By Ted and Kaitlin Glanzer
A Connecticut man who was convicted in 2005 for a murder-for-hire scheme in West Hartford is on a hunger strike in protest of being imprisoned on death row, even though his death sentence was overturned on appeal, according to the Associated Press.
Eduardo Santiago, 33, was convicted in 2005 of the murder-for-hire killing of Joseph Niwinski, 45, in 2000.
Santiago’s sentence was overturned because the trial judge allegedly suppressed information that Santiago had been abused as a child. The Supreme Court ordered a new penalty phase to the case just after Connecticut abolished the death penalty for future offenders.
The Associated Press reported that Santiago stopped eating a week ago and that he wants privileges that other inmates have, including access to the prison gym and commissary.
“A state prisons spokesman says the department took safety concerns and other factors into consideration in deciding to keep Santiago on death row,” the AP reported.
Ten other men on death row are now challenging the legality of their execution sentences, upheld in the repeal.
Santiago’s next court appearance on Oct. 7 is expected to fall after the Supreme Court has returned a decision on the legality of upholding the death penalty only for those already convicted, according to a Hartford Courant article.According to The Republic, it remains unclear as to who actually killed Niwkinski. At the time of the murder, Matthew Tyrell was also in Niwinski’s home and the two each accused the other of the crime. A third man, Mark Pascual reportedly ordered the killing because he was infatuated with Niwinski’s girlfriend, whom he believed was being abused. Tyrell and Pascual pleaded guilty and are serving life in jail.