[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----VA., TEXAS, ALA., IOWA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Jul 22 23:34:34 CDT 2004
Bailey executed for killing wife and son in Hampton
Condemned killer Mark W. Bailey was put to death Thursday night for the
slayings of his wife and 2-year-old son.
Bailey received a lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center
and was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m.
Asked by warden George Hinkle if he had any final words, Bailey said in a
clear, strong voice, "No, thank you."
Gov. Mark R. Warner on Thursday evening had denied Bailey's request for
clemency, noting that his case had been reviewed by several courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously denied Bailey's appeal on Wednesday.
Bailey used a .22-caliber pistol to shoot his wife, Katherine, 3 times in
the head as she slept early on Sept. 10, 1998, in their Hampton home. He
gunned down his son, Nathan, moments later as the child climbed out of
Bailey, 34, claimed he suffered from manic depression and was severely
depressed at the time of the slayings because his marriage was on the
A clinical psychologist testified that Bailey also suffered from
borderline personality disorder and that impulsive acts are a symptom of
Bailey said in a videotaped confession that after killing his wife he
washed blood off his face. He said he cut the bathroom window screen and
outside telephone line to make it look like his family had been killed by
The Gulf War veteran and submariner in the Navy was convicted of capital
murder in July 1999.
Veterans group and Bailey's parents had appealed to Warner to commute the
sentence to life in prison without parole.
"What he has done was a horrible thing but it can do no good for anyone if
he should be executed," Myron and Bonnie Bailey wrote.
Bailey becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Virginia this year and the 92nd since the state resumed executions in 1982
following a 20-year hiatus. Only Texas, with 323, has executed more.
Bailey becomes the36th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 921st overall since America resumed capital punishment on
January 17, 1977)
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Sniper Makes Appeal To High Court in Va. ---- Death Penalty Unjustified,
Prince William County prosecutors never proved that John Allen Muhammad
fired the bullet that killed Dean H. Meyers during the 2002 sniper rampage
in the Washington area, so the trial judge should not have allowed a jury
to consider the death penalty, Muhammad's attorneys argued in their appeal
this week to the Virginia Supreme Court.
The legal claim by Muhammad's defense team is one of 102 "assignments of
error" raised in a 140-page brief filed late Monday in Richmond. The brief
is the beginning of what could be a long appeals process that could lead
to the federal court system and last for years.
Muhammad, now 43, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 19, were arrested in a parked car in
Frederick County after 13 people had been shot, 10 fatally, during a
three-week period in October 2002. The rifle believed to have been used in
all the shootings was found in the car, along with a laptop computer
mapping out the locations of some of the killings.
Malvo's fingerprints and skin cells were found on the rifle, and the
teenager admitted firing the gun in conversations with jail guards and
investigators. But Muhammad did not talk to investigators, and no physical
evidence linked him to the rifle.
The two suspects were tried separately in different counties. Prince
William prosecutors called Muhammad the mastermind of the shootings, and
Fairfax County prosecutors said Malvo was the triggerman.
Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert argued that
Muhammad's role made him equally responsible for the shootings and that he
deserved to die. Peter D. Greenspun and Jonathan Shapiro, Muhammad's
attorneys, said that under Virginia law, only the shooter was eligible for
the death penalty.
Prince William Circuit Court Judge Leroy F. Millette Jr. ruled for the
"I think a fair inference can be drawn that they perfected their ability
to shoot people and perfected their ability to shoot them and escape,"
Millette said in his ruling. "I think that an inference can be drawn that
the vehicle itself was instrumental in their ability to do that; and it
took 2 people to position that vehicle in situations so that they could
complete the shooting and escape undetected."
Millette's ruling was arguably the most controversial legal decision in
the case. Greenspun and Shapiro contended in their appeal that Virginia
law states with "unambiguous precedent" that "only the actual killer . . .
is eligible to receive the death penalty. There is absolutely no evidence
of Mr. Muhammad's guilt as the actual perpetrator, that is, the
The defense also argued that Millette improperly allowed victim impact
testimony from the friends and family of Meyers and Linda Franklin, the
shooting victim in Fairfax. The emotional 911 call by Franklin's husband,
William, was played to the jury during the guilt phase of Muhammad's
trial. In Malvo's trial for Franklin's killing, Fairfax Circuit Court
Judge Jane Marum Roush did not allow the tape to be played during the
guilt phase. It was played during the penalty phase, however.
