[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----TEXAS, MD., CONN., ORE.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Mar 8 23:03:04 CST 2005
Convicted hit man put to death for role in Dallas case murder case
An apologetic former auto insurance appraiser who authorities said
collected $1,500 to kill a Dallas-area physician's wife more than 2
decades ago was executed Tuesday evening.
Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, George Anderson Hopper
turned toward four members of his victim's family, including the son who
discovered his mother's body, and said he was sorry.
"I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. The things I did changed so
many lives. I can't take it back. It was an atrocity. I am sorry. I beg
your forgiveness. I know I am not worthy of it," he said, his voice
breaking with emotion.
Then he turned his head toward a second window, where his parents were
among those watching. He told them he loved them and thanked them "for
Hopper, 49, said a brief prayer, which his mother repeated with him. He
gasped a couple of times as the lethal drugs took effect. 8 minutes later
at 6:22 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
Hopper was condemned for being the hit man in a complicated scheme
initiated by a woman bitter because her soon-to-be ex-husband was dating
the murder victim.
Rozanne Gailiunas, 33, was killed in the October 1983 attack at her home
in the Dallas suburb of Richardson.
She had been raped, choked with pantyhose, shot twice in the head, had
tissue jammed down her throat and was tied naked to a 4-poster bed. Her
then 4-year-old son found her unconscious. She died 2 days later.
It was years, however, before police could unravel the case, which became
one of the most intricate and complex ever in Dallas County and took
authorities to Canada, Mexico and Europe.
"Our family is certainly looking forward to closing this chapter," said
Peter Gailiunas, whose wife was killed.
Gailiunas was there but did not witness the execution with his son, now
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop the punishment. In late appeals,
Hopper's lawyers had argued his confession was obtained improperly because
detectives continued questioning him after he asked to be returned to his
jail cell to think about what he wanted to do. Attorneys also contended
Hopper, known to friends as "Andy," had poor legal help in the early
portions of his case.
Hopper was one of about a half-dozen people convicted of charges related
to the scheme authorities said was hatched by Dallas socialite Joy Aylor,
who fled the country just before her own murder trial. She was arrested in
France years later and eventually was returned to Texas where she was
convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Hopper had posed as a flower delivery man to get into his victim's house.
"It was just such a cunning murder plan," said Dan Hagood, who prosecuted
both Hopper and Aylor.
He described Hopper as "a fellow who looks like the boy next door, ... one
of those you wouldn't have a sense of danger."
Hopper had no previous prison record but had been arrested in 1976 in
Houston for indecent exposure and in 1984 for theft related to a
pickpocket incident at a Richardson shopping mall. When initially
questioned by police about the Gailiunas slaying, he fled and eluded
detectives for 6 months.
Prosecutors said Aylor wanted Rozanne Gailiunas dead because the former
Richardson nurse was dating and planned to marry Aylor's estranged
husband. Gailiunas and her husband were separated, as were Aylor and her
husband, a Dallas home builder.
Joy Aylor fled to Canada with $200,000 and a new lover, a Dallas attorney,
on the eve of her 1990 murder trial. After the lawyer was arrested in
remote western Canada on a drug charge, Aylor disappeared to France.
For 2 years she assumed a false identity as Elizabeth Sharp, living in a
villa outside Nice. She was exposed after a rental car she was driving was
involved in a minor traffic accident.
As part of their agreement with French authorities to return her to Texas,
prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty in her case.
Authorities said Aylor had contacted her brother-in-law, a pest control
contractor, and put up $5,000 to arrange the slaying. He contacted an auto
mechanic who hired Hopper. The men all got a piece of the money. Aylor's
sister, the pest control contractor's wife, helped police by recording
conversations implicating Aylor in the plot.
Hopper becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Texas, and the 340th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
December 7, 1982. Hopper becomes the 101st condemned inmate to be put to
death in Texas since Rick Perry became Governor in 2001.
Hopper becomes the 8th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 952nd overall since America resumed executions on January
2 more executions are set for Texas over the next 2 weeks.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Death sentence to be sought for killing aboard prison bus----Murderer said
to strangle fellow inmate with chains
The Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office will seek the death penalty
in the case of a twice-convicted killer charged with strangling a fellow
inmate on a prison bus as it traveled from Hagerstown to Baltimore last
Kevin G. Johns Jr., 22, was indicted yesterday by a Baltimore County grand
jury on a single count of first-degree murder in the death of Philip E.
