[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----CALIF., N.C., KY. OKLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Dec 1 17:17:35 CST 2004
Peterson Defense Urges Jury to Spare Him
Scott Peterson's life "is a life worth saving," an attorney told jurors
Wednesday as the defense opened its case for sparing him from the death
penalty for killing his pregnant wife.
Defense co-counsel Pat Harris said much of Peterson's life had been laid
bare during the trial that culminated Nov. 12 with a guilty verdict. But
as the 2nd day of the penalty phase of Peterson's trial got under way, he
told jurors that they don't know the true Scott Peterson.
"You don't know who Scott Peterson is, and it's going to be our job to
show you," Harris said.
"What we're going to now show you is the 30 years that preceded this,"
Harris said. "And when we show you those 30 years, I believe that you will
agree that this is a life worth saving."
Jurors will recommend whether the 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman
should be executed for the murder of wife Laci or get life in prison
without the possibility of parole. He was convicted of 1st-degree murder
in her death and of 2nd-degree murder in the death of her fetus.
On Tuesday, when prosecutors presented their case for the death penalty,
jurors heard sometimes heart-rending testimony from Laci Peterson's
Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, wearing a gold heart-shaped pendent
with her daughter's picture in it, rose out of the witness chair and
screamed at her former son-in-law.
"She wanted to be a mother. That was taken away from her," Rocha said to
"Divorce was always an option -- not murder," Rocha said in a voice so
loud that some jurors jumped.
At one point, Peterson dabbed his eyes with a tissue.
Laci's older brother, younger sister and stepfather also spoke.
Throughout the testimony, prosecutors displayed photographs of Laci,
including one from Mother's Day 2002. Taken a week after Laci's 27th
birthday, the picture showed Laci, her mother and her grandmother.
Mother's Day, Rocha told the jury, would never be the same.
"The first Mother's Day (after her death) I laid on the floor and I cried
most of the day because she should have been there," she sobbed, her chest
"I can hear her giggling," Rocha said, gazing at a larger-than-life image
of her daughter displayed on a white wall screen. "She didn't just smile,
she would giggle. She would kind of bend over when she would laugh."
Earlier, prosecutor Dave Harris said Laci's death left a hole in her
family's hearts "that can never be repaired."
"When the defendant dumped the bodies of his wife and unborn son into the
bay, those ripples spread out and they touched many, many lives," Harris
The only appropriate punishment, he said, is death.
Prosecutors had argued at trial that Peterson strangled or smothered his
wife in their Modesto home on or around Christmas Eve 2002, then dumped
her body into San Francisco Bay. The remains were discovered four months
later a few miles from where Scott Peterson claims to have been fishing
the day his wife vanished.
"It was just the worst thing you could think about, like a nightmare," Amy
Rocha, Laci's younger sister, testified, describing how she felt as she
helped search for her sister.
Brent Rocha, Laci's older brother, said he tries to remember the good
times they shared, but those memories are "overshadowed all the time by
how she died ... and maybe her knowing who did it."
"I don't think I've ever heard her be more excited than the day she called
me up to tell me she was pregnant," he said. "She was going to be a great
(source: Associated Press)
NORTH CAROLINA----possible impending execution
Condemned man moved to death watch area of Central Prison
A death row inmate whose scheduled execution this week remains in limbo
was moved Wednesday to the death watch area of Central Prison.
Charles Walker was moved shortly after 4 p.m. to death watch, a cellblock
across a narrow hallway from the execution chamber, said Pam Walker,
spokeswoman for the state Corrections Department.
Charles Walker was moved even though a judge granted a stay of execution
Monday. The state Attorney's General Office has appealed that stay, and
his execution still could proceed as scheduled for 2 a.m. Friday.
Walker, 39, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was scheduled for execution by injection
for the 1992 drug-related killing of Tito Davidson. Co-defendants
testified that Walker participated in shooting Davidson several times,
then slashing his throat.
Walker reportedly oversaw drug sales at a Greensboro public housing
complex. Prosecutors have said he had Davidson killed after being told
Davidson killed an associate in an effort to horn in on Walker's drug
Davidson's body has never been found despite a search of a Greensboro
landfill. No blood, DNA or other evidence was located in the apartment,
which co-defendants said they thoroughly cleaned.
(source: Associated Press)
Judge says state's execution 'protocol' lacks details
A Franklin County Circuit judge said Wednesday the state's written
procedures for administering lethal injection lack some specific details.
The Kentucky Department of Corrections' "protocol" - the state's written
procedure for administering executions - does not have specific details
about the drugs that are used in the execution, Judge Roger Crittenden
It also does not include details about the experience of the people who
help administer the lethal chemicals, Crittenden said.
"It's not in the protocol, and that's one of the problems," Crittenden
Attorneys for Kentucky Death Row inmate Thomas Clyde Bowling and another
condemned inmate are challenging the state's method of administering
lethal injections. The attorneys were in court Wednesday mostly to decide
on procedures for how the case should advance. The other inmate involved
in the case is Ralph Baze, who was convicted of the 1992 shooting deaths
of a Powell County sheriff and a deputy.
Bowling was convicted of murdering Edward and Tina Earley and shooting
their 2-year-old son outside the couple's Lexington dry-cleaning business
Bowling was scheduled to be executed Tuesday. However, he was at least
temporarily spared last week after Crittenden and the Kentucky Supreme
Court both blocked the execution until related cases were resolved.
The case before the state's high court claims that Bowling is mentally
retarded and should not be executed. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that
it is illegal to execute mentally retarded people.
Crittenden also said that the corrections department had "caused itself
some problems" by including security procedures within the same document
that outlines steps for the execution.
David Smith, a lawyer with the attorney general's office, told the judge
he would "give some really serious consideration" to suggesting revisions
to the state's execution protocol. Smith declined comment after the
Ted Shouse, a Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy attorney representing
Bowling, said the case was aimed at avoiding the "torture" of inmates
sentenced to death.
"What I heard the judge to say was that there remained serious questions
with the protocol as written ... ," Shouse said. "There are problems with
the process as it currently stands in the commonwealth."
(source: Associated Press)
Death Sentence Overturned For Convicted Child Killer
The death sentence of Wayne Henry Garrison is being set aside after the
state criminal appeals court said he received ineffective counsel.
In 2001, Garrison was convicted in the 1989 death and dismemberment of
13-year-old Justin Wiles, whose body parts were discovered in Lake
Garrison's conviction was upheld by the court, but the death sentence was
overturned. Judges ruled that Garrison likely was "denied the effective
assistance of trial counsel with respect to the presentation of his
2nd-stage case in mitigation."
The court ruled that Garrison's appeal lawyer "failed to ask trial counsel
any questions regarding preparation, strategy, etc." at a March hearing in
Garrison was charged in the case in 1999, but had been a suspect for
years. He was returned to Oklahoma from North Carolina, where he had been
serving a sentence for drugging an 11-year-old boy.
Garrison has maintained his innocence in Wiles' death.
(source: KTUL TV News)
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