SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Right now, there are 748 people on death row – including Michael Morales, convicted of murdering Brian Chalk’s sister.
After a federal judge ruled Wednesday that California’s death penalty is unconstitutional, Chalk wonders if Morales will ever be executed.
“The system is broke, it’s not working. Over thirty years on death row … it’s not working,” Chalk said.
Since 1981, Terri Winchell’s family’s has been waiting for her killer to be executed.
They came close in 2006, but two hours before Morales’ execution was when California put executions on hold.
“You either execute him or put him back in general population. I’m tired of paying to keep this guy alive,” Chalk said.
And now, Chalk says Wednesday’s ruling by a federal judge is just another blow to his family and the hundreds of others waiting for justice to be served.
“This is a slap in the face not only to the families, but I think to every citizen,” Chalk said.
Federal Judge Cormac Carney overturned the death sentence for convicted rapist and killer Ernest Jones, saying he and other death row inmates await execution “with complete uncertainty as to when, or even whether, it will ever come.”
The judge calls California’s death penalty system “dysfunctional,” causing delays that make the promise of execution “an empty one.”
“I’d want the judge to make sure the lawyers don’t get in the way 400 and to follow through with the penalty,” Chalk said.
For Chalk, he says the ruling is just another delay – not a fix to a broken system that promised to sentence his sister’s murderer to death three decades ago.
“I guarantee you these lawyers that are fighting for these guys or the judges that are overturning these things have not had this happen in their life or to their family, because if they have they would not be doing this,” Chalk said.
Brian says this ruling also sends a message to death row inmates and other future inmates – that they can kill and never be executed.