[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----PENN., FLA., GA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Jul 24 15:09:07 CDT 2005
Death penalty pursued in biker fatalities
The Fayette County district attorney plans to pursue the death penalty
against a man accused of using his truck to ram a motorcycle, killing his
former girlfriend and the driver.
Edward A. Belch, 44, of McClellandtown, knew he could injure or kill other
people when he chased Terri Lynn Gresko, 44, and Thomas D. Myers on their
motorcycle May 10 in Uniontown, according to court documents filed last
week by Fayette County District Attorney Nancy Vernon.
A witness told police Belch used his truck to chase the couple on a
motorcycle. The witness said after the crash, Belch allegedly stood over
Gresko's body and said, "Terri, I told you I was going to get you."
(source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Killer's death row pals plea
A death row killer of Welsh descent wants pen pals from Wales to help him
prepare for the electric chair.
Roderick Orme - nicknamed the Florida Strangler - is so proud of his
heritage that he has a tattoo of a winged Welsh dragon on his left arm.
Now he wants to get back to his roots by airmail before he meets his
The 43-year-old bald murderer has spent the past 12 years on death row at
the maximum security Union Correctional Institution in Florida.
But last night, the cold-blooded killer said he was "now worthy of
Orme was sentenced to death in 1993 for strangling nurse Lisa Redd while
high on cocaine at a motel in Panama City, Florida.
He denied first degree murder, robbery and sexual battery, but was found
guilty after a jury heard how he subjected Miss Redd to a savage beating
on March 4, 1992. He was snared by DNA evidence.
Orme strangled Miss Redd to death after he called her to his room because
he was having a "bad high" after freebasing cocaine.
But last night, Orme insisted he is a changed man as he launched a bid to
find pen friends from the green green grass of home.
Orme, who will have to choose between the electric chair or lethal
injection, has launched his search through the Canadian Coalition Against
the Death Penalty website.
Speaking from his cell, the 14-stone convict said: "I am 42 years old and
from Welsh descent. I have been on death row for almost 12 years.
"During that time I have gone through many changes. From total shock and
disbelief of where I am to finally understanding and accepting the reality
all things have purpose.
"As a so-called free person, I was a slave to pleasures of the flesh.
Whether it was for booze, drugs or sex.
"Now as a death row prisoner I am totally physically locked down, but find
myself mentally freer than I've ever been.
"As a result, I believe I have become someone worthy of another's
friendship, while I still struggle with my many flaws, one thing I have
come to hold to strongly is a sense of honesty.
"I hope to find a good friend now on the outside."
Last night, prison chiefs at the Union Correctional Institution, said
people still had time to make contact.
A spokeswoman said: "At this time, Orme does not have an active death
warrant and no date of execution has been set."
Lawyers Win New Trial For Mentally Retarded Death Row Client
A New York law firm, working pro bono or for the public good, has won a
new trial for a mentally retarded client now on Georgias death row,
convicted of a double homicide and robbery.
Larry Jenkins of Jackson, Ga., 17, at the time of the alleged 1993 crime,
was convicted of murder, armed robbery and kidnapping and sentenced to
death. His case, which raises important issues regarding the
constitutionality of Georgias treatment of mental retardation as a
mitigating factor in capital sentencing, was referred to the law firm of
Davis, Polk and Wardell by the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project.
For the past 6 years, lawyers from the firm have donated their legal
services on behalf of Jenkins and on Wednesday, prevailed in a habeas
petition before the Georgia Superior Court of Butts County, winning a new
trial for Jenkins.
Attorneys for Davis Polk and attorneys from the Georgia Resource Center
argued that Jenkins Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated because
he received ineffective assigned counsel and that prosecutors had
suppressed exculpatory evidence implicating an individual who was
questioned by police but never indicted.
Supreme Court Judge Anne Workman also found that since Jenkins was a
juvenile in 1993, he should not have been sentenced to death. Juvenile
death sentences were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last March in
Roper v. Simmons.
In Roper, by a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court held that the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments forbid the execution of offenders who were under the
age of 18 when their crimes were committed.
(source: The Empire Journal)
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