[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----VA., ALA., PENN., OHIO, NEV.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Apr 6 20:20:28 CDT 2005
Man accused of killing Pentagon policeman could face death penalty
In Alexandria, a grand jury handed up new charges today that could result
in the death penalty for a man accused of killing a Pentagon police
officer during a car chase.
It's the first line-of-duty death in that police force's 60-year history.
The 5-count indictment against Ossie LaRode now includes charges of
carjacking resulting in death and murder of an officer of the United
States. Both charges are potentially punishable by death.
U-S Attorney Paul McNulty says it will be up to Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales to decide whether to actually seek the death penalty.
Police say LaRode carjacked an elderly man at a restaurant parking lot in
Alexandria in January and led police on a chase that wound its way through
a Pentagon parking lot. Police say Officer James Feltis tried to stop
LaRode when he struck the officer.
Defense attorney Gerald Zerkin would NOT comment on the case.
(source: Associated Press)
Legislature working on changes in Alabama's death penalty law
State senators are working on expanding Alabama's death penalty law to
cover murderers who use illegal assault weapons, and they are trying to
narrow it to exclude minors and the mentally retarded.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9-2 Wednesday for legislation that
would rewrite for legislation that would rewrite Alabama's death penalty
law to cover anyone who killed a person with an assault weapon prohibited
by the federal government.
Many types of murders are already covered by Alabama's death penalty law,
such as a murder that occurs while another crime is being committed and
the murder of a police officer or child. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Rodger
Smitherman, D-Birmingham, said the legislation is aimed at incidents where
a person has fired an assault weapon and killed an innocent bystander.
"They are just blatantly spraying bullets," he said.
Smitherman, who is chairman of the committee, also got the committee to
vote unanimously for a companion bill that would make it a crime,
punishable by up to life in prison, to knowingly furnish a banned assault
weapon to a convicted felon who then used it to commit a crime.
Smitherman's bills originally covered all assault weapons, but after
discussions with the National Rifle Association, he limited them to
assault weapons banned by the federal government.
Smitherman's bill would not affect as many weapons as it would have a year
ago. The federal ban on 19 military-style assault weapons expired in
September, but some foreign-made assault weapons, such as the
Israeli-manufactured Uzi, are still banned under a 1989 federal law.
Miriam Shehane, executive director of Victims of Crime and Leniency, a
victim support group, said she supports Smitherman's legislation.
Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, got the committee to vote unanimously for 2
bills that would bring Alabama's death penalty law in line with the U.S.
Supreme Court's 2002 decision against executing the mentally retarded and
its March decision against executing anyone under 18.
Sanders' legislation does not set a specific IQ as mentally retarded.
Instead, a judge would decide each case.
Sen. Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, questioned whether it was necessary to
pass the bills since the Supreme Court's rulings mean there won't be any
more executions of the mentally retarded or minors in Alabama - no matter
what state law says.
"They are necessary in the same way it's necessary to get the racist
language out of the constitution," Sanders said.
State Attorney General Troy King said his office helped write Sanders'
bill on not executing the mentally retarded, and he hopes the Legislature
passes it. But he is encouraging legislators to hold off on changing
Alabama's law on executing those under 18.
King said he believes the 5-4 decision issued by the Supreme Court last
month is legally flawed and he's hopeful the court will one day reconsider
Sanders' and Smitherman's bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Sanders is also sponsoring other bills to restrict Alabama's death penalty
law, including putting a 3-year moratorium on executions, but the
Judiciary Committee did not act on those bills Wednesday.
(source: Dateline Alabama)
Death penalty possible for Haymes
The man accused of the rape, murder and dismemberment of 15-year-old
Deanna Wright-McIntosh faces the possibility of the death penalty if
Deputy District Attorney John F. X. Reilly cited two aggravating
circumstances to certify the murder a capital crime during a Wednesday,
March 30 arraignment for Lamar Haymes in Delaware County Court House.
Haymes, 29, of the 400 block of Hazel Avenue in Yeadon was shackled at the
waist and clad in a bright orange prison-issue jumpsuit. He smiled and
gave a small wave to 4 female family members seated in the nearly deserted
"You're not guilty," one woman called out in a stage whisper.
Haymes, however, remained silent on advice of counsel, Public Defender
Judge Charles Keeler entered a routine plea of not guilty. There is a gag
order in effect in the case.
Haymes is charged with 3 counts of murder and a lengthy list of related
crimes for allegedly beating the girl to death, then dismembering and
burning her body to cover up the crime, according to testimony from
witnesses at the preliminary hearing in Upper Darby District Court Feb.
One of the women questioned Williams as to why Haymes was not in "street"
clothes for the arraignment. Defendants usually wear street clothing when
they are appearing before a jury but no jury is involved at this point.
