On June 14, 1983, Karla Faye Tucker participated in a break in, which was intended to steal various items belonging to a Jerry Dean. Dean wouldn’t sit still and let himself be robbed, which led Tucker to kill him. When she realised that another person, Deborah Thornton, was also present in Dean’s house, she murdered Thornton too. Tucker was swiftly convicted of murder, and was sentenced (unusually for a woman in Texas) to the death penalty.
But a prison cell conversion to Christianity, Tucker’s gender, claims that she had been under the influence of drugs at the time the crimes were committed, and a series of appeals meant that she spent almost the next fifteen years on Death Row, hoping to have her sentence commuted, or even to be exonerated (a retrial was sought for her on more than one occasion). She was executed by lethal injection on February 3, 1998, the first woman to be executed by the State of Texas in 135 years.
Saparmurat Niyazov was the first President of the independent republic of Turkmensistan following the break up of the Soviet Union in 1990. He was also, by anyone’s standards, a raving egomaniac. In fact, during the 15 years of his reign as President-for-Life, he was regarded as one of the world’s most repressive dictactors, and the propagator of a cult of personality whose any rival was Kim Il Jung.
One of the most visible of his monuments to himself was a literal monumemt: the Neutrality Arch in Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital. It was 75 metres tall, illuminated at night – and its uppermost 12 metres consisted of a solid gold statue of Niyazov that rotated to face the sun. Officially, it commemorated Turkmenistan’s offical political stance of neutrality. Unofficially, it appears that the major reason Turkmenistan was neutral is because even Niyazov wasn’t quite deluded enough to think he could take over the world. After Niyazov’s death in 2006, the monument was demolished by his successors, who wished to show the world the Turkmenisatan was sane again.