[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----TEXAS, CONN., ILL.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jul 7 12:21:16 CDT 2004
TEXAS----stay of impending execution
Supreme Court stays execution of San Antonio killer
The U.S. Supreme Court has put on hold the execution of a San Antonio man
while the justices decide whether to consider issues he raised on appeal.
Troy Kunkle had been scheduled to die tonight for the 1984 slaying of a
Corpus Christi father of 2 young daughters.
After he killed Stephen Horton, trial testimony showed, Kunkle recited
from "No Remorse," a Metallica song: "Another day, another death, another
sorrow, another breath."
Kunkle has appealed on grounds that he does not deserve the death penalty.
It was not immediately clear which issue or issues the high court will
The former Roosevelt student was 18 at the time of the crime and has been
on death row nearly 20 years.
(source : San Antonio Express-News)
MAN CHARGED WITH KILLING MOM FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF COURT
A man charged with killing and robbing his mother was found in criminal
contempt of court Tuesday for refusing a judge's orders to provide the
state with a handwriting sample.
Tracy Lane Beatty, 43, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine
after he refused two orders by 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr.
Beatty is charged with killing Carolyn Ruth Click, 62, and burying her
body behind their mobile home on County Road 2323 2 days before
Thanksgiving last year. Beatty allegedly stole his mother's car and ATM
card, making the offense capital murder. The state intends to seek the
death penalty against him.
The judge granted a written motion by the state last Tuesday, ordering
Beatty to provide handwriting exemplars. On Friday, a handwriting analysis
expert was called in but Beatty refused to comply with the order. During a
pre-trial hearing Friday, he refused again when the judge made a second
order in court.
Skeen said the defendant had no constitutional protection from providing
the state with a sample of his penmanship.
Beatty's conduct to not comply was willful and intentional, Skeen said.
His contemptuous conduct is obstructive and interruptive of the court's
proceedings, he said.
The defendant was given "one more chance" to conform Tuesday.
"Judge Skeen, I'm not going to comply with your order ... and I'm not
submitting a handwriting sample - That's my decision," Beatty said.
He said his attorneys, Robert Perkins and Ken Hawk, did not recommend that
he refuse the court orders.
Skeen said immediate punishment was necessary to preserve the authority of
Beatty believed Skeen's order was an unlawful one and the defense wanted a
chance to file an appeal before the judge decided whether he was in
contempt of court, Hawk said.
District Attorney Matt Bingham said the contempt charge was a separate
criminal issue and should not delay the proceedings dealing with the
capital murder charge. He asked that Skeen find him in contempt and Beatty
could file a direct appeal.
First Assistant DA Brett Harrison is also prosecuting the case.
Hawk agreed it should not delay the case but requested the defense be able
to appeal the order before Skeen made his decision on whether he was in
contempt of court.
Skeen denied the defendant's request and found Beatty in contempt. Since
he ordered the defendant twice to provide handwriting samples, Skeen said
he would hold another contempt of court hearing for Beatty sometime next
Jury selection is set to start Thursday, with individual questioning
beginning next week. Beatty's trial is scheduled for July 26.
The defendant was brought back to Smith County in December from Henderson
County, where he was jailed on charges of unauthorized use of a motor
vehicle and possession of a weapon by a felon.
Information from inmates at the Henderson County Jail, who Beatty
allegedly talked to about the murder, helped authorities find the body on
Ms. Click may have been strangled, struck by a blunt object, smothered or
suffocated by being buried alive, the indictment states.
Mrs. Click was last seen by her neighbors Nov. 25, 2003. Beatty was living
with her at the time, having been paroled from prison to her house.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice records show that he has been in and
out of prison on charges including injury to a child, theft, possession of
a controlled substance and aggravated assault.
(source: Tyler Morning Telegraph)
Jury Selected for Capital Murder Trial
The trial date for an East Texas man accused of killing his neighbors has
been tentatively set.
Jury selection wrapped up last week for the capital murder trial for
Barney Fuller, Jr. He's accused of fatally shooting his neighbors and
wounding their teenage son last year in Lovelady.
It took Houston County authorities 11 days to individually question 109
potential jurors. Late Friday night, they finally ended up with a panel of
48 jurors, from which they selected 12 jurors and 2 alternates.
Fuller was indicted last summer on numerous charges in connection to the
shooting rampage. His trial is expected to start July 13. If convicted, he
could get the death penalty.
(source: KTRE News)
Death penalty phase ends with hung jury
The death-penalty phase of a Bloomfield man's double murder trial ended
Tuesday with a hung jury.
The Hartford Superior Court jury convicted Jessie Campbell III in May of
shooting 2 women to death and injuring a 3rd who survived a gunshot wound
to the head during a rampage in August 2000. He was found guilty of
capital felony, murder, attempted murder and other charges.
But jurors gave Judge Edward Mullarkey a note Tuesday saying they could
not reach a unanimous verdict, The Hartford Courant's Web site, ctnow.com,
reported. He accepted their word and dismissed them.
Mullarkey is expected on Thursday to consider a motion by Campbell's
lawyers calling for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility
of parole. The judge could also order another penalty phase hearing.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that they needed more time before making a
recommendation to Mullarkey about Campbell's fate.
The jury concluded that Campbell, 24, killed La-Taysha Logan, 20, the
mother of his son, and Desiree Privette, 18. Privette's aunt, Caroline
Privette, was shot in the head but survived, and she became the state's
chief witness against Campbell. All three women lived in Hartford.
The shootings occurred Aug. 26, 2000, outside Desiree Privette's apartment
on Sargeant Street.
Campbell and Logan had a tempestuous and violent relationship for years,
testimony and court records show. Prosecutors said Logan was his intended
target the night of the shootings, and that he shot Desiree and Caroline
Privette to silence them because they saw him kill Logan.
Campbell's lawyers, public defenders Ronald Gold and David Smith, argued
that Campbell's mental capacity was a significant mitigating factor that
should persuade the jury to spare Campbell's life.
(source: Associated Press)
Judge dismisses former death row inmate's reckless conduct case
A Cook County circuit judge has dismissed a reckless conduct case against
former death row inmate Aaron Patterson.
Patterson's case was dismissed Tuesday because a police officer who was
the main witness did not appear in court, authorities said.
Patterson was charged in May with misdemeanor reckless conduct during a
candlelight vigil outside a North Side police station where activist May
Molina died while in police custody.
Patterson, 39, was shouting obscenities and pounding on windows at the
police station, police said. But Patterson claimed he was trying to help
another demonstrator locate some lost keys when an officer yelled at him
and started an altercation.
Molina was a well-known opponent of the death penalty and co-founder of an
activist group that lobbies for the release of wrongfully convicted
The Cook County medical examiner's office said six tin-wrapped packages
containing what appeared to be heroin was found inside Molina's body
during an autopsy.
Protesters said police failed to provide Molina, a wheelchair-bound
diabetic, the medical attention she needed.
Patterson served 17 years on death row before being pardoned by former
Gov. George Ryan last year.
In January, while he was running for a seat on the state legislature,
Patterson was charged with misdemeanor counts of simple assault and
impersonating a government official.
(source: Associated Press)
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