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1st Calif. execution since '06 OK'd by judge

September 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A federal judge cleared the way Friday for California's first execution since 2006 after the state revised its lethal injection procedures. Barring successful appeals to other courts, convicted killer and rapist Albert Greenwood Brown is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday.

Brown's execution would be the first in the state since U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel placed a de facto moratorium on capital punishment in California and ordered prison officials to overhaul the process.

The attorney general's office argued this week that the state has complied with Fogel's order by building a new death chamber at San Quentin State Prison, revising its training regimen and adopting new lethal injection regulations.

In his ruling, Fogel gave Brown the option of choosing a one-drug injection instead of a three-drug cocktail used by the state to put condemned inmates to death.

Brown was sentenced to death for the 1980 rape and murder of 15-year-old Susan Jordan in Riverside. He had been paroled four months earlier from a prison term imposed for the 1977 rape of a 14-year-old girl.

James Jordan, Susan's brother, said he'll never let go of what happened 30 years ago.

"He stole a future from her, and he stole a future with all of us, with her being in our lives," said James Jordan.

Susan Jordan was walking to school on Oct. 28, 1980, when Brown grabbed her, tied a shoelace around her neck, and pulled her into an orange grove near the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Gibson Street. He then raped and strangled her.

Later that night, he called Susan Jordan's mother on the phone, and taunted her by saying "you will never see your daughter again."

"I was in the room when Albert made the call to our house and my mother picked up the phone," recalled Jordan. "I remember the horror in her face."

Assistant Riverside County District Attorney Bill Mitchell, who was still in law school when Susan Jordan was murdered, said it is a shame the family had to wait this long for justice.

"You don't get more horrendous crimes than this, the enormity of this crime speaks for itself," said Mitchell. "The fact that this execution has been delayed for almost 30 years now is one of the most frustrating things we deal with."

James Jordan said there will never be closure after what happened to his sister, but he believes if Brown is executed, justice will finally be served.

"We are a Christian family, and we believe that we will see Susan again, and so will he," said James Jordan.

Brown can still pursue at least two legal avenues to stop his execution. He can ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Fogel's decision. His attorneys already plan to ask a Marin County Superior Court judge to halt the execution while a lawsuit challenging the new lethal injection regulations is pending.


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