[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----VA., OHIO, CALIF., TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Jul 22 10:22:06 CDT 2004
Killer's execution is set for tonight----Clemency petition is pending;
high court refuses request for stay
Barring clemency from the governor, Mark Wesley Bailey will die by
injection tonight for murdering his wife and child.
The execution is set for 9 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center in
Jarratt. If carried out, Bailey's would be the 3rd execution this year in
Bailey, a Gulf War veteran, was sentenced to death for the Sept. 10, 1998,
killing of Katherine Bailey and his 2-year-old son, Nathan. Katherine
Bailey, 22, was shot 3 times in the head as she slept. Nathan was shot
twice in the head.
In his videotaped confession to police, Mark Bailey said he washed blood
off his face and then cut the bathroom window screen and the outside
telephone line to make it appear as if someone had broken in.
Mark Bailey, 34, was a machinist mate and submariner in the U.S. Navy
living in Hampton at the time of the killings. He used a .22-caliber
handgun borrowed from a friend to commit the murders.
Mark Bailey and his wife were first cousins once removed. Relatives close
to Katherine Bailey would not comment. The Bailey family has been split by
the slay- ings, said a relative in a letter asking Warner for clemency.
Mark Bailey's lawyers filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court and a
clemency petition with Gov. Mark R. Warner. Late yesterday, the Supreme
Court turned down his petition and his request for a stay of execution.
The clemency petition was still pending.
In appealing to Warner, Mark Bailey's lawyers cited his struggle with
manic-depressive, or bipolar, disorder. The jury did not learn of Mark
Bailey's mental illness during the penalty phase of his trial, his lawyers
They are asking his sentence be commuted to life without a chance of
Mark Bailey was extremely depressed at the time of the killings because
his marriage was failing, the lawyers said. A clinical psychologist
testified that Mark Bailey was also suffering from borderline personality
disorder. Impulsive acts are characteristic of the disorder, the
Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore,
said, "This is a guy who murdered his wife and 2-year old son. He then
caused damage around his house to make it appear that a break-in had
occurred before calmly leaving for work."
"He knew exactly what he was doing, and the jury's verdict should be
upheld," Murtaugh said.
Rush Wickes, secretary of Virginians United Against Crime, a victims'
advocacy group, said that Mark Bailey "acknowledged in interviews that he
understands both the wrongfulness of his actions and his resulting
"He was likely fueled to kill his wife due to marital discord and was the
designated beneficiary on her life-insurance policy," said Wickes, who
described the killing of Mark Bailey's son as the boy crawled out of his
crib as "wanton."
"The extended family in this case has been devastated by this crime and
placed in a wrenching predicament with regards to the fate of Mark Bailey.
They have our sincere sympathy," Wickes said.
But Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said in a statement
that, "while we agree that Bailey must face responsibility and punishment
for his crimes, we question the legitimacy of his death sentence."
"Even those who support the death penalty agree that it is important for
the jury to be fully informed of mitigating factors in death penalty
cases," the group said.
Last night, the group was seeking a musician to play taps during a vigil
tonight outside the prison. An e-mail message sent by VADP's director said
that Mark Bailey had requested that taps be played.
Mikhaela Payden-Travers, a VADP member, said, "one of the most disturbing
aspects of Bailey's case, in my mind, is the fact that with proper
psychological treatment he may never have committed the murders."
"While Bailey was serving in U.S. Submarine Service, he attempted suicide.
He asked for a psychological evaluation and treatment; his request was
denied," she said.
(source: Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Death penalty given----Judge hands down maximum sentence for man who
raped, killed 12-year-old girl
Until he dies or wins an appeal, Donald Lavell Craig will call death row
His room will be a 10-foot by 12-foot concrete block cell with a small
reinforced window. He will be confined to his cell 23 hours a day, every
Law books, a radio and a 13-inch color TV will be his only roommates. For
an hour a day, weather permitting, he can walk outside and pick up a ball.
And 3 times a day, someone will pass a meal through a cell door slot.
Craig's future was affirmed Wednesday by Summit County Common Pleas Court
Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove.
Last week, a jury who heard his trial unanimously recommended Craig be
sentenced to death for the 1996 kidnapping, rape and murder of 12-year-old
Roseanna Marie Davenport of Akron.
In court Wednesday, Craig, 44, continued to maintain his claim of
innocence, telling Cosgrove that a vasectomy he underwent 20 years ago
makes it impossible for him to leave the DNA evidence that sealed his
Cosgrove reminded Craig that the court paid for testing that proved the
vasectomy was ineffective. The court also paid for DNA testing on his
behalf, tests that only affirmed the evidence used by prosecutors.
