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Robert Bolden, Canadian on loss of life row in U.S. since 2006, dies of pure causes

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Bolden had been preventing to have his loss of life sentence overturned; his final court docket listening to got here simply days earlier than his loss of life in September

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Robert Bolden, a Canadian who’s been on loss of life row in the US since 2006, has died of pure causes.


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Bolden, 58, was considered one of simply two Canadians dealing with execution in the US. The opposite, Ronald Allen Smith, an Albertan, is on state loss of life row in Montana.

Bolden had been preventing to have his loss of life sentence overturned; his final court docket listening to got here simply days earlier than his loss of life at a medical jail in Springfield, Mo., in September. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons says he died of pure causes.

In October 2002, Bolden shot and killed a financial institution guard, Nathan Ley, throughout a botched theft in St. Louis, Mo. 4 years later, on Aug. 25, 2006, Bolden was sentenced to loss of life.

An announcement from Ley’s household remembered him as “form, humorous, accountable, and hard-working.”

“We had been lucky that his killer was delivered to justice. Too many households usually are not so lucky,” the assertion, launched through the Bureau of Prisons, mentioned.


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In his formative years — and in his later years — Bolden battled quite a few well being issues. For a lot of his youthful life, he suffered from poorly managed diabetes; by the previous couple of years of his life, Bolden had stage-four kidney illness, was shedding his imaginative and prescient and had appreciable mental-health challenges, in response to court docket paperwork.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons didn’t reply to the Nationwide Publish’s request for extra details about the reason for loss of life.

The case represented a uniquely unusual one for Canada, as a result of for a few years throughout Bolden’s authorized battles, the Canadian authorities was unaware {that a} Canadian was dealing with execution overseas.


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The Vienna Conference on Consular Relations, of which the US is a signatory, obliges a nation to permit these beneath arrest to contact their consulate for help.

Bolden didn’t have this opportunity. And the Canadian authorities didn’t discover out a Canadian citizen was on loss of life row till 2012 — six years after he’d been sentenced.

This was an important side of Bolden’s struggle to keep away from loss of life, wherein his lawyer, Jennifer Merrigan, argued Bolden’s trial attorneys failed by not contacting the Canadian authorities.

“They knew that it was their accountability to contact a international authorities … after which they did not contact Canada with out ever having discovered how Canada might’ve assisted,” mentioned Merrigan on the remaining court docket listening to in September.


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Merrigan didn’t reply to the Nationwide Publish’s request for remark. Nor did the Canadian authorities.

They knew that it was their accountability to contact a international authorities … after which they did not contact Canada

Robert Bolden was born in Stephenville, a city south of Nook Brook, on the west coast of Newfoundland, in 1963. His mom, Stella Decker, was a prostitute, his father, believed to be a U.S. serviceman named Curtis Roberts, was by no means part of his life.

Quite, Bolden grew up with Lavale Bolden, one other U.S. soldier, as his father. For Robert Bolden, his dwelling life was considered one of “home violence, alcoholism and dependancy,” with Lavale Bolden, a heroin addict, and Stella Decker, an alcoholic, preventing continuously.

Robert Bolden developed his personal addictions, and he “spent numerous his time within the basement … smoking crack, ingesting alcohol, and huffing turpentine when alcohol and crack weren’t obtainable,” says a psychiatrist’s report contained in court docket paperwork.


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Nonetheless, court docket paperwork painted Bolden as a devoted father; his daughter, Ariel Bolden, described him as “actually fantastic,” in response to a court docket transcript.

“He did numerous stuff with us and our associates. He used to take us to the flicks. He used to gather Pokemon playing cards with us. He used to take us swimming; took us to Six Flags when his job went to Six Flags and numerous stuff like that,” she mentioned.

His son, Robert Bolden, mentioned his dad took him fishing. They used to play basketball and video video games collectively, and he was at all times pushing his youngsters to get good grades in class, the son mentioned.

“He was a very huge affect in class to me. That’s why I wished to remain in class, due to him. I wished to do as greatest I can in class so I could make him proud,” his son mentioned.

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