[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----N.C., UTAH, WYO., CALIF., OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Dec 1 22:57:59 CST 2004
NORTH CAROLINA----impending execution
Charles Walker Moved Closer To Execution Chamber
A death row inmate whose scheduled execution this week remains in limbo
was moved Wednesday to the death watch area of Raleigh's Central Prison.
Charles Walker was moved to death watch, a cellblock across a narrow
hallway from the execution chamber.
State Corrections Department spokeswoman Pam Walker said the condemned man
was moved even though a judge issued an order on Monday blocking the
execution. The state Attorney's General Office has appealed and his
execution still could continue as scheduled for 2 a.m. Friday.
The 39-year-old Walker was sentenced to death by injection for the 1992
drug-related killing of Tito Davidson.
Walker reportedly ran drug sales at a Greensboro public housing complex.
Prosecutors said he had Davidson killed after being told Davidson killed a
member of Walker's gang to horn in on Walker's drug business.
Davidson's body has never been found.
No blood, DNA or other evidence was found at the scene of the killing,
which co-defendants said they thoroughly cleaned.
(source: WXII News)
Supreme Court Hears 20-Year Old Death Penalty Case
The state Supreme Court today heard arguments on a death penalty case from
20 years ago.
Elroy Tillman was convicted of a 1982 murder and sentenced to death. A
judge overturned that sentence in January 2003, stating prosecutors
Now the prosecution is challenging that decision, while the defense says
Tilman deserves a new sentencing hearing.
Today is the only day the supreme court will listen to arguments. They
could reach a decision anytime in the next few months.
(source: KSL News)
Prosecutors seek death penalty against Hyatt
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a man accused of
abducting a teenager and fatally shooting her as she fled.
Steve Hyatt, 22, allegedly forced Kaleigh Ford, 18, into the passenger
seat of her car at an intersection on July 2. After Ford jumped out of the
moving car, Hyatt allegedly chased her and shot her 3 times with a
Hyatt was arrested in Ten Sleep the next day. He has pleaded innocent to
Monday was the last day Sheridan County Attorney Matt Redle had to decide
whether to seek the death penalty. He filed the documents in district
court in late afternoon.
"We used all of the time the judge gave us to decide and file," Redle
In the notice, Redle said he was seeking the death penalty in part because
Hyatt endangered others and because the murder "was especially atrocious
or cruel" and "unnecessarily torturous."
He also said Hyatt is a continuing threat.
Although Redle is seeking the death penalty, it will be up to the judge to
decide, if the case goes to trial, if sufficient evidence was presented to
Other penalty options include life in prison, with or without the
possibility of parole.
Trial has been scheduled for March 28 in Sheridan County District Court.
Hyatt has been in jail in Buffalo.
(source: Associated Press)
Prosecutor: "Sausage king" deserves death penalty
A prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that self-proclaimed "sausage king"
Stuart Alexander deserves the death penalty for his "diabolical plan" to
kill three meat inspectors.
Alexander, 43, was convicted in October of 3 counts of 1st-degree murder
for the 2000 shooting deaths of 2 federal inspectors and 1 state inspector
at his Santos Linguisa factory in San Leandro. The entire incident was
captured on Alexander's surveillance videotape, which was shown repeatedly
to jurors during his 5-month trial.
Now, the same jury of 7 women and 5 men must decide whether Alexander
deserves to die for his crimes or spend life in prison without the
possibility of parole.
"If not now, when," asked prosecutor Jack Laettner as he encouraged the
jury to deem Alexander worthy of death. "When can you slaughter people as
Mr. Alexander did, and not get death?"
Alexander's public defenders have argued their client was driven to kill
after months of harassment by the inspectors, and the death penalty wasn't
intended for "emotion driven killings."
But Laettner spent nearly 2 hours Wednesday outlining Alexander's
"diabolical plan" to kill the inspectors, get away with it by pleading
insanity, then write a book or movie to profit and gain notoriety from the
He also recalled Alexander's history of violence and "vindictive,
vengeful" behavior, dating back to a 1979 incident when he was still in
high school and beat up a man, sending him to the hospital.
In 1984, he used gasoline to set fire to a camper truck while a boy was
still inside, Laettner said.
In 1996, he beat up a 75-year-old neighbor and claimed self-defense.
"That man is a thug," Laettner said, pointing at Alexander, who sat
impassively without even glancing at the jury. "He is brutal. He is
violent. This is how he lives. If you cross him, you're going to pay."
The courtroom was filled with family members and friends of U.S.
Department of Agriculture inspectors Hillery and Thomas Quadros and
California state inspector Bill Shaline. They sniffled and dabbed their
eyes when Laettner showed photographs of their loved ones.
Earl Willis, a 4th inspector who escaped unharmed after Alexander chased
him down the street, firing a gun at him, also sat in the audience.
Alexander was convicted of attempted murder in that attack.
Michael Ogul, one of Alexander's lawyers, was expected to make his closing
argument to jurors Wednesday afternoon.
(source: Associated Press)
CASES OF PROCEDURAL ERROR----Senate would let courts reinstate death
In Columbus, the Ohio Senate yesterday approved a bill to make it clear
that all condemned inmates who are resentenced because of procedural
errors at their trials can receive the death sentence a 2nd time.
The measure is a response to a Ohio Supreme Court decision in September
that said Shawn C. Williams of Toledo could not be resentenced to death.
The Supreme Court in 2003 upheld Williams' aggravated murder and rape
convictions in the 1995 strangulation of Catrise Gregory, 17. But the
court vacated his death sentence because of court and prosecutor errors
and ordered a new sentencing hearing.
The high court ruled that a Lucas County Common Pleas judge could
resentence Williams to life in prison with parole eligiblity after 20
years or 30 years.
The Supreme Court said Williams could not receive the death penalty again
because the law at the time of Williams' crimes did not allow an inmate to
be resentenced to death if that sentence was overturned because of errors
at the trial. The legislature passed a bill that took effect on Oct. 16,
1996, that said the death penalty could be an option at resentencing.
About 140 death-row inmates who were convicted for crimes committed before
Oct. 16, 1996, would not receive the death sentence if a court ordered
them to be resentenced because of errors, such as an improper jury
instruction or a procedural error in the sentencing phase, said James
Canepa, chief deputy attorney general.
The change would not affect death-row inmates whose convictions are thrown
out because of questions about their guilt, Mr. Canepa added.
Ohio has 203 inmates on death row at the state maximum-security prison in
Mansfield and one female at the Marysville prison, according to the state
prison department's Web site.
The change in state law, which the House may consider today, will make it
clear that resentencing options won't be different based on whether
death-row inmates committed their crimes before or after the Oct. 16, 1996
law change, Mr. Canepa said.
The Senate approved the bill 23-6, with Teresa Fedor of Toledo joining
five of her colleagues in voting no.
State Sen. Marc Dann, a Democat who represents a suburban Youngstown
district, predicted that if the bill becomes law, the Ohio Supreme Court
will strike it down as unconstitutional because it is retroactive.
"It's unconscionable to vote for something that is unconstitutional," Ms.
State Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R., Vandalia) rejected that argument.
"We are not creating new law. We are clarifying existing law, making it
clearer to this [Supreme] Court so they do not make the same error in
understanding our statute," he said.
(source: Toledo Blade)
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