The judge then imposed the maximum sentences possible, calling his crimes
"heinous and cold-blooded." Aside from affirming the death sentence for
aggravated murder, Cosgrove sentenced Craig to three consecutive life
sentences for the rape convictions and an additional 10 years for
She said his crimes against the girl defy "all human dignity" and that she
hopes her sentence ensures Craig will "never harm another child."
"Did she cry? Did she whimper? Did she pray? We'll never know," Cosgrove
said at the sentencing.
The girl's cousin, Tonya Trent, and grandmother, Donna Dove, all expressed
hatred toward Craig on behalf of the family. Jerry Davenport, the girl's
father, hailed the judge's decision as he did the jury's recommendation
"I hope he burns in eternal hell," Dove said on behalf of her daughter,
Victoria, who lives in Georgia and was unable to attend the trial.
Craig again proclaimed his hopes for a successful appeal, telling
reporters "I'll be back" as he was escorted from the courtroom.
He will likely be transported within a week to death row at the Mansfield
Correctional Institution, where 207 inmates currently reside.
Appeals will likely extend his stay beyond 10 years.
Rosie, as she was referred to during the trial, was close friends with the
daughter of Craig's live-in girlfriend. She visited Craig's South Maple
Street home on Feb. 28, 1996, and left alone at about 6 p.m. Witnesses say
Craig left shortly afterward.
Rosie's body was found 5 days later in the basement of a vacant home
several doors away from Craig's home. She had been raped and strangled.
DNA evidence tested in 1996 failed to conclusively match Craig, who had
emerged as the top suspect in the eyes of Akron police. Later that year,
Craig went to prison for 7 years on an unrelated arson conviction. And the
murder case lay dormant.
Akron police detective James Pasheilich picked up the investigation in
2002, working overtime under a federal "cold case" grant. DNA testing was
again performed -- using newer technology -- and Craig was found to be a
Pasheilich sat in the courtroom Wednesday and wept when Cosgrove
congratulated him in open court for pursuing the case. The outburst of
emotion, he said, was spurred by the unexpected compliment, thoughts of
Rosie and the children of all police officers.
"We all have kids; I think that's the hardest part," he said outside the
courtroom. "But this case was never about us. It was all about Rosie."
(source: Akron Beacon Journal)
MARTINEZ -- 'I want to die,' says mass killer - Judge attempts to silence
outburst by Helzer in court
One of the most shocking and unusual trials in recent Bay Area history was
nonetheless jolted Wednesday when the defendant politely said that he
wished to die.
"There's no need," convicted mass murderer Justin Helzer blurted out at 10
a.m. Wednesday in a packed Martinez courtroom as the jury settled in to
hear opening arguments in the death penalty phase of his trial.
"I want this life to be over," Helzer continued in an even voice. "I want
Helzer, 32, his brother Glenn Helzer and their roommate Dawn Godman
brutally killed 5 people in the summer of 2000 to raise money for a self-
awareness group they believed would hasten Christ's return to Earth.
Justin Helzer was convicted by jurors who also found him sane when he
killed, rejecting defense arguments that he followed the orders of an
older brother he considered to be a prophet and thought the slayings were
Helzer had shown little reaction during weeks of often disturbing
testimony. However, last month he was found hoarding another inmate's
psychiatric pills. He spent a night on suicide watch, but defense attorney
Daniel Cook said he was not suicidal.
As the outburst began Wednesday, Cook and defense lawyer Charles Hoehn,
seated on either side of Helzer, tried to silence him. Judge Mary Ann
O'Malley looked stunned, told Helzer to be quiet and tried to drown out
some of his words with her own.
Helzer's mother, Carma Helzer, exploded into tears in the gallery. Some
jurors also wept.
"I'm just being truthful. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be rude," Helzer
continued. "I just want to be free. I want freedom or death."
"C'mon, c'mon," Cook whispered to his client after jurors were hustled out
"Mr. Helzer, I don't know what possessed you," O'Malley said.
About 20 minutes later O'Malley told jurors -- some of whom were still
crying or gathering themselves -- to disregard Helzer's words completely.
Outside court, prosecutor Harold Jewett declined to comment on the
outburst, while Cook said only that he wasn't sure what impact it would
have on jurors.