"Nothing relevant to the crime was provided by Mr. Franklin," Muhammad's
defense argued, saying it was "an effort to excite the passions of the
jury regardless of the lack of facts." The defense noted that other
victims' relatives also testified improperly during the guilt phase.
Prosecutors said it was done to show the impact of terror.
The sniper trials provided the first test of a new Virginia anti-terrorism
statute, which Muhammad's attorneys argue is unconstitutionally vague. The
law prohibits intimidating the civilian population or influencing the
conduct of the government. Prosecutors said the snipers did both by
inflicting fear and by demanding payment to stop the shootings.
The defense said the definition of terrorism is far too fuzzy. "There is
an enormous difference between criminals who 'terrorize' and 'terrorists,'
" Greenspun and Shapiro wrote. "But the statute as drawn fails to draw
that distinction, allowing instead unguided and unbridled law enforcement
The defense also renewed its argument that the prosecutors in the two
sniper trials improperly used conflicting theories of the case, though
they represent one entity, the commonwealth. Greenspun and Shapiro note
that Ebert portrayed Muhammad as controlling and directing Malvo. But
Fairfax prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. said Malvo was independent and
The Virginia attorney general's office will file a reply brief for the
prosecution. Oral arguments in the case could be heard this fall.
(source: Washington Post)
TEXAS----new death sentence
Houston County jure gives man death sentence
A 45-year-old Crockett man was sentenced to death Wednesday by a Houston
County jury after pleading guilty last week to last year's shooting deaths
of an area couple.
The 12-person jury deliberated for approximately 2 hours Wednesday before
sentencing Barney Ronald Fuller to death by lethal injection for the May
14, 2003 shooting deaths of 43-year-old Nathan Copeland and 39-year-old
Cody Copeland, the couple's 14-year-old son, also was shot and injured by
the defendant during the course of the same incident.
On July 13, Fuller pled guilty to two counts of capital murder before
Third State District Judge Jim Parsons. The defendant had earlier pled not
guilty to the charges last September.
By pleading guilty, the case then proceeded to the punishment phase where
Fuller would receive 1 of 2 sentences under state law - either death or
Under provisions of a capital life sentence, Fuller would have been
eligible for parole after 40 years or when he turned 85.
Under state law, Fuller's death sentence automatically will be appealed.
A telephone message left for Houston County District Attorney Cindy Garner
this morning was not immediately returned.
(source: Palestine Herald)
Appeals court upholds death sentence in 1983 murders
A federal appeals court has rejected the latest appeal of a death row
inmate sentenced to die for the 1983 murders of 3 members of a St. Clair
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the appeal of John W.
Peoples Jr., sentenced to die for the July 1983 killings of Paul and Judy
Franklin and their 10-year-old son, Paul Franklin Jr.
The appeals court in a ruling Tuesday rejected People's claims that his
conviction should be overturned for various reasons, including that his
original arrest was illegal and that his attorneys were ineffective.
According to court records, the bodies of the Franklins were found in a
wooded area in Talladega County, a week after they disappeared from their
home in St. Clair County. They had died after being struck in the head
with a rifle or other object, according to court papers.
Prosecutors charged that Peoples killed the Franklins after Paul Franklin
Sr. refused to sell him a red 1968 Corvette.
Peoples is on his 2nd round of appeals through the court system.
(source: Associated Press)
IOWA----re: federal death penalty trial
Judge restricts death penalty references in murder trial
In Cedar Rapids, a federal judge says defense attorneys in next month's
capital murder case must be careful in the way they explore death penalty
Convicted drug dealer Dustin Honken is scheduled to go on trial August 16
for the execution-style slayings of three adults and 2 children in 1993.
Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case - the 1st
such case in Iowa in more than 40 years.
Last month, prosecutors asked U-S District Judge Mark Bennett to limit
Honken's attorneys from repeatedly mentioning or criticizing the death
penalty during the guilt phase of the trial.
Bennett agreed in part. But he also says Honken's attorneys can make
limited use of the death penalty in special circumstances.
Honken is accused of killing 2 government informants - Terry DeGeus and
Greg Nicholson. Honken is also accused of killing Nicholson's girlfriend
and her 2 daughters.
(source: Associated Press)
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