death penalty news---TEXAS, TENN., FLA., IND., WIS., OKLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Feb 17 00:25:36 CST 2005
Man who killed 4, including his mother, ready to die
A man blamed for the 1995 killing of 4 people -- including his mother --
faces execution tomorrow in Huntsville.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles this week rejected a clemency
petition for 41-year-old Dennis Wayne Bagwell.
Other appeals are pending.
Bagwell's girlfriend testified at trial that the two had smoked crack
cocaine, then drove to his mother's place so he could borrow some money.
Bagwell apparently became enraged when his mom only gave him 20 dollars.
The victims were beaten. One was shot. 2 were strangled.
The bodies were discovered in a mobile home near Stockdale, about 35 miles
southeast of San Antonio.
Bagwell would be the 3rd condemned killer to have his punishment carried
out this year in Texas.
Bagwell today said his hope is: "Hurry up and go through" and he's ready
to get it over with.
The victims were:
-- Bagwell's 47-year-old mother, Leona McBee
-- her 24-year-old niece, Libby Best
-- Best's four-year-old daughter, Reba
-- and 14-year-old Tassy Boone, who was the granddaughter of McBee's
common-law husband, Ron Boone.
(source: KLTV News)
Amnesty to host death penalty awareness days
UD's chapter of Amnesty International is hosting death penalty awareness
days today and tomorrow, Mary Jo Hartmann, president of Amnesty
International's UD chapter, said.
The group will have an information booth on the death penalty in Haggar
foyer today from noon to 2 p.m. This evening, the movie Dead Man Walking
will be shown in Gorman Faculty Lounge at 7 p.m.
A question and answer session with Dr. John Norris, associate theology
professor and faculty advisor for the group, will follow the movie.
Amnesty International will have a booth tomorrow for students to write
letters to their congressmen, sign petitions requesting the abolition of
the death penalty and petitions requesting a moratorium on the death
penalty in the state of Texas, Hartmann said.
A moratorium would result in a temporary suspension of death penalties
until a review of cases for all the inmates on death row has taken place.
According to Model Moratorium Resolution of Texas, a moratorium would last
until the state ensures that death penalty cases are administered in
accordance with basic due process, "eliminate the risk that innocent
persons may be executed, and prevent the execution of mentally disabled
persons and persons under the age of 18 at the time of their offenses,"
Hartmann said the UD chapter developed the death penalty awareness days
because the death penalty seemed to generate the most interest from
students last semester.
"When we addressed a variety of topics at letter writing campaigns last
semester, death penalty was the most heavily discussed among students. It
was more controversial than other campaigns," she said.
Another reason for focusing on death penalty is, unlike some of the other
human rights' issues, the death penalty is enforced here in the United
States, Hartmann said.
"It's a local, and very regional issue, because the United States is the
only the western nation that has the death penalty," she said.
Letter writing campaigns are a crucial aspect of Amnesty International's
work, Hartmann said.
"Fr. Ly was freed and other prisoners of conscience [were released in
Vietnam] because of international pressure caused by letter writing
campaigns from international aid organizations," she said.
(source: University of Dallas)
Man whose father was executed avoid death sentence with murder plea
A Warren County man whose father was executed for murder in 1959 has
avoided the same fate by pleading guilty to murder.
52-year-old Jimmy Lee Rutledge acknowledged in court that he killed Ricky
King, who was shot several times in the head and stuffed in a car trunk in
The slaying was unsolved for 11 years until Rutledge's girlfriend came
forward in 2004 to tell authorities about his actions.
Rutledge has been in prison on federal weapons charges for most of the
time since King's slaying.
Rutledge's father, Thomas Rutledge, died in the electric chair for killing
a teenage girl.
Jimmy Lee Rutledge was 6 years old at the time of his father's execution.
(source: Associated Press)
Mother Says Man Should Die For Shaking Her Baby To Death
A mother went off in a Brevard County courtroom and told a judge that the
man who shook her baby to death should die for his crimes. A judge must
decide whether Sherman Dorsey should get a life sentence or be sent to
death row and, when the mother of the baby took the stand Wednesday, she
made it perfectly clear what she wanted.