Parker Jr., 20, on Feb. 2, the state's attorney's office announced.
Stephen Bailey, the deputy state's attorney, said last night that the
office would seek "a sentence of death."
Parker and Johns were among 35 shackled inmates and five officers on a
prison bus that left a Hagerstown prison early Feb. 2, bound for the
Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center - known as Supermax - in
Parker had been serving a 3 1/2 -year sentence for unarmed robbery.
In letters to his family, an inmate witness reported that a 2nd inmate
helped hold down Parker while another man choked him with his restraint
But S. Ann Brobst, an assistant state's attorney handling the case, said
there was not "sufficient evidence to indicate anybody else was involved."
Three are fired
As a result of Parker's death, the Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services, which oversees the Division of Correction, fired
three officers and disciplined 2 others.
DOC officials said they had conducted a review of inmate transportation
policies and procedures and had made several changes.
Based on the division's own transportation policies, which The Sun
obtained, Johns should have been identified as a threat and kept apart
from other inmates in a segregated cage at the front of the bus.
But prison officials essentially blamed the officers for not doing their
In their search for answers to their son's death, Parker's parents and
their attorney met with prosecutors yesterday at the county state's
Their attorney, Michael A. Mastracci, said that prosecutors were "very
sympathetic and supportive" over the loss of their son, but he declined to
comment on the substance of the meeting.
The Parker homicide ended up in the hands of Baltimore County prosecutors
because prison investigators determined that he was likely killed during
the period that the bus drove through the county.
Attorneys for Johns, who has been represented by public defenders, could
not be reached for comment late yesterday.
The day before Parker was killed, he and other inmates had been taken to
Hagerstown to testify at a hearing for Johns, who was being sentenced for
killing his 16-year-old cellmate. Parker and others testified that Johns
needed psychiatric treatment.
At the hearing, Johns vowed that he would kill again in prison if given
the chance; he ultimately received a life sentence for killing his
cellmate. In 2003, he had been sentenced to 35 years for killing his
Almost immediately after Parker's death, Johns emerged as the main
suspect, according to a statement from the Department of Public Safety
One of the fired officers, Robert R. Scott, said in an interview that he
saw Johns move from his seat during the bus trip to Parker. He said he
reported the activity to officers at the front of the bus. They turned on
interior lights, but several were broken, affording only dim lighting,
Scott's termination notice said that from his position in the rear cage of
the bus, he was "at most, 6-7 feet" from where Parker was assaulted.
When the bus arrived at Supermax, officers called inmates off the bus by
name. Johns emerged with a bloody shirt, and the officers held him aside,
according to Scott's termination notice.
"When Parker failed to appear, Scott boarded the bus and went to the rear,
where he found Parker, apparently unconscious and slumped between" two
rows of seats, the notice states.
Officers removed Parker from the bus and paramedics were called, but
Parker was pronounced dead at the scene, the notice said.
Ed Rothstein, a board member with the Maryland Association of Correctional
and Security Employees, said that officers on the bus were not told of
Johns' threats in court and violent history. If they had been told, he
said, Johns could have been segregated from the other prisoners.
"It's really sad that the Department of Public Safety won't take
responsibility for what's happened here," Rothstein said.
(source: Baltimore Sun)
Death penalty opponents optimistic about committee vote
Anti-death penalty opponents are optimistic that a bill abolishing
Connecticut's capital punishment law could clear a legislative committee
for the first time on Wednesday.
A combination of new faces in this year's General Assembly and frustration
over long delays in serial killer Michael Ross' scheduled execution is
raising prospects for the bill, which would commute the death sentences of
those on death row to life in prison.
"My spirits are certainly buoyed," said Kim Harrison, a lobbyist for the
Connecticut Church of Christ since 1988. "We've never been able to get an
abolition bill anywhere."
But even if the Judiciary Committee passes the bill, proponents said they
still don't have enough votes in the full legislature to pass an abolition
bill by a super-majority.
Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell has said she will veto any bill that would
end Connecticut's capital punishment law. To override a gubernatorial
veto, legislators would need a 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate.
"The opponents of the death penalty know that for this sea change to take
place in Connecticut, they would have to override a gubernatorial veto,"
said Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, the ranking Republican senator on the
Judiciary Committee. "Certainly I don't think anybody expects that to
The committee is scheduled to vote at 10 a.m. Despite the uphill battle in
the full House and Senate, Harrison said Wednesday's vote could be an
important step forward for execution opponents.
