[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- PENN., USA/VIRG., ALA., USA
j_sommer at gmx.net
Thu Apr 7 13:13:10 CDT 2005
death penalty news
April 7, 2005
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 convicted.
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 four 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 three 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. 15.
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.
Blystone was adamant at death penalty hearing
Transcripts filed 22 years ago in Fayette County court show that a judge
had warned a man during a death penalty hearing about the consequences of
declining testimony his lawyer had arranged in an effort to save his life.
"I don't want anybody brought into it," a then 27-year-old Scott Wayne
Blystone told Judge Fred Adams.
The hearing in 1983 was held to determine whether Blystone should be
sentenced to death or life in prison for the execution-style killing of
hitchhiker Dalton Smithburger Jr. Authorities said Blystone shot
Smithburger six times in the back of the head after robbing him of $13.
Jurors convicted Blystone of first-degree murder.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster, of Pittsburgh, handed
down a 130-page decision that overturned Blystone's death sentence on the
grounds that Fayette County Public Defender Jeff Whiteko failed to develop
or present evidence that may have led jurors to spare his life.
According to the ruling, if a new sentencing hearing is not set for
Blystone within four months, his death sentence will be reduced to life in
prison. Fayette County Court Administrator Karen Kuhn said on Wednesday she
was just learning of the ruling and did not know if a new sentencing
hearing had been scheduled.
Whiteko said he has trouble understanding Lancaster's reasoning.
"They have alleged ineffective assistance for 22 years," he said. "And all
the sudden now they got it?"
He said he remembers developing an argument based on the testimony of
Blystone's parents and an official from Mayview State Hospital, who would
explain results of Blystone's mental examinations.
Whiteko said Blystone had an IQ of between 145 and 165, but was haunted by
feelings of inadequacy. IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, is a measurement of
mental ability. Almost 70 percent of the population falls between scores of
85 and 115. Blystone's score would be considered genius-level.
Records of the 1983 death penalty hearing show that Blystone did not allow
Whiteko to present any testimony despite Whiteko's persistence.
"After lengthy discussions with Mr. Blystone and over my strenuous
objection, he states that he wishes to offer no evidence," Whiteko told
Adams. "I have talked to his parents and interviewed them on several
occasions, and I wish to put them on the stand and I wish to put Mr.
Blystone on the stand, but after trying for two hours there has been no
Whiteko had been on the job for only months at the time of the trial. He
has since moved up the ranks to be the county's chief public defender.
Whiteko was attempting to present what the court calls mitigating evidence,
factors that would help influence jurors to let Blystone live. During a
death penalty hearing, guilt has been determined. A jury's job is to rule
on whether enough factors weigh against a defendant to warrant a death
Then-District Attorney Gerald Solomon argued only one aggravating factor,
that the killing was carried out in the commission of a felony -- robbery.
With no mitigating factors to weigh against it, that one aggravating factor
was what the jury used to send Blystone to death row.
"If you do not present any testimony, then your attorney would have to rely
entirely upon the evidence (from trial)," Adams told Blystone.
Though Adams explained that Blystone had a right not to present testimony
or to testify himself, the judge also explained that it might not be a wise
"I would strongly ask you to consider your failure to offer any testimony,"
Adams said. "The court is giving you the opportunity to present whatever
evidence you wish in mitigation of the sentence."
Adams asked Blystone directly several times whether he wanted to testify or
to present testimony, telling him to consult with Whiteko before answering.
Blystone answered "no" each time, specifying later in the hearing that he
did not want anyone to become involved.
"Let the record indicate ... (Blystone) is an intelligent man who
understands what I have explained to him," Adams said.
Blystone, now 48, is imprisoned at the State Correctional Institution in
Greene County. Before the recent ruling, his death warrant had been signed
(source: PittsburghLive.com Tribune-Review)
USA / VIRGINIA --- federal death penalty possible :
Man accused of killing Pentagon policeman could face death penalty
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
It's the first line-of-duty death in that police force's 60-year
history.The five-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.
Killer of Myrtle Beach officer gets death penalty
A plea to keep him off death row for his 3-year-old daughter's sake wasn't
enough to convince a jury to spare the life of a man who admitted killing a
Myrtle Beach police officer more than two years ago.
