[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----TEXAS, FLORIDA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Nov 22 13:51:24 CST 2004
'Dead Man Walking' author to speak
On Dec. 2, Sam Houston State University students will get the opportunity
to hear from Sister Helen Prejean, whose book inspired the 1995 film "Dead
The presentation will be held in Academic Building Four's Olson Auditorium
at 7:30 p.m. and will focus on the death penalty and its abolition. The
presentation will be followed by a reception and book signing.
It will be the inaugural presentation in the Joan Coffey Lecture Series,
which has been founded in honor of Joan Coffey, a beloved professor in
SHSU's history department who passed away in 2003 after a long battle with
Prejean is the author of "Dead Man Walking: An Eye Witness Account of the
Death Penalty in the U.S.," which was on the New York Times best seller
list for 31 weeks and was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her book
was made into a motion picture written and directed by Tim Robbins.
Her book has been translated into 12 languages and has been made into an
opera by the San Francisco Opera Company with Terrance McNally as the
librettist and Jake Heggie as the composer. The world premiere of the
opera was performed in San Francisco Oct. 7, 2000.
(source: The Huntsville Item)
Round Rock slaying suspect denies guilt----In an exclusive jailhouse
interview, Michael Moore says he can identify the real killers
A man accused of the 2003 slaying of a pregnant Round Rock woman has told
KVUE News that he is not guilty but knows who the real killers are.
Michael Keith Moore, 29, said in two collect, late Saturday night
telephone calls from the Williamson County Jail that he has refused to
tell law officers his information because of fears of retaliation against
his wife and other members of his family.
"I was told if I said anything that my wife would be. . .killed just like
Christina Moore," he said.
He said his wife and son have moved to another state to protect
themselves. He declined to say where.
"It falls under the lines of. . .if they did this to Christina Moore for
next to no reason or for any reason, think what they would do to my family
if I gave them a reason."
When asked if he served as a lookout for others who committed the crime or
if he was outside the house on the day of the slaying, Michael Moore said
he would not discuss it. He also refused to name the men he said were
"I have no comment right now on that," he said.
"Did you kill Christina Moore?" he was asked.
"No, sir, I didn't," he said. "But the police pretty much decided they had
to get somebody. I may have intimate knowledge of who did it."
Later, he added, "I can say pretty much what I know, and I could probably
help Round Rock get a conviction."
Capt. Stan Simpson of the Round Rock Police Department said Sunday that no
investigators would comment on Michael Moore's phone calls to KVUE because
of the ongoing nature of the investigation. Also, Simpson said,
prosecutors fear that defense attorneys will ask that the case be moved
out of Williamson County because pretrial publicity has tainted a jury
Steve Brittain, who Michael Moore said was his attorney, could not be
reached at work or at home on Sunday.
Michael Moore, who said he is in isolation at the jail, made the 1st call
to the KVUE newsroom around 10:15 p.m. Saturday. He was then directed to
call the home number of a KVUE.com employee.
A few minutes later, Moore called the employee's home number collect. A
recording at the start of the call said that the call was being monitored
or recorded by the jail.
That call lasted approximately 15 minutes before an automated timer ended
it. A few minutes later, Moore called the KVUE.com employee back. Again,
the recording said that the call was being monitored or recorded.
"I wasnt sure if you had more questions," he said at the start of the 2nd
call. The second call also lasted approximately 15 minutes.
Michael Moore and Christina Moore are not related. Michael Moore said he
did not know the woman and has never been inside her house.
"I did work in her neighborhood in 97 installing fireplaces," he said.
Christina Moore's body was found inside a closet of her Hamlet Circle home
on Sept. 23, 2003, by her husband, Robert Moore. Someone had cut her
throat and she was partially bound. The couples 15-month old daughter was
inside the home, but unhurt.
Several items, including Christina Moore's purse and some jewelry, were
apparently stolen from the house, according to print reports.
A Williamson County grand jury this week handed up an indictment charging
Michael Moore with capital murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated
kidnapping in Christina Moores death.
Michael Moore said he was arrested Feb. 26, 2004, ostensibly after being
accused of robbing employees of a Williamson County insurance company in
December 2003. Immediately, however, the interrogation by investigators
turned to the Christina Moore case.