"The Judiciary Committee ... I think is a bellwether in terms of what the
mood is in terms of the legislature and the rest of the state," Harrison
Kissel supports the death penalty. While he believes there is a good
chance the abolition bill will pass in the committee, he said that has
more to do with the new political makeup of the panel rather than a shift
in attitudes among most lawmakers.
He said committee was known to be moderate to conservative. This year,
however, the makeup is more liberal, Kissel said.
"I do believe there is a strong base of support for the current (death
penalty) system in the state of Connecticut," Kissel said. "I think that
if people have any frustration at all, it's that the system moves too
Ross, 45, who is on death row for killing four young women and girls in
eastern Connecticut in the early 1980s, has decided to forgo his remaining
appeals and face his death sentence.
The killer came within hours on Jan. 29 of becoming the 1st person to be
put to death in New England since 1960. The execution was postponed until
May 11 so his mental competency could be examined.
Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee,
said he believes the Ross case is persuading lawmakers and members of the
public that the death penalty does not work.
"There's less enthusiasm for the death penalty now than before January. I
think people have gotten a big dose of why the death penalty is a bad
idea," he said. "It doesn't work. It's way too complicated and when all is
said and done, I think it's cruel and unusual punishment for the families
of the victims to go through."
(source: Associated Press)
Roseburg man may face death penalty for fatal fire
Paul David Fahey Jr. may face the death penalty if he is convicted of
intentionally killing his estranged wife by setting fire to her Roseburg
home last year.
The 36-year-old Roseburg man was arraigned Monday on charges of aggravated
murder, murder and arson for allegedly killing 35-year-old Brenda M.
Iverson-Fahey in a Bodie Street fire on Sept. 20, 2004.
Though Iverson-Fahey survived long enough to make it to Mercy Medical
Center, she died shortly afterward. Fahey was also seriously burned in the
fire, requiring several weeks of intensive medical treatment in a Portland
"Mr. Fahey, one of the purposes of getting together here today is to
advise you of the charges against you," explained Douglas County Circuit
Judge Randy Garrison. "That aggravated murder charge carries with it the
maximum penalty of death, or, as determined by a jury, life without parole
Garrison added that Fahey may also be sentenced to life with a possibility
of parole in 30 years.
After each of the 6 charges against him were explained, Garrison asked
Fahey if he understood, to which he answered each time in a barely audible
whisper, "Yes, sir."
The aggravated murder charge is based upon the state's theory that Fahey
murdered his wife in the course of and in furtherance of the crime of
arson, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Rick Wesenberg.
Each of the other charges are based on different potential explanations
for Fahey's alleged actions on the day his wife died.
Aggravated murder is the only crime punishable by death in Oregon. Fahey
joins Samuel Adam Moen Lawson as the only 2 Douglas County Jail inmates
currently facing capital charges. Lawson, of La Pine, is accused of
killing a man at Lemolo Lake two summers ago and severely injuring the
3 men convicted of aggravated murder in Douglas County are currently on
death row at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. The last Oregon
execution took place in 1997.
Fahey's sister, 31-year-old Lorelei K. Flora of Roseburg, didn't learn her
brother could face the death penalty until she was contacted by The
News-Review after Monday's arraignment.
She said her family was horrified by the news of Iverson-Fahey's death
last fall, and she expressed mixed feelings about the prospect of her
brother facing capital charges.
"I dearly loved Brenda," Flora said. "Of all the people in the world, she
was the most innocent person I've ever met."
Flora said she and her family had pleaded for years with Iverson-Fahey to
leave her brother, whom she described as a "great person" who became
"horrid" when he was under the influence of drugs.
"I love my brother," Flora said. "It's just really, really sad that he
chose to do drugs, 'cause he could have made a real big difference to this
She said the whole incident has wrought terrible changes in her life and
the lives of her 2 children, not to mention her mother's. Flora said her
11-year-old son was particularly close to Fahey, and has had a hard time
reconciling his image of his uncle with the crimes he is accused of
"I don't think any of us will ever get through this," she said,
despondently. "It's been really, really harsh."
Iverson-Fahey's family was not immediately available for comment for this
Fahey will soon be getting a new court-appointed attorney from Eugene
because his current attorney, Butch Aller, no longer handles capital
His next hearing is scheduled for Monday in Courtroom 403.
(source: The News-Review)
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