Horry County jurors deliberated about two hours Wednesday before sentencing
Luzenski Allen Cottrell to death for shooting officer Joe McGarry in the
head during a chance encounter.
McGarry was killed outside a Dunkin' Donuts on Dec. 29, 2002 after checking
to see if Cottrell had resolved some tickets McGarry had written weeks
earlier for drug offenses.
A fellow officer who was meeting McGarry to talk about his upcoming wedding
said Cottrell pulled out a gun and started shooting without warning,
leading to a gunfight in the parking lot that threatened the other officer
and store customers.
Speaking before his lawyer's closing argument, Cottrell admitted killing
the officer, but asked jurors to spare his life because he has a young
daughter. As the verdict was read, Cottrell showed little emotion and left
the courtroom barely acknowledging his family.
Cottrell's lawyer said the trial might have ended differently if a judge
had not allowed testimony in the penalty phase about two other 2002
killings his client has been charged with but has not been tried.
"I never had a case where untried crimes of this severity were put before a
jury," said attorney William Nettles, who plans to appeal.
Prosecutor Greg Hembree successfully argued the two other murder charges
would help jurors understand Cottrell's character.
"He's just got a thirst for killing and he kills for no good reason,"
McGarry was the third officer in Horry County gunned down between 2000 and
2002. Two of the killers have gotten the death penalty, while the other was
sentenced to life in prison.
"If you kill and officer in Horry County you will face a death sentence and
likely will get it," Hembree said.
(source: AP / The Sun News)
USA --- book review:
Ex-lawyer takes on capital punishment with 'Conviction'
Conviction, By Richard North Patterson, Random House, 465 pp., $25.95
Trying to prove that a death-row inmate had nothing to do with the crime
for which he or she was convicted is one of the most difficult, convoluted
processes in law, all the more frustrating because even if the prisoner is
finally proved innocent, he or she may still be subject to the death penalty.
While this 13th novel by Richard North Patterson, a former trial lawyer, is
fiction, it is obvious that the author has studied and borrowed from many
true and similar cases. If you can stay with all of the prosecutors, the
multiple appeals, the habeas corpus petitions, the lawyers both bad and
good, the state and federal laws and courts, the petitions and rulings,
you'll be in for a wild ride, and if you have an opinion on capital
punishment one way or the other, prepare to have it shaken to its roots.
Rennell Price, a black man living in the poor Bayview district of San
Francisco, and his brother Payton have been tried and convicted of a
horrific sex crime against a 9-year-old Cambodian immigrant girl, whose
body had been found floating in the bay.
Fifteen years later, close to the time when Rennell is to be put to death
by the State of California, Terri Paget, a lawyer representing death-row
inmates, steps in to take on the case on a pro bono basis. As she gathers
his former lawyers, the police, judges, former wives, and
neuropsychiatrists, and meets week after week with Rennell in his San
Quentin cell, we begin to question his guilt with her.
Rennell's seeming indifference to the death of Thuy Sen, for example, turns
out to be related to the fact that he is severely retarded, and the
reconstruction of his nightmare childhood shows that he simply has to hide
all emotions to protect himself.
How bad can a childhood be? Start with fetal alcohol syndrome from a
drinking pregnant mother who is beaten by her husband, and continue with
physical abuse from the father.
The construction of Rennell's social history is particularly vivid, and the
speech of the Bayview streets is as real as anything the reader can take.
(''Weren't no Disneyland," Payton says, describing the brothers'
childhood.) As for the legal terminology, of which there is plenty, only a
lawyer could write this story with the detail Patterson injects into it.
By the end of the book, we are convinced that a series of mistakes by
incompetent lawyers, uncaring prosecutors, and biased witnesses has put an
innocent and needy man on death row, but we find that, unbelievably, the
complex set of laws regarding capital punishment may still not prevent him
from being put to death.
Terri becomes personally consumed by the case, and so does the reader,
because the detailed descriptions of the legal processes involved are
interspersed with the intense drama of the crime. Patterson's only flaw is
his attempt to put even more drama into the story by having Terri's
daughter be the victim of a previous crime eerily similar to the one
supposedly committed by Rennell.
Not only is it a gratuitious attempt to keep the reader interested amid the
legalese, it's the only part of the novel that does not ring true.
(source: Boston Globe)
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