THURSDAY: Dead Men Walking Faster

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Dwight Dwayne Adanandus isn't a name you're likely to remember in a hurry. Yet the Texas penitentiary inmate made history Wednesday night when he was executed by lethal injection, becoming the 57th convicted murderer put to death in the United States this year. That's the highest annual number of executions in the last 40 years. And with three months still to go, 1997 looks set to surpass 1957, when 65 people were executed nationwide.

A backlog of murderers on death row in 1997 is helping to make this a record-setting year. Congress is getting in on the act too, by cutting legal aid for appeals. In the absence of any politician who dares supportthem, the dead men are increasingly walking the fast track to meet their makers.