegetable crisper, and blood-stained floor mats from Ortega’s car in the trash. Terri’s purse and credit card were also in the house. Ortega’s blood-spattered car was impounded. Morales had used $11 from Terri’s purse to buy beer, wine, and cigarettes on the night of the murder.

On rare occasions I wonder if even hell itself would be too good for some people. I think Michael Morales is such a person.

(Hat tip: A North American Patriot)

Big Lizards has some background on this case that you may find of interest.

Related: It’s sites like this one that keep me strongly pro-death penalty. The person who started the site has a powerful story of loss via murder – since I read it a couple of years ago, it’s never left me (read more about it here). Things like this should never happen, and the societal degenerates who commit such heinous crimes, in my opinion don’t deserve to see the light of day ever again.

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