"They ask me why he did it and, to be honest, I think Sherman should be
the one to tell my kids why he did that to my baby. She didn't deserve
that. And you are nasty. And you are evil and I hope you rot in hell. I
hope you rot in hell and I don't care who don't like it. You're kids are
living and I will never be able to see my baby again," Sheila Darien said
in court Wednesday.
It was the culmination of 4 years of grief and, as Darien marched out of
the courtroom, you could hear her shout the sentence she wants for the man
convicted of killing her infant daughter, death.
With a parade of family members, prosecutors tried to show the impact the
murder of the 4-month-old baby has had, despite her short life, all of
them asking for death.
Dorsey's attorneys downplayed his lengthy criminal history, bringing in a
psychologist who said Dorsey has not displayed any potential for a pattern
of violence. Family members also said they still trust him.
The judge alone must decide if Dorsey should live or die, weighing the law
with a mother's pain.
"We was getting in the cars, and I told my daughters to buckle their seat
belt and, I recall my daughter saying, 'Samari, put on your seatbelt,' and
my other daughter was like, 'Samari's not here,' and I had to tell her
Samari's with us everywhere we go, she's always with us," Darien said.
The penalty phase continues Thursday. Defense attorneys will not say if
Dorsey himself will take the stand. A decision from the judge is not
expected for about a month.
(source: WFTV News)
Death penalty decision due Thursday
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi will announce his decision on whether
to pursue the death penalty against 2 siblings accused in a triple
homicide on Thursday morning.
Kenneth L. Allen, 29, and Kari Allen, 18, were charged last week with
multiple murder, conspiracy and robbery charges.
They are accused of killing their mother, Sharon Allen, and their
grandparents Leander and Betty Bradley.
The bodies were buried in concrete in the basement of the Bradleys'
Indianapolis home. Authorities learned of the homicides after the pair
were stopped on a Missouri highway Feb. 8 en route to Las Vegas in what
was described as a plot to rob nearly $200,000 from the Bradleys' bank
Prosecutors would not reveal their decision in advance. Kenneth Allen has
admitted his guilt and asked that his sister be spared.
(source: Indianapolis Star)
No R.I.P. for death penalty
Wisconsin voters would have their say in advisory referendum about whether
the state should lift its 151-year-old ban on the death penalty, under a
resolution introduced Tuesday by Senate President Alan Lasee, R-DePere.
But one of the staunchest supporters of similar past proposals is
wondering if reviving the death penalty now is such a good idea.
Should Wisconsin lift its ban on the death penalty, which has been illegal
here since July 10, 1853?
The resolution calls for a statewide referendum to ask voters if they
support government putting to death "a person who is convicted of multiple
first-degree intentional homicides, if the homicides are vicious and the
convictions are supported by DNA evidence."
Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, said he supports Lasee's resolution, and he
still believes he believes in the death penalty in some extraordinary
cases. But he's "no longer evangelical about it," Zien said.
Zien, who heads the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections and
Privacy, said Lasee's resolution will get a public hearing. But Zien would
have to be convinced the resolution could pass the full Senate before he'd
hold a committee vote, Zien said. Even if the question passed a
referendum, Zien said he doesn't think the Legislature would ultimately
Zien said his zeal for the death penalty is waning after DNA evidence
helped overturn some recent convictions, including that of Wisconsin's
Steven Avery. Avery spent 18 years in prison after being wrongfully
convicted of sexual assault. 4 other Wisconsin convictions have been
overturned, based on DNA evidence, Zien said.
"I'm not soft on the death penalty, I'm just more conscientious," Zien
Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Berlin, also used to be a death penalty proponent. He
said that 10 years ago, he thought capital punishment was appropriate for
crimes against police officers, premeditated murders and other serious
crimes. Now, he has reversed his opinion.
"Now that I've spent more time in the court system, I realize (the system)
is too imperfect to allow capital punishment," Olsen said. "And once you
make a mistake, there's nothing you can do."
Regardless of his personal feelings, Olsen said the question should be put
to the people to decide. If a large majority of Wisconsin residents
support capital punishment : which he does not foresee : Olsen said the
Legislature will "have to take a serious look at it."
