[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----FLA., MISS., ILL., TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Sep 12 14:53:42 CDT 2004
Jurors allow Evans to live
Jurors spared Coy J. Evans' life Friday night.
And that decision may have hinged partly on a talk between Evans and his
son about the birds and the bees.
After deliberating 1 hours, jurors recommended a sentence of life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole, instead of the death
On Wednesday, they had convicted him of 1st-degree murder and other
charges in connection with the shooting death of Tallahassee Police
Department Sgt. Dale Green in November 2002. The 13-year TPD veteran had
arrived to help 2 women who reported a home-invasion robbery of their
Melody Circle duplex.
In a surprise move after the jury left the courtroom, the 34-year-old
Evans stood up and turned toward Deb Green, the sergeant's widow.
"I'm sorry," he said, in a voice that could barely be heard. "I feel grief
every day." Green, stone-faced, looked directly at Evans but did not
While it is not binding on him, Circuit Judge Tom Bateman must give the
recommendation "great weight and deference," according to state law. He
set a formal sentencing hearing for Oct. 4.
Evans' mother, Melanie Campbell Evans, and his sisters sat in the front
row crying and holding each other. They said nothing as they left the
courtroom; one defense attorney grabbed the mother's hand and pulled her
past a waiting news camera.
Evans' lead attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ines Suber, declined to be
State Attorney Willie Meggs, who had sought a death sentence, said he was
disappointed. "But that's our system, and we have to accept the jury's
decision," he added.
Family members pleaded for Evans' life Friday and experts continued to
explain his struggle with cocaine addiction and learning disabilities.
But what may have swayed jurors were tape-recorded phone conversations
Evans had with his two sons while he was awaiting trial in the Leon County
Jail. All inmates are on notice that phone calls other than to attorneys
may be monitored or taped for security reasons.
Suber first called Angela Brown, the boys' mother, to the stand. Brown is
now married to someone else, but Evans is still close to the boys, she
"They told me they did not want their father to die," Brown said, sobbing.
In one of the talks, Evans was telling his 13-year-old son that he could
like girls but was too young for sex.
"There's touching, but it's more than just that," he said. "You need to be
confident with yourself."
In another, Evans asked about his 11-year-old son's grades and how he was
doing in sports. Some jurors held their heads in both hands as they
The jury's foreman did not return a call late Friday.
"It's almost like he was a monster," Suber told the jurors, mentioning
previous testimony about how Evans shot and killed Green during the
She decided "only by knowing him ... would you be able to decide whether
you want that human being to be killed by the state."
Evans, on trial since Aug. 30, was convicted of murder, burglary, armed
kidnapping, armed robbery, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement in
Green's shooting death Nov. 13, 2002.
Evidence showed every bullet in Evans' 6-shot .357-caliber revolver was
fired in about 2 seconds. One bullet grazed Green's uniform sleeve, and
the other 5 struck his body, including a fatal shot to the back of the
(source: Tallahassee Democrat)
MISSISSIPPI----16-year-old may face death penalty
Charge against teen upgraded to capital murder
The charges against an Ethel teenager accused in the death of a
handicapped Kosciusko woman were upgraded to capital murder after a grand
jury found evidence that she had also been sexually assaulted.
Justin Haynes, 16, will face the death penalty or life in prison with no
chance of parole if convicted of killing Janette Nowell -- a 59-year-old,
wheelchair-bound multiple sclerosis victim -- in her Huntington Street
home on Feb. 9.
In Wednesday morning's arraignment, District Attorney Doug Evans said that
Haynes is being charged with capital murder, sexual battery and 1st-degree
arson. He had also been charged with burglary of a dwelling by the
Kosciusko Police Department.
Circuit Judge Clarence Morgan III set the trial date for Jan. 31.
Attorneys on both sides said they expect the trial to last a week.
Capital murder means that another felony was committed during the
commission of a murder. Prosecutors had waited for evidence from the crime
lab before upgrading the charge.
Attorney Andre DeGruy, who is with the Office of Capital Defense in
Jackson, is expected to file a motion for change of venue and seek a
mental evaluation for Haynes. Morgan said those motions would be due
before Oct. 1 and he would rule on the venue motion within a week.
According to police and court reports, Haynes stabbed Nowell and set her
house on fire. The official cause of death was smoke inhalation, according
to the coroner's report.
The latest charge said that Haynes engaged in "sexual penetration without
DeGruy told Morgan that Haynes has a "long psychiatric history" and has
been "in 2 hospitals" for mental problems.
8 more plea agreements were reached Tuesday during a busy day for Circuit
Court, which included nearly 30 new cases for the grand jury and
preparation for a murder trial that was scheduled to start this week.
