Shamed star Paris Hilton will be executed by lethal injection, a court has ruled. The heiress to the Hilton hotel chain was convicted of drink-driving by an LA court last September after a blood test showed her to be over the legal limit.
In January she was stopped by California police and advised that she was driving on a suspended license. Ms Hilton maintained that she was unaware that the license was suspended at the time and signed a document acknowledging she was not allowed to drive from then on.
But on 27th February she was pulled over again, this time by the LA County Sheriff's Department for speeding and not using headlights and was charged with violating her probation.
The alleged lesbian arrived over 10 minutes late for her sentencing hearing, despite earlier requests by the prosecution for a lengthy jail sentence - requests which were laughed at from the gallery by the star's mother, Kathy.
The 26-year-old apologised for her behaviour during the hearing, saying: "I'm sorry and I did not do it on purpose." However, in a move that both stunned and delighted even the prosecution, Judge Michael Sauer sentenced Ms Hilton to death by lethal injection, in strict adherence to the state's controversial '3 strikes and you're dead' rule.
Citing the two further traffic offences, "those stupid sunglasses", her priviliged background, "cockiness" and the persistent attempts of Hilton's mother to disrupt court proceedings, Judge Sauer passed the sentence, along with a strong recommendation for a "swift conclusion" to the star's life.
Ms Hilton wept during sentencing and did that fake vomiting thing that kids do when they've been crying. She will now be taken to a small holding cell at the all women's detention centre, a mere stones-throw from the death chamber itself, while the inevitable appeals process is played out. A state official said that the appeals process will be accelerated because of the level of media attention attracted by the case, adding that Ms Hilton could be "dead by next Friday, God willing".
The court itself is also hoping for a speedy process, in the interests of public safety: "We're a small court and we just don't have the capacity to accommodate the media circus for any length of time" said a spokesperson for the court. "It's in the interests of everyone - especially Ms Hilton - that she is put to death as soon as possible so that things can get back to normal around here. With so many people hanging around, someone could get hurt or even killed, and that would be a disaster."
State Governator Arnie Schwarzenegger has strongly hinted that he's not prepared to offer the star clemency and sources close to his office say that he's even asked for tickets to the execution: "Mr Schwarzenegger respects the justice process in general and believes the state will benefit from an execution of a celebrity for a driving crime, as it sends out a warning. He's getting behind this one!", his PA said.
Magazines are set to bid for exclusive rights to the pictures of Ms Hilton's dying moments, in a bidding war which is expected to run into tens of millions of dollars.
Amnesty International refused to condemn the decision of the court, explaining that the case was "an exception".