It was a breathtaking start to an emotional hearing that could mark the
first time a member of the self-described "Children of Thunder" is
sentenced to death. Helzer's brother entered a surprise guilty plea just
before their joint trial was to begin and still faces a death penalty
hearing. Godman pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution under a
plea bargain that will send her to prison for 38 years to life.
The hearing began with testimony from several relatives of the five
victims, who contemplated what was taken from them. "This is their day,"
Jewett said in his brief opening statement.
What followed resembled a memorial service. Some of the stories told on
the stand left witnesses and family members sobbing, while others elicited
laughter and knowing glances. It also provided a look at how deeply the
killings wounded the victims' families.
"Before trial, I cried every day. I'm fearful of being out in public
alone," said Judy Nemec, whose parents, Ivan and Annette Stineman, were
the first killed. She and several other relatives have attended nearly
every court hearing since the murders to try to learn exactly what
"4 years is a long time to wait for some form of closure," Nemec said.
"Before, it was just my imagination going wild."
Helzer looked straight ahead during the testimony, not turning to see the
witnesses or the pictures of victims projected on a screen.
In his statement, Cook said his client was "a follower but not a leader, a
soldier but not a prophet." He said he was honored to try to save Helzer's
life, and he asked jurors to be fair, "no matter how loudly hate or
vengeance pound on your door."
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Peterson Jury Sees Graphic Autopsy Photos
Jurors in the Scott Peterson murder trial winced when prosecutors showed
them graphic photos of Laci Peterson's badly decomposed body during
testimony from a criminalist who helped collect evidence from the remains.
John Nelson, who works in the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department
crime lab, said he was present for the autopsy April 14, 2003, the day
Laci's headless body washed ashore along San Francisco Bay.
Among the items obtained from the body for analysis were 4 hairs, a piece
of red plastic, some plant material and a 15-inch-long piece of duct tape,
Nelson also catalogued some of the evidence found near the body - a
plastic tarp, strips of duct tape and a piece of rusty metal. Prosecutors
did not ask him about forensic results from tests of those items.
Another criminalist testified about the DNA tests that would eventually
provide the identities of Laci and the couple's fetus.
Earlier in the day, testimony focused on the painstaking procedures
detectives used while searching for evidence at Peterson's home, warehouse
and storage facility.
The defense again tried to deflect suspicion from Peterson, this time by
pointing to a prostitute who police say stole checks from his business
mailbox after his pregnant wife disappeared.
Modesto police Detective Mike Hermosa testified he arrested the woman for
stealing the checks to trade for drugs with an Asian gang.
On cross-examination, Peterson's lawyer Mark Geragos asked Hermosa if he
checked the woman's alibi for Dec. 24, 2002, the date Laci was reported
"No, I never did that, sir," Hermosa replied.
Harris pointed out the checks were stolen after Laci vanished, implying
the woman wasn't involved in her disappearance.
Geragos then returned to his accusations that police conducted a sloppy
Veronica Holmes, a Modesto police community service officer, testified
that police videotaped an interview with Peterson but no batteries were
put in a tape recorder, so the footage had no sound.
Holmes said she placed the tape in her drawer and "just forgot about it."
Geragos noted it was just turned over to the defense this year.
Prosecutors called several other detectives to testify about the extensive
search for evidence and how police thoroughly documented everything, even
itemizing objects not seized.
The remains of both Laci and the fetus were recovered just two miles from
where Peterson claims he was fishing alone that Christmas Eve. He could
face the death penalty or life without parole if convicted.
(source: Associated Press)
After 10 years on death row, man's sentence reduced to life
An inmate who spent 10 years on death row for his part in a robbery-murder
in this West Texas city was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.
Joe Lee Guy, 32, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1994, but last
month U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings in Lubbock threw out the death
That ruling did not affect Guy's conviction but sent the case back to
court for sentencing.
"I feel grateful and blessed to get the death sentence off of me," Guy
Guy will get credit for time served since his arrest in 1993 and will be
eligible for parole in about 25 years.
Guy claimed he was only a lookout in the robbery that led to the killing
of 62-year-old Larry Howell at a Plainview grocery store in 1993.
Guy had appealed based on the behavior of a defense attorney and an
investigator during sentencing, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
in August sent the case back to Cummings' Lubbock court for evidentiary
According to a petition filed by Guy, unlicensed investigator Frank
SoRelle, who was part of Guy's defense team, formed a relationship with
French Howell, the victim's mother.
A few months after Guy was sentenced to death, French Howell named SoRelle
her sole beneficiary.
When she died, SoRelle inherited about $750,000.
(source: Associated Press)
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