Connecticut's highest court has ruled the death penalty is unconstitutional in that U.S. state because it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Hours earlier another state, Texas, carried out its 10th execution this year.
The contradictory death penalty events reflect the conflicting views about capital punishment in the United States, where 31 states permit executions and 19 do not. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the death penalty is legal and 19 prisoners have been executed this year.
In Connecticut, in the northeastern part of the country, lawmakers approved a law three years ago banning the death penalty for future crimes. But Thursday's ruling means 11 men on the state's death row at the time the law was changed will no longer will be executed and are likely to serve lengthy sentences, possibly for life.
The southwestern state of Texas, where more death sentences are carried out than anywhere else in the United States, executed a 27-year-old man by lethal injection for running down a policeman at high speed with a sport utility vehicle.
He was the 528th person Texas has executed since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1967.