Antonio "Powell" Washington is charged with murder in the shooting death
of Antonio Riley at a Kosciusko convenience store in March 2003. Jackson
attorney Chokwe Lumumba will defend Washington in the case, which was set
to start today (Thursday) under Morgan.
Orlando Jenkins and Devon "Sonny" Winters pleaded not guilty to murder in
the July 2003 shooting death of Andrea Porter in McCool. Their case is
expected to be heard during the September term of court.
Last week, seven plea arrangements were reached, with defendants pleading
to lesser charges in exchange for lighter sentences.
(source: The Star-Herald, Sept. 8)
Court upholds conviction of former death row inmate
A Chicago man who beat and starved his disabled stepdaughter to death --
then saw his death sentence commuted by Gov. George Ryan --will remain in
prison, after the Illinois Court of Appeals denied his claim that he was
John Hester insisted he was not mentally fit to stand trial for the 1998
death, but the court ruled Friday in support of the guilty verdict
delivered by Cook County Judge Colleen McSweeney-Moore.
Hester and his former wife, Peggy Anderson, were charged with murder after
Anderson's 22-year-old daughter, Orachanee, was found dead, suffering from
blunt-force trauma and malnutrition.
Orachanee, who suffered from psycho-social dwarfism, couldn't speak and
was blind, weighed only 85 pounds when she died and had so many broken
bones investigators couldn't determine her exact height. She had more than
177 injuries, investigators said, and spent most of her life hogtied and
locked in a closet. Her mouth was routinely taped and she was whipped
daily with extension cords and belts.
Other children in the family testified to the beatings, saying they often
fled the family's West Side home in the 3300 block of West Potomac, which
one called "the hell hole," adding they often saw Orachanee beaten for
dropping food and not controlling her bodily functions.
The day she was killed, Orachanee was beaten because she spilled Kool-Aid
in the kitchen, they said.
Judge McSweeney-Moore called it "the worst case of abuse and torture" she
had ever seen and sentenced Hester to death.
But as part of a sweeping reform movement, Ryan commuted the sentences of
all death row inmates to life in prison, including Hester.
That move also allowed Hester to appeal, but the judges ruled he was not
wrongfully convicted, meaning he will spend the rest of his life in
In July, Peggy Anderson, 49, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to
20 years in prison.
(source: Chicago Sun-Times)
2 charged in slaying of man
2 men confessed to the shooting death of a 45-year-old father of eight who
may have been targeted for his car tire rims, police said. Stephen
Lawrence Lastrape, 23, and Chase Garnett, 20, are charged with capital
murder in the Sept. 2 slaying of Willie Lee Smith, of Missouri City, who
was driving home when he was shot in the 12400 block of South Post Oak,
(source: Houston Chronicle)
Reno man indicted for capital murder
Christopher Lee Cobb, 21, stands indicted by a Lamar County grand jury for
capital murder in the Aug. 29 death of his great-grandfather, who was
stabbed repeatedly with a kitchen knife and shot twice in the face with
his own gun.
The bodies of Charley Smith, 89, and his wife, Ruth Smith, 88, were found
the next morning in their residence at 3735 Smallwood Road in Reno by a
caregiver. Smith's body was found in a pool of blood in the living room
and his wife's body was found in a pool of blood in a bedroom.
The indictment was one of 25 handed up Thursday.
Cobb gave a videotaped statement to Texas Ranger Roger Lough and Paris
police Sgt. Jeff Springer on the night of Aug. 30 in which he admitted
taking Smith's wallet from his overalls. He estimated there was between
$3,000 and $4,000 in cash inside.
Committing a murder in which robbery also occurred elevates the crime to
The Dallas County medical examiner's office confirmed Charley Smith was
stabbed repeatedly in the neck and shot twice in the face and Ruth Smith
was shot once in the head.
Reno Police Chief Jess Wilson assumed control of the investigation after
it was determined the crime occurred in Reno. Wilson said the elderly
couple was killed the evening of Aug. 29.
Paris Police Chief Karl Louis said that during the course of the
investigation of the crime scene, he talked to Cobb, who lived next door.
"He seemed to be uninterested and didn't show any emotion," Louis said.
Investigators checked with the pawn shop detail and discovered that Cobb
had pawned jewelry valued at more than $1,500. The jewelry was identified
as items belonging to his parents, who had not given permission for their
son to take the items, police said.
A relative told police that the accused was known to steal from members of
the family to buy drugs.
Cobb consented to a search of his room, and police found marijuana, a
blood-stained towel, a blood-stained sheet and a blood-stained bedspread.
He told police he burned his clothes in a barrel behind his residence.
Paris attorney James R. Rodgers was appointed to represent Cobb, who
listed his income at $300 a month in Social Security benefits and his
expenses as $250 a month in child support. Cobb is divorced.
(source: Paris News)
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