Irving Davis, convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old El Paso girl, has asked a Texas appeals court to throw out his death sentence, arguing that jurors should not have been told about his new religion — Satanism.
First off, I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who rapes and kills a 15-year-old girl.
Nevertheless, the issue of how Satanism gets used in court is indeed an important matter for people of all nonmainstream religions. In particular:
Prosecutor Lily Stroud said the evidence was meant to show that Davis had chosen to affiliate with an organization that condones and encourages human sacrifice and other illegal acts.
Hello??? The particular form of Satanism he is said to have practiced is "the Church of Satan." The Church of Satan does NOT condone illegal acts. On the contrary, I think most Church of Satan members would insist that he deserves the death penalty regardless of what his religion might be and regardless of how it got used by the prosecutor. I find it hard to imagine that the Church of Satan would actually have accepted him as an active member, given the CoS's stance on violent crime, although he may have adopted the CoS belief system (or some aspects of it, at least) informally.
Thus, his interest in Satanism a la the Church of Satan is clearly not evidence of anything having to do with the crime he's convicted of, and its use by the prosecutor was clearly wrong.