"They questioned me for 7 1/2 hours," about the Moore case, he said. "They
basically just asked background stuff: 'Did I know this? Did I know that?'
They asked me point blank if I did it."
It wasn't the first time Michael Moore had spoken to police about the
crime, he said.
In the days after the slaying, Michael Moore said he called police after
finding bank checks he believed were tied to the crime.
"I tried to help them out with this investigation," Michael Moore said. "I
told them that I found some checks with their name on it but it wasnt
until a couple of days later that I called. Her and her husbands names
were on the checks."
He said he found the checks at a pay phone at a convenience store "right
off 79 and 35," he said. Michael Moore said he recognized the couples
names from news accounts and thought the evidence might be helpful.
Michael Moore said he telephoned in the information anonymously because he
didnt want to draw suspicion to himself.
"I told my wife I hope they didn't find out who I was," he said. "After
that, they found out who I was between September and February. They said
they recognized my voice on the 911 tapes."
Williamson County law enforcement officials were already familiar with
In 1992, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on a felony criminal
mischief conviction. He said that he was 17 at the time and that he and
some friends drove around the county shooting car windows with BB guns.
Her served 5 years for the crime and was released. Then, in 2002, he was
convicted of credit card abuse and was placed in a state jail until March
Christina Moore was killed 6 months later.
3 months after her slaying, Michael Moore is accused of robbing the
Michael Moore said that since his arrest in February, investigators have
searched the property around his Florence home 4 times and found some
evidence that they say could be relevant.
Michael Moore said that he has been told that his DNA does not match the
DNA of a hair found inside the victim's home. Also, he claimed, that he
was told that 2 different kinds of mud were found inside the house,
indicating there were at least 2 killers.
He said investigators have also told him that a pair of handcuffs used in
the case was tied to him, as was a pair of boots believed worn by someone
involved in the crime.
"They believe I was a guy who was a watch-out," he said.
Michael Moore was asked when he first learned of Christina Moore's death.
He said that he couldnt answer that because, if he were the watch-out for
the people inside the house, he would have known about it the day of the
Michael Moore said that he tried to kill himself last week in jail by
taking an overdose of pills he had secretly hoarded.
"I was worried that anything I said would end up hurting my family," he
said, so he tried to end his own life.
"I just got out of the hospital yesterday," he said. "I was in a coma for
2 1/2 days."
Law enforcement officials confirmed the incident but said it should not
necessarily be categorized as a suicide attempt.
Asked what he thought would happen to him as the charges against him were
adjudicated, Michael Moore said he would probably get life in prison for
the robbery of the insurance company-and that the death penalty in the
Christina Moore case was possible.
"Like I told my lawyer," he said. "If they actually took me to trial and
found me guilty, I would rather have the death penalty than do time until
I'm 70 years old. If they ever gave me life, I'd never get out."
(source: KVUE News)
Store Owner Killed in Violent Crime Spree
A convenience store owner was murdered Sunday, just minutes after a woman
down the street was robbed and sexually assaulted. Police say the same
suspect is responsible for both crimes.
The woman was attacked at the Pecan Valley Apartments on East Southcross.
Police say the suspect then stole her car and drove two blocks to a
mini-mart, where he robbed the owner, Hash Patel, and shot and killed him.
Patel was known to everyone in this neighborhood as Mr. Hash.
"Everybody's hurting," said Joe Ward. "I'm a strong man, but when
something like this happens."
A father of 2 and brand new grandfather, Patel was known to give away food
to his customers if they couldn't afford to pay. His murder was caught on
video surveillance tape and is now part of the evidence.
The suspect, who hasn't been identified yet, was found inside a nearby
apartment complex after police spotted the stolen car. If convicted, he
could get the death penalty.
(source: VOAI News)
Outback verdict an affront
There was more than a little outrage in Texarkana this week when the
Outback murderer, Stephon Walter, got off with a life sentence.
It was commonly thought around these parts that, if convicted, Walter
would get the death needle.
Apparently Collin County jurors don't think so commonly.
Not that everyone who shares this outrage is a proponent of capital
punishment, only that if putting a person to death is a legal option,
which it is in Texas, this would be the kind of crime where it would have
The horrific way in which the crime was committed precludes much sympathy.
