[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- LOUISIANA, N.J., S.C.
j_sommer at gmx.net
Fri Jul 23 16:28:58 CDT 2004
death penalty news
July 23, 2004
Lafayette Grand jury set in Gillis inquiry
A Lafayette Parish grand jury is set to hear evidence Wednesday in the case
of Sean Vincent Gillis, who is accused in a series of killings in the Baton
Rouge area and the death of an Acadiana woman. Gillis has admitted killing
eight women from 1994 until his arrest by Baton Rouge authorities in April.
Days after Gillis was taken into custody, Lafayette Police said he
confessed to the October 2000 death of Marilyn Joyce Nevils. Police say
Gillis admitted that he had picked the woman up in Lafayette, killed her
and then dumped her body on a levee in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Prosecutor Keith Stutes says the case, as it stands now, is based largely
on Gillis' confession, but investigators have been working to corroborate
his statements with physical evidence.
Stutes says at least one piece of physical evidence has been found, but he
declined to comment on what it was.
District Attorney Mike Harson said his office is seeking a first-degree
murder indictment against Gillis. The charge carries a possible death penalty.
South Jersey Man Reindicted In Death, Burning Of Infant Son
A Burlington County father has been reindicted on a murder charge in his
infant son's death, a case taken back to the grand jury because of a state
Supreme Court decision regarding New Jersey's death penalty.
Kevin Abrahams, 27, of Burlington City was originally indicted last year in
the 2002 death of 8-month-old Sage Tyler Morgan-Abrahams, whose body was
subsequently burned in a fireplace.
Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi announced a year he planned to pursue the
death penalty in the case.
In February, the state Supreme Court ruled that grand jurors considering
homicide cases should decide if there are circumstances that could warrant
the death penalty. Before the ruling, prosecutors made the call on whether
to pursue a capital case.
The indictment returned Thursday charges Abrahams with capital murder and
hindering apprehension, Bernardi said.
Authorities allege Abrahams beat the infant in a fit of rage and that the
child's mother, Jessica Morgan, did not seek medical care for her injured
son, who died a day after the beating. Morgan also did not object when
Abrahams said he was going to burn the baby's remains in a fireplace.
Morgan pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and conspiracy to hinder
apprehension and is expected to be a witness against Abrahams, her former
The couple were arrested in Florida in July 2002, where they had gone after
the child's death.
Authorities began investigating when Morgan's mother contacted Burlington
City police to report the apparent disappearance of the baby.
Cheney to help DeMint in S.C. -- Quick visit shows that Bush camp is
confident president will win state
Vice President Dick Cheney will drop in on Myrtle Beach this afternoon, but
the only people who'll be able to see him are those who have paid $1,000 to
attend a fund-raiser on behalf of Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jim DeMint.
Some political observers say that his turning down the opportunity to do
some S.C. campaigning illustrates how confident the Bush-Cheney ticket is
of again carrying the state that gave them 59 percent of the vote in 2000.
"I don't think they're going to waste time hanging around South Carolina
when they have chores they've got to take care of in Michigan and Ohio and
West Virginia and Pennsylvania and whatever," said Neal Thigpen, a
political science professor at Francis Marion University in Florence and a
The vice president will campaign next week on the West Coast, while
President Bush is planning a month of intensive campaigning, beginning in
the Midwest. However, Cheney is scheduled to be back in South Carolina Aug.
9 for another invitation-only fund-raiser, this time in Spartanburg.
Cheney's visit today to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center will be his
first trip to South Carolina since he spoke at a fund-raiser in Columbia on
July 28, 2003.
The vice president is scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. Beforehand, he and
DeMint will attend a VIP reception, where donors must pay an additional
$2,000 to attend. According to Horry County Republican Party Chairman Duane
Oliver, the DeMint campaign expects to raise $700,000 by attracting 500 to
DeMint's Democratic opponent, Inez Tenenbaum, is showing no interest in
having either member of her party's national ticket come into the state for
"That's really up to them," said Adam Kovacevich, Tenenbaum's campaign
spokesman. "If they decide to come to South Carolina, Inez will be there
with them. But that doesn't alter our approach to this race, which is that
people are looking for an independent-minded senator."
In keeping an arm's length distance from the national ticket, Tenenbaum is
following a familiar script for Democrats in the South, political experts say.
"DeMint will do his best to align himself with the Republican national
ticket and will try to tie Inez Tenenbaum to the national Democratic
ticket, which is just not that popular in the South," said College of
Charleston political science professor Bill Moore.
Tenenbaum, meanwhile, is trying to stake out the middle of the road. She
has said that she favors the death penalty, that she favors banning
late-term abortions unless the health of the mother is in danger, and that
she supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between
a man and a woman.
Moore said Tenenbaum "will emphasize her role as being basically a South
Carolina senator, as opposed to a national Democrat."
Although the Democrats' vice-presidential candidate, Sen. John Edwards of
North Carolina, is an S.C. native and won the state's Democratic
presidential primary in February, Moore said it's unlikely he could be much
help to Tenenbaum.
"You have John Kerry at the top of the ticket," Moore said, "and John Kerry
is not going to play well in South Carolina."
Although the Massachusetts senator is running neck-and-neck with President
Bush in national polls, virtually no one thinks he can carry South Carolina.
"The fact is that South Carolina is the most Republican state in the Deep
South," Moore said. "The Republican Party has become dominant in statewide
elections. In presidential elections, it's only voted Democratic once since
1960, and that was in 1976."
Even so, political analysts are expecting Tenenbaum, who is serving her
second term as South Carolina's elected state Superintendent of Education,
to run a strong race, by virtue of her political skill and her personal
In both the 1998 and the 2002 state elections, she received more votes than
any other candidate of either party.
(source: Charlotte Observer)
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