Lasee, who has repeatedly introduced bills to lift the death-penalty ban
since 1985, said 19 legislators have agreed to co-sponsor the resolution.
The difference this time around is that Lasee's resolution is the 1st
proposal that would require some type of DNA evidence.
"There are legislators who are on the fence on this subject, and I think
it would be helpful if they knew how their own constituencies felt. I
think it would pass in significant numbers - 2/3," Lasee said.
Lasee said the death penalty is appropriate punishment for vicious crimes
and would help bring closure to victims' families.
Lasee's proposal may be more palatable with some people because it would
be applied only to multiple murders and would require DNA evidence, but
that doesn't answer the moral question raised by the death penalty, said
Larry Dupuis, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union
"Do we want Wisconsin to join backward regimes around the world that have
the death penalty, or do we want to remain a progressive state?" Dupuis
Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, sees the push towards capital punishment as
part of a bigger conservative agenda.
"I think we have an extremist set of people in public office pushing an
extremist agenda in Wisconsin," he said. "It's really gotten out of hand."
An "eye-for-an-eye" approach to homicide punishment doesn't make sense
with the potential risks of wrongful conviction, said Miller. He points to
the recent exoneration of Avery.
"Our criminal justice system is just not good enough for us to violate the
sanctity of life," he said.
Miller also said the death penalty is too pricey, no matter what the crime
"Executing someone is an extraordinarily expensive ordeal," he said,
citing the lengthy appeals process. "It's actually less costly to keep
someone in prison for life."
The death penalty was legal under the laws of the Wisconsin Territory,
which were drafted in 1839, according to research compiled by the state
Legislative Reference Bureau.
The state Constitution contains no mention of the death penalty, but
territorial laws were included in statutes when Wisconsin became a state
in 1848. In all, 4 people hanged to death under Wisconsin state or
territorial law. The most recent execution in Wisconsin - Nov. 13, 1868 -
was ordered under terms of tribal law, according to the Reference Bureau.
Between 1937 and 1995, legislators proposed 44 failed bills or resolution
that would have re-instated the death penalty.
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who is co-sponsoring Lasee's resolution,
said he only supports it because it has a DNA component. The state also
may want to consider adjusting the current judicial process to handle
capital punishment cases, Fitzgerald said. Some other states now use
different trials to determine guilt and whether or not the death penalty
should be applied, Fitzgerald said.
(source: Daily Register)
OKLAHOMA----federal death penalty to be sought
Death Penalty Sought In Kenneth Barrett Case
Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that they will seek the death
penalty against a Sequoyah County man already serving a 30-year-prison
term for killing an Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) trooper in 1999.
The notices were filed at the U.S. Eastern District Courthouse in Muskogee
and allege that Kenneth Eugene Barrett deserves the death penalty for
shooting OHP Trooper David "Rocky" Eales during a September 1999 drug raid
at Barrett's home just off Dwight Mission Road northwest of Sallisaw.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales authorized the U.S. Attorney for
the Eastern District of Oklahoma to seek the death penalty against Barrett
Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling said.
The filings allege that Barrett intentionally killed Eales and will be a
danger in the future.
Federal prosecutors were given permission to seek the death penalty under
special rules for capital punishment cases that already have been tried in
other court systems.
Barrett, 43, was convicted last year in Sequoyah County District Court of
first-degree manslaughter and assault in Eales' death and the wounding of
fellow Trooper John Hamilton. Barrett is serving a 20-year prison sentence
for the manslaughter charge and a 10-year sentence for the assault charge,
to run consecutively.
State prosecutors had tried to get a first-degree murder conviction and
death penalty during that trial. Barrett's attorney will again be John
Echols of Tulsa, who represented Barrett during his first 2 state trials,
the first of which deadlocked at 11 to 1 for a 1st-degree murder
conviction. Barrett's attorneys have said Barrett has already received his
day in court and punishment for the shooting death of Eales.
Sperling has said that Barrett can be tried again because the 2
prosecutions involved 2 different jurisdictions.
Barrett was indicted by a federal grand jury late last year. Echols will
likely contest the move to seek the death penalty. Echols has compared the
federal charges to "double jeopardy," which means to try someone for the
same crime for which they have already been convicted or acquitted.
(source: Sequoyah County Times)
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