If it wasn't totally premeditated, it was certainly thought out. If
revenge wasn't a motive, then the cold and calculated way the executions
were performed is even more terrifying and despicable.
These were cold-blooded, senseless murders, murders of people who were
unarmed and apparently put up no serious resistance to a robbery that
netted less than a thousand dollars. The person who did the actual
killings had to be a monster, devoid of even an ounce of humanity and
conscience. If there was ever an act that shouted for the death penalty,
this would be it.
The methodical murders of the three Outback steakhouse employees on Labor
Day a little more than a year ago was so shocking, tragic and
well-publicized as to preclude getting a fair trail in a local venue. By
its nature, this was a case that would aspire to retribution rather than
Yet those who hoped this first trial would produce a punishment equal to
the crime are left to ponder: In a state like Texas, which applies the
death penalty with all the thought and frequency of applying makeup, why
does this outcome seem so hollow and void of justice?
The irony of this whole sorry ending is that Walter's lawyers tried to get
the trial moved out of conservative Collin County. They saw the high
income levels and racial makeup of the county as an unfavorable pool from
which to pick a fair jury.
How founded and shared were these fears? Before the trial began, one
long-time court observer went so far as to suggest that the two men
charged in this case might be better off being tried in Bowie County-in
spite of the pre-trial publicity and the community's smoldering need to
place blame-than in Collin County. At least here they might get a panel
that they could relate to, one that looked a little more like them.
Instead, the good folks of Collin County put aside such differences and
saved Mr. Walter's hide.
Sometimes it's hard to figure what your peers are thinking.
There has been some reasonable speculation that the all-white jury wasn't
convinced that Walter was the triggerman, and thus they opted for the
lesser sentence. If that's the case, the upcoming trial of alleged
accomplice Richard Markeil "Lucky" Henson, might provide some unexpected
twists. During testimony, Henson's brother told the court that his
23-year-old brother told him he had participated in the robbery, but was
outside the restaurant when the shootings occurred.
Walter, during his testimony, claimed he wasn't even at the restaurant
when the crime was committed. Obviously, the jury thought he was,
otherwise they couldn't have convicted him of murder. So if he was there,
the only remaining question was who pulled the trigger? That's where the
defense created doubt.
While some of us-and the laws themselves-don't split hairs about who
actually did the executing and who stood guard during the committing of
this crime, that uncertainty and differentiation might carry some
subliminal weight with a jury-particularly in the absence of compelling
And it may have been through that small crack of doubt that Walter escaped
the ultimate fate and copped his big break.
Mr. Walter avoided what many though he richly deserved.
As a result, the closest he likely will get to a needle is free and timely
flu shots for the rest of his miserable incarcerated life-or at least for
the next 40 years.
That we all could be so lucky.
(source: Les Minor, Managing Editor, Opinion, Texarkana Gazette, Nov. 21)
Briton 'mistaken for US killer'
A British man facing extradition from Spain for 8 murders in the US says
he is the victim of mistaken identity.
Mark Ross, 46, formerly of Poole in Dorset, could face the death penalty
in Florida unless he proves his story.
The Fair Trials Abroad group is appealing for anyone who knows of Mr Ross
or his family to come forward.
It is thought to be a Canadian also called Mark Ross who is wanted for the
killings. The pair share the same birthday and have similar middle names.
The British Mr Ross has the middle name Merteith while his Canadian
namesake - a motorbike gang leader - has the name Monteith.
Both were born on 25 November, 1957.
Stephen Jakobi, director of Fair Trials Abroad, said that despite the
coincidences Mr Ross deserves help with his appeal.
He told BBC News: "One is always concerned about American identity cases.
We have had some nasty cases of mistaken identity in the past.
"We are concerned enough about this case to support an investigation and
an appeal for anyone to come forward.
"All I can say is that if no-one remembers him, well there you have it."
Mr Ross says he spent his early childhood in Poole and was born in Poole
His family is said to have lived in accommodation at the hospital and his
father may have been a doctor.
Both parents are dead and he does not have any living relatives.
Mr Ross says he has spent his life travelling across the world.
(source : BBC NEWS)
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