[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- NC, SD, OH, NY
j_sommer at gmx.net
Tue Nov 23 12:09:46 CST 2004
death penalty news
November 23, 2004
Scheduled execution would be a first for N.C. - Man was convicted of
Greensboro killing in 1995, but no body or physical evidence was found
State officials are preparing to execute a man in December for a killing in
Greensboro in which investigators never found a body or any other physical
evidence of a crime.
The execution, if it goes forward as scheduled on Dec. 3, would be
unprecedented in North Carolina.
A jury convicted the defendant, Charles Anthony Walker, in 1995 largely on
the testimony of his co-defendants, who said that Walker helped them kill
Elmon Tito Davidson Jr. of Greensboro. Walker has said since his arrest
that he is not guilty.
Defense attorneys are asking Gov. Mike Easley for clemency and have a court
hearing next week to pursue other options.
"There is not one person corroborating this other than some snitches, each
of whom got deals," Jonathan Megerian, one of the defense attorneys, said
at a news conference yesterday.
Davidson was last seen on Aug. 11, 1992, according to news reports at the
time and papers filed in the case. No one reported any gunshots fired and
no one reported him missing or dead.
Two days later, on Aug. 13, police officers got an anonymous tip that there
was a dead body in a Dumpster at the Morningside Homes, an apartment
complex in southeast Greensboro, but when officers searched the Dumpster,
they could not find a body.
While working on an unrelated shooting at the same apartment complex,
police officers heard a similar story about a body being thrown into a
Dumpster. They investigated and arrested five people, including Walker, for
the killing of Davidson on Aug. 12, 1992.
No physical evidence was found in the apartment where the killing was
reported to have taken place. Defendants said they cleaned the apartment
after beating and shooting Davidson. Police officers ordered a search of
the city dump, where the Dumpster would have been emptied. The city spent
26 days and $37,000 sifting through 10,000 tons of garbage in the 600-acre
landfill, but they still found nothing.
All four of the defendants made plea bargains with prosecutors, and three
of them testified against Walker. Those three - Rahshar Darden, Pamela
Haizlip and Antonio Wrenn - have all been released from prison, and the
fourth - Jesse Thompson - is eligible for parole in March 2005, according
to the N.C. Department of Correction.
Richard Rosen, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill, said that many states forbid a murder conviction based solely
on the testimony of witnesses who have something to gain.
"If this were Texas, he could not even be convicted. If this were Virginia,
he could not even be convicted," Rosen said. "For those who support the
death penalty, as well as those who are against it, this should be a matter
of great concern."
District Attorney Stuart Albright of Guilford County did not return phone
Defense attorneys say that Walker's case is also different because of his
past. Walker was hospitalized at least twice, beginning at age 10, for
mental illness, including symptoms characteristic of schizophrenia. Both of
his parents were mentally ill, according to papers filed in the case.
In 1982, when he was 17 and living in New York, Walker shot a man in his
apartment building. He pleaded guilty, served six years and was recommended
for psychiatric treatment, which he never received.
Walker's attorneys have already met with Easley, though he usually does not
issue a ruling on clemency until the night before an execution. Sherri
Johnson, a spokeswoman for Easley, declined to comment on Walker's clemency
Death penalty decision pending
The prosecution will know by Dec. 13 whether it intends to seek the death
penalty in its murder case against John H. Krogman. Pennington County
deputy state's attorney Ken Varns said Monday that he will discuss the
matter with the victims in the case and notify the defense before the next
Krogman, 53, appeared at a motions hearing Monday before 7th Circuit Judge
Jeff Davis. Mike Stonefield, Pennington County public defender, asked for
notification of the state's intent regarding the death penalty, and Varns
said he would make the decision after consulting victims.
Krogman is charged with murder in the Sept. 1 death of Brandi Standing
Bear, 25, who died after she was stabbed behind the Haines Avenue Taco
John's restaurant where she worked. Varns will be talking to Standing
Bear's survivors, as well as Tammi Hamilton, 31, Standing Bear's co-worker
who was also injured in the assault.
Varns said after the hearing that state law outlines a number of
aggravating circumstances for consideration in applying the death penalty.
At the end of a murder trial, if the defendant is convicted, a separate
trial is held to determine whether aggravating circumstances exist and
whether the death penalty will be applied, Varns said. "Although it is not
a formal requirement" that the state announce its intention to seek the
death penalty, "as a practical matter there would probably be a strong due
process argument that the defense should have notice before trial," he said.
Krogman was indicted in September on one count of first-degree murder, with
alternative charges of second-degree murder, felony murder and first-degree
manslaughter, in Standing Bear's death.
The grand jury also indicted him on one count of attempted first-degree
murder, with an alternative charge of aggravated assault, for the attack on
If convicted of first-degree murder, Krogman would face the death penalty
or life in prison.
Second-degree murder and felony murder both carry mandatory penalties of
life in prison upon conviction. Manslaughter is punishable by a maximum of
life in prison and a $25,000 fine upon conviction.
Attempted murder is punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison and a
$25,000 fine upon conviction. In the alternative, Krogman could be
convicted of aggravated assault, which carries a maximum penalty of 15
years in prison and a $15,000 fine upon conviction.
(source: Rapid City Journal)
Death Penalty Cases: A Lengthy Process
There has been one death penalty trial in Washington County since the death
penalty was reinstated in Ohio. Larry Lee was accused of killing his
estranged wife and a male friend in 1983 in Marietta, but the jury couldn't
reach a verdict on one of the two slayings.
"Everybody on the jury said that given the proper circumstances they would
be able to find for the death penalty," Spahr recalled. "Then, right in the
middle of the trial, one of the jurors decided she couldn't do that, and
therefore created a hung jury."
One thing that didn't play a role in jury selection was pre-trial publicity.
"There were enough people form outlying parts of the county who had not
read the paper or not watched television," Spahr says, "that it wasn't that
tough to get a jury."
Spahr says the toughest part of a death penalty case doesn't involve the
trial itself, but what comes after the conviction.
"You go through the trial, the Court of Appeals, the Ohio Supreme Court,
through the federal system all the way to the (U.S.) Supreme Court. Then
there's the post-conviction where someone goes through your file looking
for something that isn't perfectly correct. They've just made it so
discouraging if you have a capital case."
But while there's seemingly been a large number of Ohio executions since
1999, it doesn't match the number of prisoners put to death in Texas and
The Ohio House of Representatives earlier this month approved a bill
allowing a committee to conduct a study of capital punishment, but it isn't
certain whether the State Senate will take up the measure before the
current session ends in December.
Execution sought in police killings
A man accused in the execution-style slaying of two undercover detectives
could get the death penalty under new federal charges.
Ronell Wilson, 21, was indicted along with four other alleged members of a
gang that authorities said staged robberies and dealt crack and sold guns
out of a Staten Island housing project.
Said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly: "Anyone who murders a police
officer should forfeit his life."
During a sting in 2003, detectives James Nemorin, 36, and Rodney Andrews,
34, met with Wilson to buy a Tec-9 submachine from the gang. Wilson learned
they were police officers and shot both in the back of the head,
When questions arose about New York's death penalty, police turned to the
(source: Philadelphia Daily News)
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