A plea of not guilty also was entered for Haymes on a second case in which
he is charged with raping a woman on Dec. 4. He allegedly was accompanied~
by several men when he picked the woman up in North Philadelphia. They
drove to Yeadon Community Park on Union Avenue and the woman and Haymes
allegedly exited the van. He is accused of attacking the woman in a remote
area of the park. She allegedly fled to a Baltimore Avenue restaurant and
called police. The woman allegedly picked Haymes out of a photo array as
her alleged attacker, according to police. She was not present at the
Judge Keeler set May 9 for a pre-trial hearing.
A second defendant in the murder case, Anwaar Malik Gettys of the first
block of Linden Avenue in Lansdowne is being arraigned separately. Police
allege the murder took place in Gettys' home. He is charged with abuse of
a corpse and related offenses for allegedly helping to dispose of
Wright-McIntosh's body on a vacant lot in West Philadelphia.
(source: News of Delaware County)
Northeast Ohio city unfazed by death row relocation
Youngstown, a city that survived organized crime and the loss of its steel
industry, isn't concerned about having the state's worst criminals
contained within its borders.
"We've had a bad reputation with other notoriety. What's the difference?"
said Maria Tsarnas, owner of Our Place diner, located a couple of miles
from the Ohio State Penitentiary where death row will be moved this summer
in a cost-cutting move by the state.
Striking a more optimistic tone, Tsarnas added that death row will provide
job security at the prison.
"I think Youngstown is coming up," she said. "They've improved downtown.
It's slowly getting better."
It's an attitude Mayor George McKelvey is hearing more often in the
northeast Ohio city of 82,000 people.
"People are excited. People are starting to believe," he said.
Youngstown's steel industry collapsed in the late 1970s, and the city has
struggled to make a comeback, battling high unemployment and an image of
mob ties and corrupt public officials like imprisoned ex-congressman Jim
McKelvey said recent progress includes $100 million worth of downtown
construction in the form of a convocation center, new government buildings
and the reopening of a central plaza to vehicle traffic.
He said the city has a long way to go, but death row won't get in the way.
The supermaximum security Ohio State Penitentiary sits hundreds of feet
off a country road on the outskirts of the city - a place visitors
wouldn't find unless they were looking for it.
It's designed for the most dangerous prisoners. Except for an hour a day,
inmates are kept in cells built to prevent them from communicating with
Because the penitentiary already holds the "worst of the worst," McKelvey
doesn't think it can get any worse when death row prisoners are moved in
from the Mansfield Correctional Institution.
"It's a non-issue," he said. "Our community is grateful for its (the
prison's) presence here and the millions of dollars it contributes to our
Youngstown, which is also home to a privately run prison, doesn't have any
plans to turn its prison industry into a tourist attraction, said Greg
Sherlock, vice president of governmental affairs for Youngstown/Warren
Mansfield embraced death row and its prison history by preserving the old
Ohio State Reformatory, which provides tours and has been the location for
several movies including "The Shawshank Redemption."
Mansfield officials have said they're disappointed about losing death row
but don't believe tourism will suffer.
The state will continue to execute condemned killers at the Southern Ohio
Correctional Facility in Lucasville, which could diminish any perceived
link between Youngstown and capital punishment.
Huntsville, Texas, located north of Houston, became synonymous with
executions as home to the nation's most active death row. Like Mansfield,
it used its reputation to attract tourists.
While inmates are still put to death in Huntsville, death row was moved a
few years ago to nearby Livingston, Texas, a town of 5,500 people.
"It had no effect. Not many people knew it," said Livingston Mayor Ben
Ogletree, adding that people don't see who's behind the prison walls.
ON THE NET
Ohio State Penitentiary: http://www.drc.state.oh.us/Public/osp.htm
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber: http://www.regionalchamber.com
(source: Associated Press)
Nevada death row inmate's appeal rejected again
For the 4th time, the Nevada Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of
death row inmate Patrick Cavanaugh, convicted in 1984 of killing a former
"Coasters" singer in Las Vegas.
The high court ruled Tuesday against Cavanaugh, 59, who contends he's
innocent and doesn't deserve the death penalty for the murder of Nathaniel
"Buster" Wilson. After he was shot in 1980, Wilson's arms and legs were
sawed off. His body was found several years later in California.
Prosecutors say Cavanaugh feared that Wilson was going to tell police that
he was involved in a phony check scheme.
In his appeal, Cavanaugh claimed his trial attorney was ineffective in
questioning the jury panel and failed to investigate and present
mitigating evidence during his penalty hearing.
(source: Associated Press)
More information about the DeathPenalty